Don’t let your mouth make you sin. And don’t defend yourself by telling the Temple messenger that the promise you made was a mistake. That would make God angry, and he might wipe out everything you have achieved. Ecclesiastes 5:6 (New Living Translation)
One of the books of the Bible that is seldom read by large sections of the Church is the book of Ecclesiastes. But therein are contained lots of “golden nuggets and rare gems” that can help us navigate in our Christian pilgrimage. For instance, in the fifth chapter of the book, the wise king Solomon gives some valuable, timeless advice about how to behave in Church. He advises that we should all “walk circumspectly and not unadvisedly but with all “seriousness” when we go to the house of the Lord in order not to offer “the sacrifice of fools” (Ecclesiastes 5:1-2, 4-5).
Ecclesiastes 5:1-2; 4-5 (AMPLIFIED)
Guard your steps and focus on what you are doing as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the [careless or irreverent] sacrifice of fools, for they are too ignorant to know they are doing evil. Do not be hasty with your mouth [speaking careless words or vows] or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter before God. For God is in heaven, and you are on earth; therefore, let your words be few. When you make a vow or a pledge to God, do not put off paying it; for God takes no pleasure in fools [who thoughtlessly mock Him]. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.
What are the Sacrifices of Fools?
Sacrifices of fools refer to the things that we say to God in Church or at other locations that we don’t really mean, and that we are not willing to stand behind with any genuine commitment.
For instance, people sing so many hymns in Church that are just mere words that have no meaning to their inner consciousness, and are not followed through with any genuine commitment. People sing hymns like “All to Jesus I surrender, and unto Him, I freely give”. But when it is time to give an offering, they put a token in the offering box. And at other times, they sing, “When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on my pride, and were the whole realm of nature mine”. But they can’t suffer the least bit for the sake of the cross, the gospel, and for Jesus Christ their supposed Master.
It would have been better that you didn’t sing it or say it, because you will be held accountable for uttering those words and singing those songs. I personally do not sing any songs that have no meaning to my inner consciousness!
It is crucial to note that it is as much a lie to sing a lie as to tell a lie.
Truthfully, how many times do we sing hymns and songs, and we never really ask ourselves, if we are going to stand by the words of those songs and hymns? If not, it is a “sacrifice of fools” we are offering.
The king Solomon, in the opening verse of this discourse, speaks about “the temple messenger or recording angel.” The word “messenger” in the Hebrew language in which the Old Testament was written is the word “malach”, it means “an angel”. In the Greek language, it is the word “angelos” which means “an angel”, either a human or divine messenger.
To be sure, according to Christian and Judaic angelology, these recording angels are assigned by God with the sole task of “recording events, actions, and prayers of each individual”. They record everything that we have ever said or done with actual dates and times. For instance, if one makes a verbal commitment to God to give oneself to intercession and soul-winning, they make a recording of such events.
It is instructive to note that it is not your “pastor” you’re dealing with when you make a commitment in Church but God! If it were a man you were dealing with, you could get away with being dodgy about these commitments, but you’re not dealing with a man but God!
Hence, king Solomon warns us not to say it was a mistake, as it will be too late. Furthermore, he warns us not to be in a hurry to make a vow to God because if we do, we must pay the vow. And to do otherwise, will be to offer the “sacrifice of fools”. It is a sin to make a vow to God, and not go through with it! And this kind of attitude can impede your spiritual progress, and peg you at a certain point like a chain around your ankles until you repent and pay your vow.
Additionally, this same thought was re-echoed by the prophet Malachi when he made allusion to heaven having recording angels. He remarked that “the Lord took note, listened, and a book of remembrance was written of them that feared the Lord and thought on His name” (Malachi 3:16).
Malachi 3:16 (KJV)
Then they that feared the Lord spoke often one to another, and the LORD heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD and that thought upon his name.
The skeptics might say that all the examples given in this discourse about recording angels are all from the Old Testament. But how about Jesus’ remark in the book of Matthew where he warns us about speaking idle words? (Matthew 12:36-37).
Matthew 12:36-37 (KJV)
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
What are Idle Words?
Idle words are words that a person utters that are just mere noise, empty words, marks on a piece of paper, and words that have no validity because they’re not followed through with any genuine commitment.
At this juncture, it is crucial that you stop, and ponder on these solemn warnings from the wise king Solomon and the Lord Jesus Christ about offering “the sacrifice of fools and speaking idle words”. This is because recording angels are always keeping record of your words, vows and promises to God, and the events around your life.
May the Lord have mercy, and help us all in Jesus’ mighty name.