God is in Control (1)



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.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8


In the previous verses, 2:24-26, the Teacher has set forth a basic proposition that God is in control and that outside of His will, everything is useless, meaningless, empty, futile; vanity. Yet within His will there is satisfaction and true happiness; in this chapter, he sets forth to prove his point. In this first part, the Teacher reminds us that there is an undeniable pattern to life, a rhythm we might say, which has been established by God.

These vases are so familiar, they were even made into a hit song back in the 1960’s, but do we really grasp their significance?

To ensure that we really “get” this passage, commentators often go into great detail to analyze each of these couplets, to squeeze out every bit of juice from the poem, often engaging in great philosophical dissertations that are quite fascinating to ponder, and you are quite welcome to search these out if you like. If you choose to take this approach, you can join so many other great minds who suddenly find themselves trying to justify killing, tearing things down and hatred into a Biblical context of love and compassion. It sounds like taking a side trip that involves a whole lot of chasing the wind to me…

I say this because these verses are not eight separate points, this passage does not stand on its own in the context of this book; it is one complete thought set up to demonstrate one part of the demonstration of one point in a series of points that make up the complete message of Ecclesiastes, and as richly rewarding as it may be to analyze this line by line, to do so misses the point entirely. I’m sorry that I have to admit this, but to my strange little mind, and with my oddball little sense of humor, charging off on such an errand would be hilarious and supremely ironic while studying Ecclesiastes, of all books.

The Teacher’s thesis is stated in the beginning of my comments above, and verses 1-8 are supporting point 1 in his attempt to back it up; this is evidence, not a philosophical treatise. What is he really trying to tell us? Simple: (go figure)

Thesis: Satisfaction in this life and thus true happiness can only be found when we are within the will of Almighty God.

First supporting point: God, in His infinite wisdom has ordained a season for every purpose of Man.

Well, it would seem that we are ready for the next point now… and that is exactly what we will have next time!


Note: I found the picture above on the net; pretty cool I think. Note to self: Find out how they do that!


About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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17 Responses to God is in Control (1)

  1. Tom says:

    Don, Don’t forget about my favorite rock group, The Byrds, who scored a #1 hit with Turn, Turn, Turn way back in 1965!

  2. Don, Great post and definitely gives me hope on my journey.

  3. If we could see the big picture, we would not want anything except God’s timing. It’s true. It’s just the waiting that’s tough.

  4. Pingback: God is in Control (1) | The Life Project | franciscansonthemountains

  5. I have always taken that poem to be simply all about life under the sun, nothing to analyse or reconcile that is just the way it is. Yes that song was popular here too but I cannot recall whose we listened to here.

  6. The above is one of the versions produced by the Seekers.

  7. “I say this because these verses are not eight separate points, this passage does not stand on its own in the context of this book; it is one complete thought set up to demonstrate one part of the demonstration of one point in a series of points that make up the complete message of Ecclesiastes”

    I have said in some of my teachings before that there are “basically” two types of thought patterns with people; those who “see the forest for the trees,” and “those who see the trees for the forest.” Meaning, some people see the whole forest, the big picture and don’t always see the individual detail in the trees that make up the forest. Then there are those who see only the detail of the individual trees and miss out on the forest, the BIG picture as a whole.

    In actuality we need both thought patterns and there are a few people who actually can see as a matter of habit both ways of thought! They can see the individual details that make up the whole and yet they can also see the whole picture without losing the significance or importance of the details!

    The Bible is that forest and the verses are the trees and yet you can’t have one without the other. If you rely on JUST the verses, you lose the living Presence that inhabits the Book as a Whole! Without the verses, you lose what makes up the attributes and character of the Living Word Who came to be among us!

    You nailed that very point in this lesson on Ecclesiastes! I believe with my whole heart this is why the Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 2:13-14, “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

    This is why we can read the Word and learn and grow and read it again and gain something even more the next time around! Anyway, again, I’ve rambled enough! Another Great message. Thank you for the “dinner!” God bless, my brother!

    • By the way, the picture is a gif picture, it is done with layers that are animated and in this case, a few leaves falling make a couple different layers and the water rippling is another. That’s a simple explanation. If you have the right software, like Photoshop or Gif Animation, etc. It can be done fairly simply!! 😉 I used to make animated banners when I first started on the internet and made them for my brothers and sisters ministry web sites!

    • Don Merritt says:

      You make an excellent point; thank you!

  8. Debbie L says:

    This was excellent! I love this book (in the Bible)….wow, it is so simple, really. But theologians like to make life so hard by dissecting every verse. I like to look at your meme (is that what your cool picture is?) like I look at God….He makes such pretty pictures (sunsets) and creations (babies) that I love to admire…but I have no idea how He does it! I just enjoy it and have faith….He is God almighty, maker of the heavens and earth…and He is in control!

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