The need to conduct a spiritual inventory of this place we are living in our lives.
The need to conduct an inventory of our immeasurable connection to the world.
The need to conduct an inventory of our immeasurable connection and our relationship with God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Wherever we are in this exact moment, Has it reached the Time and Season to conduct our own inventory of An Age of Nonsense: “The Seasons of Our Life”
Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 Names of God Bible
Everything in God’s Own Time
3 Everything has its own time, and there is a specific time for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and
a time to die,
a time to plant and
a time to pull out what was planted,
3 a time to kill and
a time to heal,
a time to tear down and
a time to build up,
4 a time to cry and
a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and
a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and
a time to gather them,[a]
a time to hug and
a time to stop hugging,
6 a time to start looking and
a time to stop looking,
a time to keep and
a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear apart and
a time to sew together,
a time to keep quiet and
a time to speak out,
8 a time to love and
a time to hate,
a time for war and
a time for peace.
God Gives Mortals a Sense of Eternity
9 What do working people gain from their hard labor? 10 I have seen mortals weighed down with a burden that Elohim has placed on them. 11 It is beautiful how Elohim has done everything at the right time. He has put a sense of eternity in people’s minds. Yet, mortals still can’t grasp what Elohim is doing from the beginning to the end of time.
The Word of God for the Children of God. In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
We have explored the futility of wisdom, of wealth, of laboring “under the sun” and now, as we steadily approach the appointed end of life’s journey, what can be said on our behalf? Have we made a difference in someone else’s life? Will we be able to say that over the short or long course of our we left this world better than we first found it? Or, are we being arrogant in assuming we can make one difference? Are we not just another jagged pebble in the shifting sands of time?
I pray! Allow me to share with you some of my own insights from the reading of Ecclesiastes. First of all, I believe that we have a magnanimous God. What do I mean by this? I believe our God, the exact same God who influenced Solomon’s thinking, is charitable. He is generous, He is patient; most of all, He is forgiving. On the other hand, this exact same God is not a doting grandfather-like figure who anxiously awaits our beckon call doling out everything we ask for. He is not the big “sugar-daddy” in the sky that ceaselessly begs for one ounce of praise.
Furthermore, I believe God is sovereign. Qoheleth “the Preacher” makes this point abundantly clear. The Name of God appears forty-one times in this book. Terms such as “the Creator” and “the Shepherd” as well as pronouns referring to God appear an additional five times. Phrases like “God made,” God judges,” “God does,” or God has done,” or God will do,” just jumps out of these pages.
In fact, it’s because God IS sovereign that Solomon come to grips with one of the most perplexing dilemmas about life. God alone holds the answers while feeble man has only questions and nagging doubts. Over the course of his life, Solomon succumbs to the understanding that man is virtually powerless and impotent before a sovereign God who creates, who orders, who directs, who orchestrates, who frustrates man’s vain efforts to be master of his own destiny.
Thank God we are made in HIS image! Thank God we are not robots who have no choice, no option, but to be obedient and compliant! Thank God we can make our own choices and but are not void of will. Thank God we are who we are! We are a creation of God, by God, and for God. We are uniquely and wonderfully made the Psalmist writes. We are not here by accident. We did not evolve from some organic plant life, fish or animal. These are feeble theories without fact or truth conjured up by cowards who are too afraid to recognize their own Creator.
From Ecclesiastes, I gain a sense of hope not hopelessness. I derive a sense of purpose not purposelessness. I don’t view the world as being in a free-falling, state of chaos. Instead, I see a world with profound meaning, profound purpose, direction, timing and orderliness in which I played so insignificant a part in.
What is the overriding theme of this book? It is this. We are here on earth for a reason and for a season. There is depth and significance to our existence. We are not a one-dimensional entity or a mere shallow remnant cruelly formed by a one-time creator who walked away after a failed experiment. Instead, we are each multi-dimensional; multifaceted. We possess a body, mind and spirit.
Solomon explains all this to us so that we will not repeat his own mistakes. He wants us to know that we worship a God whose ultimate desire is for us to be healthy in ALL the dimensions of our life … physically, mentally and spiritually.
It’s regrettable that most of the book of Ecclesiastes remains obscure. But there is this one portion from chapter three that is often quoted at funerals and weddings alike. It was even put to music in the 1960’s by Simon and Garfunkel although most people at the time did not even realize that they were actually hearing scripture. Sadly, these words “fall into deep silence,” are rarely preached from, and taught about and, tragically, few people live in accordance with them.
Success is not centered on looks. Success is not how much you or I have in our bank accounts. All this is sheer madness. This “chasing after the wind” is as old as the ages themselves. We keep searching for that “fountain of youth” a magic potion that will make us happy, successful, content and fulfilled. This quest could have, indeed should have ended three thousand years ago had man only read this book first before venturing out blindly, vainly. I believe Ecclesiastes is the finest work about any person’s insatiable search for their meaning to life. Solomon’s conclusions are some of the most critically profound ever written.
Yes, there are seasons of our lives and there are reasons for these seasons. First, THERE IS A SEASON FOR OUR PHYSICAL WELL-BEING. Secondly, THERE IS A SEASON FOR OUR MENTAL WELL-BEING and finally THERE IS A SEASON FOR OUR SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING.
If you look carefully, you will detect that the first eight verses of chapter three address these three vital aspects of our humanity: body, soul and spirit. Let’s try to inventory, to examine each of these human dimensions in closer detail.
First of all, THERE IS A SEASON FOR OUR PHYSICAL WELL-BEING.
Read the first three verses and then notice how applicable these words are in conjunction with our physical lives. None of us ever asked to be born. It was something done to us and yet apart from us. Likewise, none of us ask to die; it is an inevitable event that God has ordained. So, this is the way we should view this list of opposites, as a list of what God thinks we ought to have. It begins by pairing birth and death as being the boundaries of life “under the sun.”
The next verse deals with the supply of food for sustenance. “There is a time to plant and a time to harvest.” Everything must come at its own appointed time. If we get things out of sync, we’re in trouble; we cause disruption. For instance, try planting a crop in the middle of winter when the ground is hard and covered in snow. Many of the problems in our own life stem from our constantly trying to schedule and reschedule the timing of those things, which God has put in its own appointed place. Please know, there is an appropriate time for everything.
There is “a time to kill, and a time to heal.” Now, this may sound strange to us, but the process of dying goes right along with the process of living. Doctors tell us that every seven years and incidentally, the number seven is the Hebrew number for completion, all the cells in our bodies die. But our bodies do not die.
What you are now is not what you were seven years ago and yet you remain the same. That’s why I believe in “micro-evolution.” Evolution means “change” and change truly occurs. It is change that alters conditions. It is not the kind of Darwinian theory that we refer to as “macro-evolution.” Pray over, about the enormous complexity of our humanity. The fact that each human cell seems to pass on to the next cell that replaces it, the memory of the past so that, even though our brain cells have changed, the memory goes back beyond the life of the cell itself. Yes, there is a time to kill, a time to heal and God brings it to pass.
There is “a time to break down and a time to build up.” Youth is the time of building up. Muscles grow, abilities increase, coordination improves and senses are heightened. But then, as you begin to live long enough, things start falling apart … it’s “a time to break down.” And this, too, God ordained. Seasons come and seasons go. Growing older, getting older and old is not wrong nor is it evil. It is a natural course of events. As they say, “go with the flow,” because there’s no use fighting these currents. Things aren’t going to change “under the sun.”
The Teacher then delves into the realm of the soul. He determines that THERE IS A SEASON FOR OUR MENTAL WELL-BEING.
This aspect of our being has to do with thinking, feeling, choosing. It is the social concerns. It has to do with our interpersonal relationships. Verse 4 tells us that there is “a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.” There is no escaping the hurts and sorrows of this life. God determined that these, too, will serve to benefit us. And the proof of that is when God’s own Son came to us. He was not granted any royalty and honor.
He was not afforded a comfortable lifestyle. Instead, Jesus the Christ was scorned and ridiculed; He was reviled and hated. He was persecuted and tortured; He suffered excruciating pain for hours only to be led away to succumb to a most heinous death. He was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, by whose stripes we are now all healed” [Isaiah 53:3-6]. Yes, in a fallen world, it is apportioned for us, and even God’s Son, to weep and lament.
But, there are also times when it is healthy to laugh, to be happy and carefree. Grief and loss will surely have its day, but dancing and festive occasions are also appropriate in its time. Psalm 30 says our Lord “has been gracious unto me, for He has turned my mourning into dancing” [verse 11]. In this same Psalm we too learn that “His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning” [verse 5].
We would lose an invaluable connection to a wonderful aspect of our Lord’s humanity if we ourselves failed to see the merriment and the laughter that He provided for His disciples like the time at the wedding at Cana in Galilee where He performed His first recorded miracle by turning gallons of water into wine.
Then there is “a time to cast away stones and a time to gather them” [verse 5]. There is “a time to break things down and a time to build them up again.”
The Teacher here addresses our social customs, our deeply held traditions and our relationships with one another. There is a time to embrace others, to show support for them. But there comes a time when we ought to restrain ourselves. For example, if a friend commits an offense and refuses to acknowledge it, then we are correct in withholding an embrace for to do so would be tantamount to complicity with that which doesn’t edify, that is, build up, the faith community.
Verses 6, 7 and 8 address the last six opposites, which relate to our spiritual concerns: THERE IS A SEASON FOR OUR SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING.
These encompass our innermost thoughts. Our spirit being holds our core beliefs, our values and principles. There is “a time to seek [work, marriage, new friends, etc.], and a time to lose.” There comes a time in life when we should curtail certain friendships, seek new work, a new vocation or to move away. Circumstances in life change. Priorities in life sometimes warrant our having to give up which is familiar. It is both proper, appropriate for such times in our lives.
There is “a time to keep and a time to cast away” [verse 6]. There are values and standards, which must never be surrendered or compromised. There are other times when we need to “clean house.” There comes a time for us to remove the clutter; to sweep away the things of the past. This extends beyond discarding old clothes. This is also true of unhealthy habits and attitudes. Resentment and bitterness must forthwith be laid aside in order to allow forgiveness to enter.
There is “a time to tear apart and a time to sew together” [verse 7a]. Personal Relationships can become destructive and harmful. We must sometimes tear ourselves away from the past and move forward. Our Lord Himself said that new wine must be placed in new wineskins. At times, the past will not abide by what God has in store for you in the future. At other times, our Lord will want us to mend fences; to restore broken relationships for this, too, can be beneficial.
There is also “a time to keep silent, and a time to speak” [verse 7b]. There are times when we know something, perhaps a bit of gossip, and we should truly withhold comment. But, there are times when we must speak up, especially when we see wrongs committed. We must never hide the truth though the truth may prove painful. (The Teacher: Proverbs 3:3, 12:17-19, 20:28, 22:21, 23:23)
There is “a time to love, and a time to hate” [verse 8a]. When is it appropriate to hate? When we see abhorrent violence, the purging of whole peoples that we call “ethnic cleansing.” It is the destruction of the innocent, the killing of the unborn. Scripture tells us we are to hate the things that God hates. There are things in this world that are an abomination to our God (Proverbs 6:16-19) and they should cause us to shutter and recoil. They should lead to our inventories.
16 There are six things that Yahweh hates,
even seven that are disgusting to him:
17 arrogant eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that kill innocent people,
18 a mind devising wicked plans,
feet that are quick to do wrong,
19 a dishonest witness spitting out lies,
and a person who spreads conflict among relatives.
But, there is also a time to love. We should extend sacrificial love through auspicious actions of kindness, charity and goodwill towards our fellow man.
There is also “a time for war, and a time for peace” [verse 8b]. When tyranny strips away the dignity of man, evil is unleashed upon the world, when man’s inhumanity to man reaches a threshold, then war becomes necessary and this, too, God has ordained. Sometimes, the only way to prevent further bloodshed is to spill one’s own blood. There are times when war has been misappropriated. There are times when only peace should abide in the hearts and souls of men.
I point out that all of these seeming paradoxes are a part of God’s plan. The problem, of course, is that man inherently wants to take the course of least pain and resistance. If we truly had control of our destiny, we would avoid all kinds of unpleasantness. But, to live soft, comfortable lives would virtually ruin us spiritually in the end. God knows that those people who are shielded from the world invariably end up being miserable and utterly worthless. They become selfish, cruel, vicious, callous and unprincipled. Yes, there is a time for every season and there is a reason for every season “under the sun.”
So what gain is there to the worker from that which he toils? This probing question is asked three times in this book and finally, the Teacher discovers God’s purpose in all of this. God has made everything beautiful in its time. Everything is beautiful in accordance with God’s timing and not by man’s manipulation. For us: Genesis 1:1 through the Book of Revelation 22:21)
The circumstances in our life are ordered and directed by God. The difficult times are not to be viewed as curses, but rather as blessings in disguise for they strengthen us and they make us rely upon God for His provisions.
The Searcher also discovered that God has placed eternity in the hearts of man.
What does he mean by this? Mankind is the only animal that worships God. We are continually searching for the truth concerning the meaning of life here on earth and the life that is to come. We know instinctively that life does not end with our passing. There is something much more to life than our physical death.
C. S. Lewis once said, “Our heavenly Father has provided many delightful inns for us along life’s journey, but He takes great care to see that we do not mistake any of them for home.”
There is a longing for a secure place we can call home, a place like no other; a place that we know intuitively. We are not unlike the salmon that swims the world’s oceans only to return to struggle upstream in the same river and to the precise location where life began. They struggle against all barriers, they court, then they mate and then they lay their eggs and then become food for animals. The eggs then eventually hatch. The hatchlings swim out to the oceans. They learn how to survive and thrive until they too feel the irresistible urge to return. The cycle of all life continues in this way – precisely as God hath ordained it all.
The crux of the matter is that our God lives. He is active, He is vibrant, and so are the works of His creation. We are uniquely and wonderfully made. And God has a “no-nonsense” plan for your life, which includes the ebbs and flows that this world has to offer. Accept it, embrace it, rejoice in it and know that there is surely a God ordained “no-nonsense” reason for every season under heaven.
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, let us now pray,
I thank you for your limitless wisdom. I thank you for writing my story. Although I may not always understand why things are happening, you do. You go before me and keep me even my darkest hours. I thank you for using my moments of sadness as a starting point for a miracle to take place. Help me to embrace your process for me. Thank you, Lord, that you make all broken things new and beautiful. In Jesus Name. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia Amen.