Preaching through the books of the Bible verse by verse causes one to stumble onto some very special concepts and words from God. A study in the Book of Ecclesiastes uncovered one of those special concepts. Chapter three is a fascinating chapter. There are five life-giving principles in the first 15 verses.
- Your Time on Earth Runs You — Through a Busy Schedule (vs.1-8) Peter Seeger and the Byrds had a hit song in 1959 titled, “Turn, Turn, Turn.” The song primarily came from the words in this Biblical text. The verses that speak to a time for every season are a cyclical, methodical way of living life. Life is busy and we plant, die, weep, heal, and go through the descriptive cycle that Solomon writes about life. Life is full of both good times and difficult events.
- Your Time on Earth Shapes You — During Events that are Good and Bad (vs.9-11a) All the events mentioned in the first 8 verses talk about the good times and hard times in life. The events of life, both sweet and sour, mold you into the person you are today. These verses list 14 opposites that shape our lives with both good and bad things. Life dishes out both positive and negative experiences. But verse 11 assurances us, “He has made everything beautiful in its time …” Life in whole is a beautiful thing.
- Your Time on Earth Leaves You — With a Convincing Void That There is More (v.11b) Verse 11 is the heart of this passage. God’s Word states, “Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart.” It is vitally important that people learn that there is an eternity. We must be prepared to meet God. Every person has their thoughts about eternity and what happens after death. God makes it very clear in verse 11b that there is an eternity. The 50, 80, 90 years on earth cannot compare to forever. Therefore, it is of great importance that we prepare for what comes next. Jesus came to earth and gave us the answer. He said in John 14:3,6 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” We must accept the free gift of God, his Son. Jesus paid for our sins on the cross of Calvary. And eternity with God is found in God’s greatest gift, his Son, Jesus Christ.
- Your Time on Earth Reveals to You — God Has the Plan, and He is in Control (vs.11c,14-15) The various cycles of life mentioned in the early verses of the chapter are reminders that we go through both good times and bad times here on earth. Verse 15 shares that God has ordained them, and they direct us to a trust. We must have a complete and deep trust in God as we go through our trials.
- Your Time on Earth Exhorts You — To Practice Three Foundational Principles (vs.12-13) God, through the pen of Solomon gives us three concluding principles:
- Be Joyful (v.12a) “I perceive there is nothing better for them than to be joyful”
- Be Moral (v.12b) “to do good as long as they live”
- Be Responsible (v.13) “Eat, drink, and take pleasure in your toil; This is God’s gift to man.”
If society today lived by these three God-given principles; harmony, love, and unity would preside over the world.
Solomon was king of Israel. When asked by the Lord what gift he would like, he chose wisdom. I define wisdom as “skillful living.” Solomon sought happiness and joy by trying everything that this world has to offer. Solomon also gained everything possible. He was the wealthiest man in the world. Yet, in this book the wise sage concludes that everything is empty. He also shares as pointed out previously, there is an eternity. Preparation for eternity must be a priority! When prepared for eternity, one can enjoy everything God has given us on this earth. But in contrast, when one seeks fulfillment from only the things this earth offers, they are left with a God-given void. That hole can only be filled with God through his Son, Jesus Christ.
In conclusion we must understand that life is a gift. Every day is a God-wrapped present. He has given you days and years to enjoy and appreciate his creation. Both good and bad times will occur, but you can lean on him through the tough times. You must remember that the gaping hole in your life is about eternity. He desires for you to live with him. He gave his Son, Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6) Jesus died for your sin and short-comings. Receive him, God’s gift of eternal life.
Live with joy, and appreciate all that this world offers. Be moral. Do good. Take responsibility. The splendors of this earth cannot compare with eternity which God has prepared for those who love, obey, trust, and follow him.