Ecclesiastes 3

Ecclesiastes 3

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A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

  a time to be born, and a time to die;
  a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
  a time to kill, and a time to heal;
  a time to break down, and a time to build up;
  a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
  a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
  a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
  a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
  a time to seek, and a time to lose;
  a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
  a time to tear, and a time to sew;
  a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
  a time to love, and a time to hate;
  a time for war, and a time for peace.

The God-Given Task

What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 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.

I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.

From Dust to Dust

Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness. I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work. I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts. For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth? So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?

(ESV)


Ecclesiastes 3 Commentary

by Hank Workman

God has a plan for His people. It’s always been there and stands even to the end of this life we live. Through Solomon’s words, we realize very simply that life is filled with cycles. Cycles of joy and sorrow, cycles of life and death, or even at times the monotony of things all are part of our earthly experiences. Many a time the things we encounter through the life we live walk us through the shadow of death. Death of not only a person but death of things that were once important. He uses these things to draw us past the barriers we may face to trust Him.

For as Solomon pens, “He makes everything beautiful in its time”, his point is all the experiences we encounter from the good the bad is still in the hand or oversight of God. There is a discovery through all of the things life throws at us a peace only which can be found in our trust. For this speaks to the mysterious and perfect timing of God. It is never in our own timeframe. Yet, he uses these things that have gone from the highs to the lows to bring His own timing and reflection of His glory.

He accomplishes this because He has set eternity in each of His creations hearts. In simple thoughts, this means for each of us that there is an awareness and longing for the things of eternal. As we were created in His image, He has placed spiritual thirst which drives us. Created in His image we have value. Thinking about the timing of which Solomon writes, it is the truth that nothing satisfies except our relationship with Him.

Consider the cycle of life you currently may be in. Where are your thoughts and trust? Where are the hurts that need healed? What are you trusting in during this specific time? Peace only comes as we surrender. Purpose only is found when we look beyond. The quenching of our thirst is satisfied when we put our trust in Him.


Ecclesiastes 3 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

The universe is made well and finds its rhythm through structure and order. There most definitely is a time for everything and only our Lord and Savior knows of those times. There is a knowledge that God keeps to Himself. This is the primary reason for so much frustration in our world today, and I would argue, for so many to try and deny the God they know exists. We are not in control. God knows the time for all things and mostly keeps it to Himself. As a result, human wisdom is limited to only what He chooses to reveal to us. There is nothing we can come to know apart from God.

Therefore, Solomon encourages the reader to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. To chase after the things we will never know produces nothing but frustration. To trust God and submit to Him provides purpose.

In the second half of this chapter, Solomon explores justice.  Many of us have wondered these same questions. Why is there so much injustice in our world today if God is truly in control? As these questions are explored, Solomon once again comes back to the enjoyment of the simple things of life.

Ecclesiastes 3:22 HCSB  I have seen that there is nothing better than for a person to enjoy his activities because that is his reward. For who can enable him to see what will happen after he dies?

If God revealed everything to us, we would be God. There’s a reason so much is hidden from us. First, we can’t handle it. Just like the burden Adam and Eve faced after they gained knowledge of good and evil, we would flounder knowing what God knows. Second, there are many more important things to be found in life than material possessions or even maximum knowledge. Faith, hope, love, and joy are all unbelievable blessings that can only come from above. Through Jesus Christ, we have the ultimate hope. We can face life and death knowing that we are secure in His sacrifice.

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