WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
APRIL 21, 2021
TOPIC: THE SACRIFICE OF FOOLS
BY T. O. BANSO
“Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil” (Ecclesiastes 5:1 New King James Version).
The Bible talks about different kinds of sacrifice. These include the Passover sacrifice of the LORD or the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover, burnt sacrifice, the sacrifice of peace offering, the sacrifice of thanksgiving, the sacrifice of praise, and the sacrifice of the wicked. There is one more that I should mention: the sacrifice of fools.
Ecclesiastes 5:1 says, “Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil” (New King James Version). Take note of the phrase “the sacrifice of fools. This is the only place in the entire Bible where this phrase is used.
The Revised Standard Version renders Ecclesiastes 5:1 this way: “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God; to draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know that they are doing evil.” Take note of the last portion of this verse: “for they do not know that they are doing evil.” Ignorance is dangerous (Hosea 4:6). They were doing evil, yet they didn’t know. If they had listened or embraced knowledge, they would have known that what they were doing was evil. But they drew near to God to offer ignorantly the sacrifice of fools.
The writer of Ecclesiastes, Solomon, warns us to be careful as we go into the house of God and not to give or offer to Him the sacrifice of fools. The Bible talks so much about fools, especially in the book of proverbs. How can someone go to the house of God and offer a sacrifice that amounts to the sacrifice of fools? The sacrifice was not only foolish but was also evil. Would it not have been better if the person did not go to the house of God at all or did not offer any sacrifice?
God does not accept every sacrifice. The Bible makes this very clear to us. Both Abel and Cain offered sacrifice to the LORD but He respected Abel and his offering; He didn’t respect Cain and his offering (Genesis 4:4-5).
God is discriminatory about the sacrifice or offering that He accepts. He told the Israelites the things He declared as clean to be offered to Him as sacrifice and the unclean things. He is not hungry for sacrifice. It is, therefore, important to offer acceptable sacrifice to Him.
The LORD says in Psalm 50:12-15, “If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is Mine, and all its fullness. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High. Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me” (New King James Version).
In Malachi 1, God complains about the sacrifice the Israelites brought to Him, which He said even their governor would not accept. He said they were despising His name by bringing contemptible and polluted offerings (verses 6-8).
“‘Who is there even among you who would shut the doors, so that you would not kindle fire on My altar in vain? I have no pleasure in you,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘Nor will I accept an offering from your hands. For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; in every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering; for My name shall be great among the nations,’ says the LORD of hosts” (verses 10-11 New King James Version). From this scripture, we could see that their sacrifice was in vain because they were unacceptable to God.
In Philippians 4:18, the apostle Paul talked about an acceptable sacrifice in reference to the gifts the Philippians sent to him. Under the New Covenant, we don’t offer animal sacrifice, as it was under the Old Covenant, but we still offer sacrifice in form of prayer, praises, and thanksgiving, including offering material things to God. But these things are not as important as first listening to God. To obey is better than sacrifice and to hearken than the fat of rams (1 Samuel 15:22).
The sacrifice of fools is unacceptable to God, and therefore, a vain sacrifice. Those who offer it may think that they have worshipped God but they have only wasted their time. What is a sacrifice of fools in order to avoid it?
Ecclesiastes 5:1 says you should be careful when you go to the house of God and listen or learn first rather than rush to offer sacrifice foolishly not knowing what you’re doing. Listening or learning will help you to know what is right or wrong, thus helping you to offer an acceptable sacrifice. But some people hastily offer sacrifices to God irreverently or offer to God what is evil. It was better they shut up their mouth first and learn. This is not limited to the church. Anywhere you go into the presence of God, don’t draw near to give the sacrifice of fools; draw near to hear and obey. A foolish sacrifice is evil.
Ecclesiastes 5:2-3 says, “Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes through much activity, and a fool’s voice is known by his many words” (New King James Version).
Speaking before you think or speaking hastily either in praying or making a vow you will not fulfil is offering a foolish sacrifice to God. “Wise people think before they act; fools don’t and even brag about it!” (Proverbs 13:16 New Living Translation).
It is not compulsory you make a vow before God will answer your prayer. But it is a sacrifice of fools to hastily make a vow and be regretting after or unwilling to fulfil it. Nobody forced you to make the vow. “When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; for He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed — better not to vow than to vow and not pay” (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 New King James Version).
To make a vow and fail or delay to fulfil it is a sin. Don’t commit sin with your mouth by making a sacrifice of fools. “Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands” (verses 6 New King James Version).
Instead of listening to God first, some people ask God for the wrong things. When the LORD called Samuel, he answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears” (1 Samuel 3:10). And the LORD gave him a message. But instead of listening to God, some people eagerly tell Him: “Listen, Lord, for Your servant speaks.” We need to do more listening to God and obeying than talking. We must avoid or stop offering a sacrifice of fools.
Because some people will not read their Bibles, attend Bible study sessions, or listen to messages/sermons but only love to pray, their prayers are not biblical. They are sincerely praying but they’re sincerely wrong. God will never violate His Word and answer unscriptural prayers. People guilty of these often wonder why they don’t get answers. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3 New King James Version).
Prayers that are not according to God’s will have no guarantee of answers from heaven. This is one of the reasons for unanswered prayers. Don’t offer the sacrifice of fools. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15 New King James Version).
Bring a sacrifice of praise to the Lord, not a sacrifice of fools! If you are guilty of giving the sacrifice of fools, stop it. Be reverent before God. Listen to God more than you talk to Him. Have a teachable spirit and an obedient heart. It will deliver you from the sacrifice of fools. It will help you to offer acceptable sacrifice to Him. “As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut! Don’t be a fool who doesn’t realize that mindless offerings to God are evil” (Ecclesiastes 5:1 New Living Translation).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to be reverent in the presence of God, to walk prudently and not behave irreverently. Help me to cultivate the right attitudes and conduct before God. Guide me against offering a sacrifice of fools. Help me to listen in the presence of God more than I talk. I shall not make rash vows in Jesus’ name. I shall pay my vows to the Lord.
(For about 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947