Ecclesiastes 3:1-15


Because God knows and controls the seasons, we must learn to live within them

We need to explore this control and then what it means to live in these seasons.
Picture of living within the controls of Nana’s house
Give illustration of my own use of the seasons

You live in a created order that has seasons.

This poem does not give reasons for the seasons evaluation of the season, or instruction for how to live in the seasons. Like the created order in the introduction of the book, everything in the past and present life under the sun has a time of coming and going. Before instruction can be given, one would be wise to observe how the seasons work.
Ecclesiastes 3:1–2 NKJV
To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
Everything and every part of life has a season.
One does not escape or live outside of this reality (“Everything; Time to be born, time to die.”
The seasons are not controlled by us (birth and death, planting and plucking up)
Ecclesiastes 3:3–4 NKJV
3 A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break 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;
Ecclesiastes 3:5–6 NKJV
5 A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away;
Ecclesiastes 3:7–8 NKJV
7 A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; 8 A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.
There is a temporary nature to the seasons. This ties in with the theme we have seen already with nothing permanent in the life.
There are times for unpleasant as well as pleasant seasons
Scripture tells us how to live wisely in times, but the nature of this description of the seasons is not instructive but descriptive.
This seen in the times of love and hate/ war and peace.(v. 8)
Even in the recognition of the seasons, we don’t always know when it is time to press on in a search or abandon the search. (v. 6)
For the one who would attempt to describe life as one of success and victory, there is the reality of weeping, war, and death.
For the one who would attempt to describe life as one big disappointment, there is the reality of birth, laughing, mending, dancing, and peace.
The seasons present choices to us as well as choices already made for us.
Though no interpretation is given yet, there are some clarity (wanted and unwanted) that we reach in the observation
No season is forever
The gamut of experience in life does not indicate what happens to all, but it does prepare us for thing we face in life.
The positive and negative experiences calls us to remove our near-sighted perspective that quickly ties good to something we have done or earned and ties the unpleasant to something we or someone else has done.
Some who have experienced the unpleasant things of life would dare not think of the pleasant things. Others live life trying to deny the unpleasant things of life.
In this fallen world, there is a tension that is faced with the constant pendulum swing of time
“Some...will feel that “all I have is time”; some will cherish this feeling while others will struggle to overcome boredom in order to feel useful. Other neighbors will feel awe or loss (“Where did the time go?”), or frustrated fatigue (“There aren’t enough hours in the day.”) or purposed urgency (“I’ve got to make the most of my time.”), or grateful anticipation (“I’ve been waiting for this time to come!”) or painful regret (“I wasted all of those years.”) or restless waiting (“When will my time come?”) or cautious fear (“I don’t want this time to arrive.”) or wonderful memory (“Do you remember that time that we . . . ?”).” Eswine, Zack W.. Recovering Eden: The Gospel According to Ecclesiastes (Gospel According to the Old Testament Book 14) (p. 126). P&R Publishing. Kindle Edition.
The human tendency is to not live in the seasons well. There is the the human desire that is fleshed out in so many movies, slogans, music.
Make the most of the day that you have
Carpe Diem - Seize the day
Just Do It
YOLO- you only live life once
Live outside of the times
Travel to the past and consider what could have been.
Travel to future to see what could be
Change the times
Focus on changing the circumstances around rather than changing within
The teacher addresses this situation with a question that reveals.

The seasons are not useful for gain

Ecclesiastes 3:9–10 NKJV
9 What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? 10 I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied.
Notice that every delightful aspect of time is canceled out by something that is disheartening
Transition: It is needful to keep in mind the concept of gain in the book of Ecclesiastes
Gain- the endeavor to take the desire for meaning and happiness and satisfy it with the things of this created order. In our imagination and in our actions we pursue places, experiences, job changes, and entertainment that we think will provide happiness and meaning. In the intro of chapter 1 we saw the lack of gain in the illustration of creation on a cycle in which things are never full. So there is never a point where man can say I am satisfied. After the exploration with pleasure in chapter 2, he did not find gain
An Image that would capture this would be of the man rolling the stone up the hill and it falling down only to do it all over again.
This is an important reality that we must come to understand: we cannot discern the times or control the times.
The more important question that needs to be answered as the pendelum of time swings back and forth is not“how to live in the times?” but rather “WHO controls the times” If this question is not answered one seek to control the times as though he were God.
Illustration: Let’s illustrate with a scenario with which you can relate to many of your own experiences. One I remember is learning to drive a tractor as a kid. My patient Dad put us on his lap for driving the tractor. He then moved to the back of the tractor and then stood out in the field. There is the initial respect and fear because of the unknown, but soon you start hearing words like “Oh I got it. Let me Try it! I don’t need you any more.” These can be comforting words as one learns to take responsibility, but they are shortsighted in view of all that is to be known.

God’s work happens in His time, but is not able to be comprehended

The worker of verse 9 is superceded by the Divine worker of verse 11.
His work is note for happening in a fitting and right way. The word for work is used many times in the account of Genesis in which God is making two great lights and host of others things in creation.
We see the nobility He has placed on man in creating them with a capacity that sees beyond today. There is a sense of the past and present (eternity)
However, we see superior nature of God in that we cannot understand what He is doing throughout time.
This does not indicate that life is now to be used however we see fit because of what we cannot see. God is also a revealing God. He has given numerous light with regard to the way He works in fitting and right ways.
Galatians 4:4 NKJV
4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
We can look at many factors that made the timing right- Roman world, Greek language, timing of the Messiah. These would be appropriate but the main emphasis is that it was done in God’s right timing. He keeps His promises.
Mark 1:15 NKJV
15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
Matthew 26:18 NKJV
18 And He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.” ’ ”
1 Timothy 6:13–15 NKJV
13 I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, 15 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords,

Enjoy God’s gifts in His times

Ecclesiastes 3:12–13 NKJV
12 I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, 13 and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.
There is the repeated refrain from chapter 2 to enjoy the gifts of God as they come to us in His timing.
Doing good would involve working in light of the fact that God is the decisive one who controls all things.
Enjoying the day is removing self from the center stage of trying to control everything
This does not mean repressing all things in this life and calling them bad because of our future life with Christ in heaven.
One of my favorite pictures is of of tracing the sun beam to the source of the light. One sees it in gratitude as a gift from God and adores the God who could make something as such. The sun beams are not used as another means to just go on an pursue our own business.
Another example in the area of the gift God gives us in food. Separated from the giver one can serve self in many ways, gorge themselves, eat it one the run as a you are trying to get more of their things done, refrain from it out of concern for body image. The Israelite picture in the wilderness of trying to save up on food on the Sabbath provides a picture of trying to seek gain apart from the Giver. 1 Timothy speaks of sanctifying food by the Word of God and prayer.
Transition: Another observation is made in regards to God’s control of times and seasons.

God’s work endures forever

Ecclesiastes 3:14 NKJV
14 I know that whatever God does, It shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, And nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him.
What he has determined cannot be altered by man’s effort
Why does he do this?
When see your lack of control and inability.

Stand in awe of the One who does control and know all things

Gaining provision is not an anxious toil to make sure everything is secure and I get all I can. Stand in awe of the one who puts detailed care into the lillies.
Rather than seeking fro status and promotion, stand in awe of God who has given you your roles as a means to love people.

God is seeking out all the details that our beyond our comprehension

Ecclesiastes 3:15 ESV
15 That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.
Living like this is also what helps us to realize that so much of the time, we use our times to seek satisfaction rather than living in the times God has given and so receiving satisfaction from him as a gift. Satisfaction comes when you know you are a time-bound creature and God is the eternal Creator. Satisfaction lodges in my heart when I accept the boundaries of my creaturely existence and accept the seasons of my life as coming from his good and wise hands. Accepting these things is the gift of God, for, left to our own devices, we accept neither. I often refuse to accept that I am a creature by never expecting to walk through deep valleys but only experience the mountaintops. Am I in a season of sorrow and despair? I often refuse to accept that this has come to me from his fatherly care. It is easy to stop believing that God will bring every single one of my moments into his eternal present and put right what has gone wrong.
Gibson, David. Living Life Backward (p. 61). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
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