After 9/11, church attendance in New York City surged, but within two months it was back to normal. Even though polls are inconsistent on this issue, we know tragedy often causes people to go to church to ease their pain. Some people even make rash promises in their pain that they never keep. Aging King Solomon warned us about this. Despite his wayward life, by the time he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, he had learned a few things about how we relate to God. In chapter 5 he says, “As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God. Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few.” He also says, “When you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him. It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it. Don’t let your mouth make you sin.” The Bible is clear that in true worship of God cannot be mechanical. Yes, we offer God our praise, prayer, bodies, money, and even our deeds. But most of all, we offer Him our obedience because, as Samuel told Saul, to obey God is better than any sacrifice we can make to Him.
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