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.
It is sad to think that he had grown accustomed to his parents’ divorce at such a young age, but he knew no different. He had not even started walking when they separated. Life for him was lived mainly with mom, and he spent time with dad during some weekends and holidays. He should have seen dad every weekend and every holiday, but there was a problem. His father was a man of empty promises. Sometimes he had the best of intentions, but other times he knew that his words were hollow. It seemed like something or someone always came up to interrupt that visitation schedule. This pattern resulted in a little boy with a broken heart who learned that dad was too foolish and self-centered to notice the damage he was doing.
Today’s passage focuses on a specific kind of evil that is rooted in egotism and stupidity. We cannot confess to God that we will give him what we actually end up withholding, either intentionally or unintentionally. We do not promise sacrifice or utter words of repentance out of habit, custom, or tradition. Such words must be spoken with sincerity and taken seriously. Otherwise, we speak lies to the Father, which results in much more than just breaking his heart or disappointing him. This is wanton sin and is no different than those who offered blemished and unacceptable sacrifices. The thing is, the foolishness that leads us to this kind of behavior can be avoided if we only get serious about learning this faith of ours.
God would prefer that we listen to him always and never speak than that we speak to him always and never listen. He would prefer that we never promise and never sacrifice than that we make promises we cannot keep or offer sacrifices unworthy of him. When we commit such wrongs, there is no excuse. Scriptures like this provide the warnings we must heed to make sure that we have taken the time to listen to the Lord and learn what pleases him. Then, we take what we have learned from him and apply it to live out this faith the proper way. Father, keep our promises to You reliable and our sacrifices to You pure and acceptable.