Guard your steps when you go to the house of God.
Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools,
who do not know that they do wrong.
Much dreaming and many words are meaningless.
Therefore stand in awe of God.
Ecclesiastes 5:1, 7
You probably won't be surprised that whenever I read the word listen in God's word, I always linger a while and mark my Bible in some way. The passage written above is no different. We are to guard our steps when we go to church. Why would we need to watch the way we walk on the way to God's house? After looking closely at the first seven verses of Ecclesiastes 5, I see that they deal mostly with words of advice on proper worship. And since listening in the Old Testament is closely connected with obedience, God must be asking us to check ourselves before we worship. Are you and I walking in obedience or as a fool who worships God without even realizing that he or she has done anything wrong?
In these seven verses on worship we receive simple ways to improve our worship like not being quick with our mouths and keeping it simple--if we make a vow keep it. God is in heaven and we are on earth so let our words be few. So our hearing must be improved when we check our worship, check our mouths and check our steps. That way I hear it, we need to make our best effort to be purposeful when we head to church, not haphazard (like the fool who talks too much and thinks he or she always does it right).
Therefore may we all stand in awe in awe of our incredible God! He deserves pure worship with our ears open and our mouths shut. And maybe we should take off our shoes, too, while we are there (Exodus 3:5).