An appointed time for everything
Ecclesiastes 3 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
A Time for Everything
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—
time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is 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 weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
5 A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
6 A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
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 be silent and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.
9 What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? 10 I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves.
11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.
12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; 13 moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor—it is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him. 15 That which is has been already and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by.
16 Furthermore, I have seen under the sun that in the place of justice there is wickedness and in the place of righteousness there is wickedness. 17 I said to myself, “God will judge both the righteous man and the wicked man,” for a time for every matter and for every deed is there… I have seen that nothing is better than that man should be happy in his activities, for that is his lot. For who will bring him to see what will occur after him?
Just as there are seasons in every year, winter, spring, summer and fall; so too are there seasons in our lives. The writer of Ecclesiastes says: There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven— A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear 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 throw stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace. If you are reading this, then the time of your birth has come and the time to die has not come yet. But none of us controls or can escape those times. There are also things that we give birth to throughout the seasons of our lives and there too can come a time that we must let those things die. The text says: A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. As we do go through the seasons of our lives it is vital for us that we recognize that God’s time is not always the same as our time. Just as twice a year many of us in this country need to change the time on our clocks so that we remain in sync with everyone else and can function properly, so too do we need to adjust our time to God’s time, if we want to remain in His will and function properly in what He has called us to do. There is a time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. Many believers and much of the church seems to be out of God’s time, embracing what God shuns. In Isaiah 5:20, God says: Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! There are consequences to being out of step with God.
There is: A time to be silent and a time to speak. We should not be silent about what we are called to speak, even if there are those who tell us to stop. Jesus has called, commissioned and commanded us to: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” (Mark 16:15) To: “Be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) There is a time to love and a time to hate. Christians are being labeled as haters in our culture and society because of the things they stand against. But there is a time to hate. We should hate what God hates. We also though should and must love what and when God loves. God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16) There never has and never will be a time that God did not and does not love the people He created. In Jeremiah 31:3 God says: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” So too then, should we love them with an everlasting love, that we would draw them to God. .
Here’s the thing we need to learn, to know and understand; and even more importantly we need to walk in, about being in sync with God’s time. There is a time for both sides of all these things that the writer lists. It is difficult for us, with our finite minds to reconcile things which seem to be opposites. But for God, they are often really the opposite side of the same truth. To be in sync with God’s time and His will we need to learn that when it is the time for something to die, even the time for us to kill something; we also should be part of the healing. We should give birth to what God has called forth in place of what has died. We are not to call what God has called evil good, but also we do not overcome evil with evil. Romans 12:21 says: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. God would never have us embrace sin, but we should never stop embracing sinners. If we uproot something that needs to be uprooted, we need to be certain to plant what God wants us to plant in its place. In Matthew 12:43-45 Jesus says: “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.” It is vital that we overcome evil with good, that we speak life where there is death. To be in sync with God, to do His will, we must know His time and His seasons.
The text says: … I have seen that nothing is better than that man should be happy in his activities, for that is his lot. For who will bring him to see what will occur after him? The only sure way for us to be happy in all that we do is to be certain that we are in sync with God’s time and His will.
Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.