Archive for January 21st, 2013

Ecclesiastes 3

Ecclesiastes 3 begins with some very well known words: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven”.  The writer reminds us that God has a time for all things ordained in His creation.  He has put the world in place the way He has, and created order and nature in very specific ways.  God is in control.  He has a plan.  And it all fits together in that plan as He has created it.  There is a list of contrasts that show the truth of His plan – that there is a time and season for each of these things:

Verse Item Contrast
2 a time to be born a time to die
2 a time to plant a time to pluck up what is planted
3 a time to kill a time to heal
3 a time to break down a time to build up
4 a time to weep a time to laugh
4 a time to mourn a time to dance
5 a time to cast away stones a time to gather stones together
5 a time to embrace a time to refrain from embracing
6 a time to seek a time to lose
6 a time to keep a time to cast away
7 a time to tear a time to sew
7 a time to keep silence a time to speak
8 a time to love a time to hate
8 a time for war a time for peace

Quite a list of contrasts isn’t it?  The writer gives us a full picture of the extremes in life.  He contrasts the good and the bad and tells us that in God’s economy and plan – there is a time for all of it.  God created His world that way.  “He has made everything beautiful in its time”.  Even things that are considered bad, can be beautiful in God’s timing.  God doesn’t make mistakes.  And there are no surprises to Him.  God has created us in His image.  “He has put eternity into man’s heart”.  We’re created in His image with an eternal future.  How we live in regard to dealing with our sin problem will determin where we spend that eternity – but there is no doubt that we all will have eternal life.  “God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work”.  How we live matters.  It will determine our eternal destiny.

So what is The writer’s analysis of how we should respond to these truths – that there is a time for all things under God? He shares a couple things for us to consider:

  1.  “I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;  also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil – this is God’s gift to man”.
  2. I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it”.

Let’s face it.  The writer’s view here is that God is the author and controller of all.  And man’s response should be to enjoy what God has created and live well.

He goes on to say it another way.  “God has done it….that which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been”.  The reality is that we spend far too much of our lives trying to change what God has already done and ordained.  He wrote the story.  He created it all, and has a plan that will be accomplished.  We can spend life trying to change it, or we can embrace what God has created and planned and join Him.  Life is about how we line up with God’s plan.  “God is testing them”.  That is the reality.  Life is a test and there will be a final exam.  The questions will be few, but so very important:

  1. What did you do with Jesus?  Did you receive Him as Savior and Lord to pay the price of sin and to cover you with grace?
  2. What did you do with all that I entrusted to you in your life?  Did you take what I gave you and use it to serve people?

We can get all consumed with trying to make things the way we want them.  Truth is, we don’t have that much clout.  God determines what happens and in what season. We’d be a lot better off if we recognized the truth that the write shares with us.  “I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot”.  Our best response is to realize God is in control, and rejoice that He allows us to be part of His story.  We are here by His grace and mercy.  He doesn’t owe us anything.  He isn’t at our command.  The sooner we get our place figured out, the sooner we can enjoy our very special part in His story!

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