Oct 18, 2021
Ecclesiastes is part of the Old Testament that is known as “wisdom literature.” The other books known as “wisdom literature” include Psalms, Job, Proverbs, and Song of Solomon. These books, in different ways, reflect on life and especially the relationship between God’s wisdom and human experience.
In the book of Ecclesiastes, we see the importance of gratitude, and understanding the goodness and purposes of God, because only in and through those things will we find ultimate meaning in life.
1) The Tyranny of Father Time (vv. 1-10)
Ecclesiastes 3:1-10 – “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, 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. What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.”
In many books, movies and TV shows, we see Father Time depicted as chaotic, or something to be manipulated in our attempt to master the concept of randomness and chance. And isn’t that exactly what life appears to be without God and without God’s perspective on life?
If Father Time’s in charge, then where is the purpose and order in the things that you and I experience? After all, our secular culture has robbed our people and our students of the theological apparatus that produces coherent and meaningful life answers.
Ultimately, Father Time frustrates and confounds us—without Father God, he drives us crazy; without Father God, Father Time makes life meaningless!
2) The Goodness of Father God (vv. 11-15)
That’s why I’m so grateful for the goodness of Father God. (1) The goodness of Father God brings peace when the tyranny of Father Time brings frustration. (2) The goodness of Father God brings coherence when tyranny of Father Time brings chaos. (3) The goodness of Father God brings meaning when the tyranny of Father God brings meaninglessness.
Ecclesiastes 3:11-15 – “God has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.”
When we say that God is “good,” we’re talking about one of the attributes of God. And whenever we talk about an “attribute” of God, we’re talking about who God is—his timeless qualities that never change. And the goodness of God is an attribute that undergirds this passage.
Father God infuses everything with purpose.
When Solomon says that “God makes all things beautiful in their time,” I believe he’s saying that God infuses everything with purpose. Things don’t happen randomly or by chance. Rather, they happen according to God’s purpose. We may not always know exactly what that purpose is, but when we recognize that God has infused all things—even bad things—with purpose, we can see a beauty in them.
When Solomon says that “God has placed eternity in our hearts,” he’s saying that God has given us the ability to see beyond time and space. No other creature has this ability—it comes with being made in the image of God.
Understand that the concepts “time” and “eternity” or mutually exclusive. We exist presently in what we call “time and space.” God, on the other hand, is eternal. He ultimately exists outside of time and space.
When Solomon says that “God has done it, so that people fear before him,” he’s not talking about people being afraid of God as we might be afraid of someone. Rather, when the Bible talks about “fearing” God it’s talking about reference, honor, and worship. In this context of God’s eternal essence and perspective, Solomon is saying that God has invited us to trust him.
That’s not always easy, is it? We can’t see everything that God sees, we can’t understand everything that God understands. But we know he’s good, we know that he infuses everything with purpose—and because of that, we know we can trust him.