Travel back in time three thousand years ago. Imagine yourself visiting Jerusalem for one of the annual Jewish festivals. You join the throng of people ascending the steps leading up to the Temple and watch as worshippers come and go. Throughout the day, you witness people praising God, praying, offering sacrifices, making vows, and enjoying heartwarming fellowship with friends and family. The atmosphere is electrifying, bustling, and intense. However, not everyone is sincere in his or her worship of God. Some fail to give God the reverence and honor that is due His name.
After building the Temple his father David had envisioned, Solomon witnessed his fair share of insincere and hypocritical worship, which may have prompted him to write these words: “Guard your steps when you go to the house of the Lord” (Ecclesiastes 5:1). These are wise words from the wisest man to ever walk this earth, with, of course, the exception of Jesus Christ, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2).
In fact, the very way the Southern Steps of the Temple in Jerusalem were constructed almost forces worshippers to guard their steps because the steps are irregular in size and shape. Some steps are wide while others are narrow. The different sizes make it difficult to run hastily into the presence of the Lord. Rather, they force the worshipper to walk slowly and thoughtfully as he or she enters the house of the Lord.
Perhaps Solomon had these slow-pacing steps in mind when he said, “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” (Ecclesiastes 5:2).