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. Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. A dream comes when there are many cares, and many words mark the speech of a fool.
A member at a former church of mine shared the story of her visit to a Quaker worship service. “I’ll never go to one of those again. All they did was sit in a circle and meditate. It was way too quiet for me.” It’s a common complaint whether about an entire service or even a few seconds of one. If there is a silence in a worship service, people get antsy and uncomfortable. If that silence lasts more than a few seconds, they consider it a failure and complain so that it will never happen again. Worship planners work hard to be sure there are not “gaps” in the service that will distract people from true worship.
But throughout scripture we find that God meets us in those gaps far more often than in the noise. From Elijah’s “still, small voice” to this verse in Ecclesiastes, scripture surely seems to value quiet and even silence far more than we do. Maybe we should be less interested in the noise of worship and spend more time in silence. How about we work hard to “not be hasty in our hearts to utter anything before God.”