1. Ecclesiastes 5:2 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Summary of Ecclesiastes 5:2

Ecclesiastes 5:2 (ESV)

2 Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.

The Preacher warns against talking a lot and too easily. We are often inclined to do so. It is important to realize what you are saying and to think about it first before the words come out of your mouth. A warning along the same lines is found in James 1:19, Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.

The reason for not being too hasty with your words is that God is in heaven and you are on earth. The point is that God is higher and greater than people. He is your Creator. He is perfect while we are sinful people. God is so far above us that we are to live in reverence for him. He hears and sees our entire life. He hears every word that comes out of your mouth (see also Psalm 139:1–4).

What is being said here is also of great importance for our prayers, when we speak words to God in a special way. Also then it is not good to speak without thinking. There are clearly two reasons for this:

1.       Prayer is not necessary to inform the Lord of our situation, even when it is not possible for you to put your prayer into words. That may happen on account of deep sadness or another intense emotion. Even then the right prayer will reach God. The Holy Spirit will be your Helper. He then speaks for the believer. We read about this in Romans 8:26–27: Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

2.       We cannot convince God by using many words. The Lord Jesus teaches us this clearly in Matthew 6:6–8, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

An example of people who try to convince their god with many words are the Baal priests on Mount Carmel (see 1 Kings 18:26–29).