Vol. 8-16 – 04-16-2023 – Relationship
How do We Approach God?
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. –Ecclesiastes 5:1
The writer of Ecclesiastes can be abrupt. An abrupt speaker (writer) commands attention. The author of the Scriptures is God Himself. These are His messages. That is why we would do well to listen. And when we approach God, it is best to not only know Him, but have a relationship with Him.
But really, how do we approach God? Many people get caught up in rituals that do little in drawing near to God. The room is full of décor. Stained glass. Artwork. Statues. Banners. Pipe organ. And today, flashing lights. Artificial smoke. Monster speakers. We could go on, could we not?
I do not think God is so much concerned regarding the setting; He can speak regardless. Have you ever heard God in silence? What makes a difference in our approach to God?
The Preacher (King Solomon) says, guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Draw near (go near to hear). Some people are not ready for worship, to draw near to hear. They fling themselves into the house of the Lord in a quick breath. Balancing a cup of Starbucks coffee on their iPad (it has electronic access to the Bible of their choice) and mosey down to the front to make sure others see they are attending. They are there more for a friend meet-up rather than drawing near in relationship with the holy God.
Solomon writes that being in awe of our relationship with the holy God requires our steps to be careful; guarded.
Nothing in this passage says that one cannot stand and joyfully sing their worship to God. Nothing indicates that lifting one’s hands in worship is out of place. Nothing is stated regarding hushing your voice during prayer time. Nothing is declared about being silent in explanation of what is going on in the Lord’s Supper, and why one who is an unbeliever ought not to participate. Talk to your child about salvation during the Lord’s Supper. Help them understand what a relationship with Jesus is all about.
People often define relationships with God on the basis of what we do:
- Preparing the family for Sunday the night before—can you imagine the list?
- Getting to bed earlier—guess you want to make sure you do not snooze
- Begin Sunday morning with prayer—that is good, but what about the other six days?
- Or pray during the trip to church—prayer always goes better in busy traffic, right?
- Rush, then quiet your heart/mind—the better idea might be better to come a little early
Sure, they are somewhat funny. I meant them to be. We spend a lot of time preparing for our trips, vacations, outings, concerts, etc. What is Solomon really saying? God is the most important relationship we can have. We ought to think about and prepare, for our conversational relationships with the One who sent His only Son to die for us.
Few, if any, would sacrifice their lives for us. Or chase us with love, grace, and mercy as our God has done. He clearly wants our relationship. It ought not to be a one-way relationship.
His mouth is most sweet, and he is altogether desirable. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem. –Song of Songs 5:16
I always thought you had to be careful reading the Word of God. You do. No book is less important or more important. Holy God authors all. He then selects writers to put His words to the pages. The whole of the Scriptures is God speaking.
So, we come to the Song of Songs. I am guilty of not choosing Song of Songs to read to my children (also some chapters of Ezekiel). Yet they are all God’s Word. When we had television, programs often had implications that were not healthy. Advertisements that were suggestive, not of their products. It seemed everything was sexualized. Toasters. Toothpaste. Mouthwash. Cocoa-Cola. Clothing. Automobiles. Music. Fireplaces. Vitamins. And more.
Do you find it surprising that God devotes an entire book to marital intimacy? Most books published with significant intimate moments do not even come close to a marital relationship.
When you read through Song of Songs you should not be surprised by words like beloved and lips. Honey. Charm. With steamy exchanges. Solomon writes of the joys of intimacy, a godly approach. Scenes that God expects of those who are His.
Kisses for husband and wife are not fist bumps.
We can easily glean what is expected in God’s economy for those who are His.
- Flirting – pages from Song of Songs suggest how you might use your words to express your love. Have you hugged her or him lately?
- Words of love – yes, they are also included. I love you is not passé
- Thoughts – intimacy for our spouses begins in the heart and mind. How do you think about one another? Do your marriage vows seem as fresh as this morning?
- Alive – do you frequently say you are too tired? Have you lost the energy that drives a relationship?
- Comfort zone – is it difficult for you to step over the line of comfort to build your relationship?
Solomon and his bride demonstrate the importance of relationships in their life of love. It is to be shared and enjoyed within the marriage relationship. Culture wants to change those relationships. Those dedicated to following God’s design for marriage have another road to take. Also to stand firm on what God says is true.
There were several questions in this blog. The application will provide more consideration.
When we read Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs, the question that immediately comes is: When we come before God, how do we act; how do we maintain our relationship? What are His expectations?
Solomon indicated we should guard our steps. Take care where and how you walk. When you come to a fork in the road, stop and consider, not every fork will do. Did you miss that when you approach God, the very first important thing to do is listen? True. Go back and read the passage.
The more we listen to God, the more conversation we can have in His presence.
Did you have to sit in the corner for a while due to you dropping the extreme importance of keeping your intimacy alive?
The major teaching of the books is the teaching of right relationships, and of understanding our approach to intimacy – to God and to our spouses. Yet it is more. The Word of God challenges us to contemplate our love relationship with the holy God. If our approach and relationship are right before God, reason then (or sensus plenoir) brings us to understand what is needed in our marriage relationships.
Some of you reading this blog are unmarried. What can you learn? The values God places in marriage. The value He has for those who are His. You, too, need to guard your steps
- Do not stir up or awaken intimacy until God’s appointed time (Song of Songs 2:7; 3:5; 8:4)
- The One who is pleased with your relationship first is the Lord God
- The relationship to establish prior to marriage is to be a friend (Song of Songs 5:16)
- Be careful with your mouth before whom you would love (Ecclesiastes 5:2)
- Take care, not letting your heart be hasty to utter your words (Ecclesiastes 5:2)
Your life represents who you are – your nature, your character, and the one you love.
Guard your relationships. Guard your steps.