In God’s Time

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV)

The third chapter of Ecclesiastes became well known in pop culture in the 1960’s from a song that was written by Pete Seeger in the late fifties. Except for the phrase “Turn, turn, turn” and the last two lines of the lyrics the words of the song were taken entirely from Ecclesiastes 3:2-8.The title of the song was “To Everything There is a Season.” But a L. A. rock band which formed in 1965 who called themselves the Byrds put the song on the map with the title “Turn, Turn, Turn.” I was a sophomore in High School at that time and I thought the song was amazing. Pete Seeger may have wrote the lyrics and the Byrds may have sung the song but it was King Solomon under the guidance of the Holy Spirit who wrote the words of God.

As we look at our text it is directly related to verse one of chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes. “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) There is an appointed time for everything and the key to this verse is time. From there we see the contrast of our time here in this world. “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.” (Ecclesiastes 3:2-8)

The times of our life here at either end or in the middle is a challenge to our faith. God is the Lord of all life. He is the Creator and the giver of all life and every knee shall bow and recognize Him as Lord. God certainly is the Lord of the righteous and He is the Lord of the wicked. All of mankind in the Day of the Lord will bow before Him and confess He is the Lord of their life. Some will bow in reverent fear and praise His holy name while others will bow in terrifying fear, but all will bow and confess Him as Lord. “So that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11)

If God is the Lord of all life, then He is involved with all life, and all live exist for His purpose. It is a great comfort to those that recognize Him as Lord of their life. They seek His counsel through His Son Jesus that they are living in His will that no matter the trials that come in this life here in this world all will work for good according to His plan and purpose. At the end of our journey we will be as He is and find our rest in His Kingdom of love, peace, and joy. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

In verse 11 we read that everything is beautiful in its time. Our lives as Christians might become challenging in time but God calls them beautiful. When we are in these challenging times we find hope that God says they are beautiful. With that knowledge of truth what should our attitude be? The translated word for beautiful is comely. It carries the meaning of fair, suitable, timely, and appropriate in its various contexts. In God’s oversight of the events of our lives we have the knowledge that God is working these events to become something good. They are not just a broad good but suitable, fitting, appropriate and a timely good as God’s timing is perfect. All gifts from God are perfect and deserving of our praise. “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (James 1:17)

We are finite beings and live in the moment we are in. We see the events as they unfold and do not know where they will lead us. The events of our day may cause us to worry and become anxious and to cry out to God why. God is eternal and was before the beginning and exist to the very borders of eternity. There is nowhere in time that God is not there. He knew us before the beginning, He knows what we will encounter along the way, and if we trust Him He will being us safely home to His Kingdom. We have His promise. “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) God knows and He is all powerful and this is why we need to reside in His hand. Remember what He has done and trust what He will do in our life. “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.” (Isaiah 46:9-10)

As you read through the book of Judges you see that seven times Israel, His people, rebelled against His word and worshiped false gods. Seven times God rebuked and reproved them and they returned to the Lord. Christians suffer the same chastisements as children of their parents, as Christians, as the children of God. We don’t enjoy the punishments for our misbehaving from our parents and certainly not form God. God is love and He will teach His children to live in righteousness. If God our Heavenly Father did not correct us, then how many spiritual character flaws would we have? How many of us would have a solid Christian attitude towards God? How disastrous would that be to our salvation? “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives.” (Hebrews 12:6)

When I was a kid, just a short time ago, I watched a show starring Robert Young called “Father Knows Best.” The family got themselves into many situations but in the end father made the right decisions and all worked out for the best. Our Heavenly Father knows best, our Heavenly Father is all knowing and infallible. Our Heavenly Father created us and knows us better than we ourselves. When we find ourselves in the tough times maybe we should seek and draw closer to Him that He would draw nearer to us. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8)

Some think that God sits in His Heaven and just muses over what we do here. They have a name for that, deism, a God and Creator that does not intervene in the affairs of the world. But this is not true as God’s purpose is to restore the relationship of man to Him. Mankind is the crown of His creation and He loves us and is not wanting any of us to perish. If God had set back and just mused over His creation, then there would be far fewer entering into His Kingdom. If God did not become involved and acted on each and everyone’s life, then fewer would return to His image and rest in His peace. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

For now we are here in this state of the world and cannot know what tomorrow will bring. If we did, then we would not need to have faith. To please God we must follow Him in faith and trust in His Word. How else could we believe in the magnitude of His promises? “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

We have but a here and now perspective with a faith in the when and then. Even as we are bound in the time of this world living in a materialistic realm it is our faith that allows us to be aware of the grater world to come. But our vision is impaired by the space that we are in and we must not see by sight but by our faith. “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) We cannot fully know but we can fully trust in the work that God is doing in our lives. It is fully trust in God, as King Solomon said we, “cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, August 5, 2016

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