Everything In Its Time, part 2 – Eccl 3:1-15

Everything In Its Time, part 2

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

Terry Landrum


(I am using a transcribe program. Would you like to edit and clean up the text? If you would like to make notes on the outline, please post a comment below.)


Good morning. To turn your Bibles to Ecclesiastes chapter 3 organ wrap up this morning the little three parts discussions that we've had in this portion of God's word we have spent the past two weeks with a very quick foundation of some principal truths in and groundwork that I think was necessary to help us understand what Solomon was trying to communicate to us in this portion of his journal called book of Ecclesiastes is a quote by Sir Thomas Browne where he said that there are in everyone's life certain connections twists and turns which Paso while under the category of chance but at the last when they're well examined. They proved to be the very hand of God and we seen that if where to enjoy life as a gift from God then what we first and foremost have to do is overcome the fact that were not around God God predetermines events and all the conditions of our life in the days of our lives are in his hands and with God, we saw last week. There's an appointed time for everything. So if you'll read with me and was started in chapter 3 verse one were describes a goddess predetermining the events of life reading out of the new American Standard which says there's an appointed time for everything and there's a time for every event under heaven the time to give birth in a time to die a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted the time to kill, and a time to heal the time to tear down the time to build up a time to weep and a time to laugh the time to mourn and a time to dance the time to throw stones at a time to gather stones a time to embrace and a time to shun embracing the time to search the time to give up as lost a time to keep in a time to throw away if trying to tear apart and time to sew together the time to be silent and time to speak a time to love and a time to hate a time for war and a time for peace. What profit is there to the worker from that in which each oils I've seen the task which God is given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. He has made everything appropriate and it's time he is also set eternity in their hearts yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end. I know that there's nothing better for them that do rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime. Moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor. It is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will remain forever. There's nothing to add to it and there's nothing to take from it for God has so worked that men should fear him. That which is has been already and that which will be has already been for God seeks what is passed by not want us to start out this morning at the meaning of this section of Scripture in a much larger context and to do that we first have to examine the truth that God exists that he has there. That is not silent and they sovereign. Otherwise if we don't start their were totally wasting our time. You might as well go home, I'm eyes will go home, we might as well just do her thing. Why talk about God's sovereignty, which is what this section of the Scriptures are primarily focused on if you don't even believe that God exists and I know most of us all. Hopefully all of us here we wouldn't be here if we didn't believe that God exists but most of what him and is saying the next 10 or 15 min. comes from Francis Schaeffer's book is there is not silent because we have a hurting postmodern world out there that needs to hear this truth and one of the one of the things that Shafer discusses is that one meaning of the term philosophy can be understood as man's world, you and everyone of us has a worldview everyone of us has a value system. Everyone of us has a set of beliefs that we follow whether you can articulate it or not you do and that makes you and that makes me a philosopher, no one lives without a worldview because your worldview in your perspective, your thoughts about how and why things work the way they do your thoughts about what drives you and gives you purpose is what drives every decision that you make now what I want to talk about is that these perspectives. These worldviews generally go down one of three patents and let's look at him because this is important for us to know even in the world of apologetics again. As were talking to our neighbors our coworkers or family members and the first pass that people can go down is that there are no logical, rational answers as to why we're here. It makes no sense. So don't even waste your time everything is chaotic everything random everything's irrational everything is absurd. This is a philosopher your worldview of many many people today, including most of our scientific and philosophic communities. So this is why it's critical look at this you might save yourself how can anybody believe in anything chaotic or a rational or absurd that makes no sense what here's a recent example of this. There's an article that came out on Easter Sunday this year the Tulsa world and first appeared in the Los Angeles times takes up almost more than half the page the title is a universe seemingly without purpose. I don't believe that it was by accident that this was published on Resurrection Sunday. I think it was an effort to try to flog this in the face of God Saints the opening sentence in this article says that the illusion of purpose and design is perhaps the most pervasive illusion about nature that science has to confront on a daily basis sciences confronting on a daily basis. Every day the illusion of purpose here some more things that this article says as a cosmologists a scientist who studies the origin and evolution of the universe. I am painfully aware that our illusions nonetheless reflected deep human need to assume that the existence of the earth of life and of the universe and the laws that govern it require something more profound for Manny to live in a universe that may have no purpose and no creator is unthinkable but sciences taught us to think the unthinkable, because when nature is the guide rather than a priority prejudices hopes, fears, desires were forced out of our comfort zone and so we continue to be surprised. We are like the early mapmakers redrawing the picture of the globe, even as new continents were discovered and just as those mapmakers confronted the realization that your was not flat. We must confront facts that change what had seemed to be basic and fundamental concepts. Even our idea of nothingness has been altered the large hadron collider is given us tantalizing hints that the origin of mass and therefore of all that we can see is a kind of cosmic accident experiments in the collider bolster evidence of the existence of the Higgs field which apparently just happened to form throughout space in our universe, most surprising of all combining the ideas of general relativity and quantum mechanics. We can now understand how it is possible that the entire universe matter radiation even space itself could arise spontaneously out of nothing without explicit divine intervention as particle physics revolutionizes the concepts of something defined as elementary particles and forces that bind them and nothing three defining something and nothing and nothing he defines as the dynamics of empty space or even the absence of space the famous question why is there something rather than nothing is also revolutionized even the very laws of physics. We depend on maybe a cosmic accident with different laws in different universes which further alters how we might connect something with nothing. Asking why we live in a universe of something rather than nothing. Maybe no more meaningful than asking why some flowers are red and others blue perhaps most remarkable of all not only is it now plausible in a scientific sense that our universe came from nothing. If we ask what properties the universe created from nothing would have it appears that these properties resemble precisely the universe that we live in. Does all this prove that our universe and the laws that govern it arose spontaneously without divine guidance or purpose know that it means it's possible and that possibility need not imply that our own lives, or devoid of meaning, instead of divine purpose. The meaning in our lives can arise from what we make of ourselves from our relationships and our institutions from the achievements of the human mind imagining living in a universe McNelis last section" so here it hears I wrapped up his article last paragraph imagining living in a universe without purpose. May prepare us to better face reality head-on. I can't see that this is such a bad thing. Living in a strange and remarkably universe that is the way it is independent of our desires and hopes is far more satisfying for me and living in a fairytale universe invented to justify arguments now does that just make you angry you're making one cry. I wonder what Solomon would have to say today to Mr. Krause's Solomon read this article. I think he would say use pool go read my journal he had Krause happen to mention three things that we've already looked at that Solomon said is nothing that vanity and futility when he was talking about instead of divine purpose. The meaning of our lives can arise from what we make of ourselves. Read Ecclesiastes from our relationships and our institutions from the achievements of the human mind. Of particular note because this is related to some things that we talked about in Sunday school class this morning I want to draw your attention to the fact of how Krause is trying to redefine the term nothing our culture our postmodern culture is so into trying to redefine to get us away from any element that there's any absolute truth striving the universe at all. So where in the process of always redefining he's trying to redefine the term nothing. He calls it empty space full of a bunch of stuff we can't see Shafer helps us here. He says nothing. The word nothing must be held to mean absolutely nothing. You can't define the word nothing with something it has to be nothing it can't be nothing something, and it can't be something nothing that has to be nothing nothing you can't redefine the term away. You can't call empty space nothing. Why because you have empty space. If it's not nothing. So not only does it make you cry but I'm sorry, but I guess my fairytale universe invented to justify my existence however it might offend the author of this article I'm sorry, the to be perfectly blunt he offends my intelligence because he's asking me to understand the definition of something in her way that is absurd. Just because we can't see anything in what we call empty space doesn't allow us to define it as nothing. So we cannot let people tell us today the author of this article specifically say that he's giving an answer beginning with nothing and didn't really begin with something this argument cannot be sustained. This argument that our existence that we came from nothing. It can be sustained but theoretically it's the first possible answer okay quickly. The second possible answer in the area of existence is that all that we see now had an impersonal beginning. So at least they're implying that it had a beginning somewhere income from nothing but it came from something impersonal if one begins here then you have to ask the question again. Why does anything have meaning or any significance and where to morals or values, so that their possible answer is to begin with a personal beginning in this case mankind being personal and we are personal we would at least be able to start from a position of having meaning. But when we consider a personal beginning the next question is, is this God with the G or God's with a little G and in order to conjure an adequate answer we saw last week and I say this week that we need a personal infinite God as Shafer titled his book the God who is there. This is the only answer for existence. It's true to both man's experience and what God has said in the Bible for there's no use in having a silent God. We do not believe in the God of Deism this up cosmic clock maker or watchmaker reduce winds at the clock lets it go in and sits back and observes if we service silent God and we wouldn't know anything about he but he has spoken and he has told us who he is and what he is and that he existed before all else and so now we have an answer to the existence of what is our God is not silent and that is why we can know. It's because he has spoken why does he told us about himself what his he told us about other things. Is it only that he's told us about other things and he answers no. He's told us the truth about himself because we are made in his image. We have general revelation of into what is known both in us and around us. See Romans 119 through 20 and we also have special revelation in the word that he's given us see second Peter 121. Second Timothy 316 in it the entire first chapter John general and special revelation. Speak with one voice. So with that quick synopsis of of these worldviews. I wanted to at least bring us all to the point now that it's only now only now when you resolve in your mind that were not here out of nothing were not here because of some impersonal and everything is him brought us here, but that we are here because we have an infinite personal God who made us. It's only now, as we believe that there is an infinite personal God the God has revealed himself to us as a triune God, father, son and Spirit. Is there who does speak to us. Can we now talk about his sovereignty are you with me. If you don't if you don't get to this point. There's no use in talking about his sovereignty were his providence. So I was wonder the ground it's that we do live in a world who cannot make any sense of the purpose of mankind and who are trying their very hardest to try to make sense of things without a God and praise God that we have been delivered out of darkness into light that he has given us intellect of faith and believe in his existence. And now we have to try to understand who he is and what he is what our relationship is with and were going to speak about his issue of sovereignty and to that I open with a quote from Charles Spurgeon that is quoted in Arthur pinks the attributes of God. Spurgeon said we proclaim and enthroned God and his right to do as he wills with his own to dispose of his creatures as he thinks well without consulting them in the matter. And when we do this, it is then that were just and work extra crated and then it is that men turn a deaf ear to us for God on his throne is not the God but they love but it is God upon the throne that we love to preach and it is God upon his throne whom we trust God is on the throne of his universe directing all things and working all things after the Council of his own will remember this and be assured and recall to mind you transgressors 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. The psalmist says not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name give glory because of your lovingkindness because of your truth. Why should the nation safe where now is there God but our God is in the heavens and he does whatever he pleases. There is a time for everything in God's plan. He does whatever he pleases my purpose will be established. Regardless of our tips to regulate our universe or on more personal level should try to control our own lives is God sovereign purpose that we're good to run into moment by moment, day by day were get a bump into his purposes. Time after time after time after time after time after time there's a time for every and the time is God's purposes and so we have to acknowledge the fact that there's a proper time for each action and in so doing we acknowledge that this is the Lord's way of running thing we have to cope with man's timing of the man has to cope with God's timing things as best he can. We have to love the giver and not just as gifts and so as we've read. There's a time for everything. We have absolutely no control over our birth or death. Did any of you here has to be born have any of you asked for your death day our birthdays were thrust upon us. We didn't ask for it. Likewise God is determined are death day. From the moment that were thrust into this world screaming and kicking and crying to the moment were taken away from the kicking and screaming and crying our time is truly in God's hands since his Joe says since his days are days are determined now you sits man's days are determined the number of his months is with you Lord and his limits you have set so that he cannot pass Joe 1210 in whose hand is the life of every living thing in the breath of all mankind. Speaking of the Lord. Psalm 39 behold you have made my days as handcrafts in my lifetime is nothing in your side. Surely every man it is best is a mere breath and later on in Ecclesiastes chapter a silent Solomon would say no man has authority to restrain the wind with the wind or authority over the day of his death. And as we've already mentioned several times this morning and it and it is appointed wants for man to die. It is going to happen. It is a sure thing but God is not concerned just with mandates tells us here that is already extends to everything and over everything. Matthew 1029 glory. Jesus said are not two sparrows sold for a set and yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your father but the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Even the life of plants is said in the scope of God's plan when they're planted when they're to be harvested we don't harvest in the spring and we don't so in the winter we have to cooperate with the seasons of nature. We look around us and we see killing times we see healing times. We strives to tear down times to build up a time to love a time to hate a time for war and a time for peace you listen to these words. A time to kill a time to tear down to hate war these things sound harsh and every time we witness a calamity or a tragedy in our world. The first thing that comes to our mind is how good a good God allow this. And so then we come to conclusions. Well that God had nothing to do with it were that Satan did it or that well see what more evidence do I need to give you fool speaking us as fools that there is no God or what the writers emphasizing here is that in this world of unregenerate man that we live in. There will be individuals and there will be nations that will suffer. The judgment of God. When he decrees their death and their destruction. We tend not to want to consider all the attributes of our God. Jeremiah 18 seven through 10. At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot to pull down or to destroy it if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil then I will relent concerning the calamity. I plan to bring on it is the Lord speaking concerning the calamity. I plan to bring on or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or the planet if it does evil in my sight by not obeying my voice and I will think better of the good, with which I promised to bless it Isaiah 45 the Lord says that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there's no one besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other the one forming lie in creating darkness causing well-being and creating calamity. I am the Lord who does all these Amos 36 of the truck that is blown in a city will not the people tremble if a calamity occurs in a city has not the Lord done it psalmist says I eaten ashes like bread and mingled my drink with weeping because of your indignation and your wrath for you have lifted me up cast me away. My days are like a lengthened shadow and I wither away like grass you cannot look at God's word and come to the conclusion that God is not in every event that but God is healing as well. And just as there's a time to weep and mourn. There's a time to laugh and dance and to love and to enjoy peace when rejoicing brings relief the Lord's in it when the prayer of lament is answered in the gladness experience may also be attributed to the goodness of the one who gave it no less. We think that this is just something that Solomon was riding Jesus illustrates the same thing in the New Testament in a very familiar passage that we read in Luke where records for us and now the same occasion there were some present who reported to Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate admixed with their sacrifices and Jesus said to them, do you suppose that these Galileans were greater centers and all the other Galileans, because they suffered this fate Jesus as I tell you know, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or do you suppose that those 18 on in the tower inside alone Felling kill were worse culprits and all the men who live in Jerusalem, I tell you know, but unless you repent, you will likewise. This fact that God is constantly calling on men to repent is constantly pointing out man's sin and rebellion should lead us and drive us to her knees to to quit saying to her the thing that we should be saying to yourselves that grace that these things don't happen to me because were not above anything we live in the world just like everybody else. And so we need to quit putting God in the dock as CS Lewis title this book quit putting them in the witness stand like he has to give an account for every action he does which is exactly what Joe was doing. We have to quit putting them in the dock in demanding explanations from him these times of calamity and war and killing in tearing down and so on. We have to view with the proper biblical perspective as God's wake-up call to the world in all its ungodliness God's use and design of these things I would never say and you all would probably never say is not a deep and profound mystery because it is we don't make light of it and we don't belittle this. It's a profound mystery but we don't deny it. He wants us God wants us to witness his entire glory all of it in its fullness. He wants us to see all of his attributes in his fullness and we can't just limited to his attribute of love. We cannot only concentrate on the love of God. We can't just limit our understanding of him to his mercies in his goodness yes we are to do that but we are also didn't know that he is holy, holy, holy, holy he is a holy God. And because of his Holiness he's a God of judgment. And when needed. He's a God of wrath. You cannot ignore that. And this is a hard enough thing for us to grasp and contemplate and discuss in the abstract but let these kinds of hard times fall on us personally and it could melt this away bring us to a crisis of faith like that. But God has revealed himself in God has told us with their times of healing their times of laughing there's times of dancing in love and peace and his John piper put it in an interview several years ago after the synonymy that hitmen Mark and we can think of the recent one that hit Japan just recently that if we strip God in his sovereignty in times of calamity and tragedy there. We also have to strip them of his sovereignty on the other side of the calamity. And if we do that then where where do we turn where do we look for for the mercy and compassion and the hope that we need to find in the midst of that calamity or that tragedy. You can't remove God from half the equation without moving him from all the equation. And so we we dare we strip him of his sovereignty in times of calamity and tragedy then you have no hope. You have no one to turn to for mercy, compassion, and hope are you going to take comfort in the fact that you can live in a universe without purpose but that's that that's been a prepared you to better face the reality head-on. It is only when we acknowledge God's providence in our lives when the bad things are happening to us that we couldn't knowledge is providence during the good times and how it easy is it for us always wanted knowledge is goodness and is providence and in the good times but we questioning in the bad times but Hosea 61 tells us, let us return to the Lord for he has torn us that he will heal us. He has wounded us that he will bandages Isaiah 61 the Spirit of the Lord is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom the prisoners to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God to comfort all who mourn to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes the well of gladness instead of morning the mantle of praise instead of the spirit of feigning. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord that he may be glorified as piper put it hope in a sovereign God in pain is the source of compassion and as CS Lewis said at the end of his movies Shadowlands. The pain now is part of the happiness then that's the deal. The pain now is part of the happiness and so will be born will he will drink will tear down would get a man to fight wars were getting eventually die there's not a thing we can do about any of this because God controls at all. So if that's true if everything is planned out and there's a right moment for everything and God is in control of it all and what the world am I doing busted my brains out with all my sweat blood every day because what the world is supposed to be if it's all ultimately out of my control Solomon puts it this way in verses nine and 10 what profit is there to the worker then from that vision in which he toils with the purpose of it. I've seen the task which God is given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. This word translated task in the new American Standard is translated travail in the King James is translated burden in the NIV. I have seen the travails I've seen the burdens which God is given man which occupied and get this the root meaning of this word. That's translated task or travail overburden has the idea of someone looking down on or browbeating from this route we get various words translated in the Old Testament, such as a base Chasen afflict deal hardly with her we can Solomon is saying this is what God has done. I've seen the chastening the travail weighing the afflicting which God is given the sons of men Solomon is hurting about this. I don't know if Solomon is just really angry with God reveals just hurting or what ever brought up a party. I don't I don't know but this is what Solomon is describing for us this is what Solomon is feeling in his gut and the question for us is is this what you feel in your gut. Is this how you are it is God's sovereignty this fact that he is in charge of everything and that there's a time for everything does that for you like it did for Solomon make your life seen you'll has a really been hard on you as he thwarted every plan you've ever made as he brought your relationships sorrow instead of Julie have you failed instead of achieving the level of success that that you thought you would have as your health failed you and never come back as death taken someone before you were ready to say goodbye to them. Can you say with Joe for why I fear comes upon me and what I dread befalls me. I'm not 80s nor am I quiet and I'm not at rest but turmoil Job is saying all that I fear is what is come upon and he says in further in his book Joe says my days are past. My plans are torn apart. Even the wishes of my heart it sure can seem like at times that God is really really really hard on especially if we don't cultivate a mindset that acknowledges that God is always doing more than we know or can know we have to have that mindset and so we bring to mind again that God says that I've made everything appropriate and it's time and God is saying to you and to me this morning. I've said eternity in your heart but I've said it such a way that you're not bitter find out what I'm doing from the beginning to the you can't understand it even if I revealed it to you and up but I'm not going to other translation say these made everything beautiful in its time. There's a beauty and a timing and order of things we can't see the whole picture in God's plan is made all things to fit in their appointed time and place. It's only a great and a sovereign God that could humanly speaking take the risk to permit evil suffering and pain in his world and still work out his perfect plan God is in control and is working out his purposes for our good and for his glory and the Puritan Thomas Watson said were reason cannot wait their faith must swim since where the creation of God made in his image we want to understand these providential dealings of God from beginning to end. Yet we can't we want to understand he made us rational thinking reasonable hurting yearning longing people we want to understand these things right, but we can't were finite these defendants and he works in such a way that we won't find out the work which God is done from the beginning even to the end that keyword in verse 11 is eternity God is said eternity in our hearts this Hebrews been translated is everlasting eternal always perpetual he has given us a sense of eternity of the everlasting of the eternal where we get that from did that come from an impersonal being or did we just dream that stuff up know God put it into our man looks at things that have gone on before and many ponders about things that will happen in the future and he wants to know how everything is experience can be integrated to make a whole we want to know why things fit the way they fit were always asking is this God's will and the answer is always yes and the hard thing for us is that these decrees of God or his business and day-to-day living is ours and God is not get a tell us why certain things happen to us certain so what should we do verse 12 there's nothing better for than for us to do than to rejoice and just do. In our life that's all we can do. Maybe we can figure out how everything fits into the whole scheme of eternity especially the tasks that we do on a day-to-day basis that we can tell ourselves that there's nothing better for us than to rejoice and to enjoy the life that God has given us and that can be summed up into two things love God and love your neighbor and we cannot have this perspective my friends. This is what we have to understand the ultimate in God's sovereignty is you cannot have this perspective apart from Jesus Christ and apart from it being a gift from God. The ability for you to enjoy life. If you are out Christ you will never have that ability. We will never be able to eat and drink and see good in our labor unless God gives us that ability to do so and Solomon is trying to tell us to stop trying to figure out every step that he's going to take us through and rather just simply take life is a gift from him thank him for it and enjoy it on a moment by moment basis. Why because he tells us in verses 14 and 15 because everything God does remains for ever. You can't add to it, you can't take from it. And the reason why God his work this way is why so that man should fear if we didn't work that way. And what do we need God for that which is been already and that which will be has already been God is eternal. We live in space time we can't add anything to God's plan or take anything from it his purposes in his planner and changeable and we are to accept it as one writer said man is not the starting point of knowledge any cannot be we must begin with the God who rules all things the one he places everything in a beautiful place, we must worship the one who orients all things to his ultimate glory. Even sin and evil. The monstrous and the ugly if God appoints all the seasons of every man's life been no man can live for himself and no man can find the source of wisdom within himself. If God decrees all things that we cannot escape them, not even by plunging ourselves and all kinds of depravity a man who embraces evil simply finds himself a tool in the hand of the Almighty a man who rejects evil and follows wisdom will find himself the son and the family of the Almighty the one option not offered us is that if the wording in restricting the purposes of God. God is work it this way so that man should fear him. And this fear is not an attitude of terror. It's instead a commitment of our total being to trust and believe are living God. Let's take that away with us this morning. The Christian character. That's described in the Bible is developed when we choose God and his ways. In spite of all the temptations or impulses for us to do otherwise God wants us to freely choose to love him even when that choice involves pain because were committed to him not to our own good feelings and rewards he wants us to cleave to him as Job did even when we have every reason to hotly denied God is interested in winning our hearts totally apart from the gifts that he gives us. He wants us to serve them and our fellow humans from a heart of love regardless of what we may get out of oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God how unsearchable are his judgments and unfathomable his ways for who is known the mind of the Lord or who became his counselor or who has first given to him that it might be paid back to him again for from him through him and to him are all things to him be the glory forever and all of God's people said, Amen

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