Summary: "Life is like a coin. You can spend anyway you want to but you can only spend it once."
A Study of the Book of Ecclesiastes:
Finding Satisfaction In Life
Sermon # 5
The Problem Of Time!”
Solomon (Koheleth) begins with a parallel series of fourteen opposites. The preacher uses a series of contrast to picture the total human experience. The whole point seems to be for man to realize that God, not man controls time. Someone has said, “Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you want to, but you can only spend it once.”
First, Recognize God’s Sovereignty Over Time. (3:1-8)
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:”
Chapter three of Ecclesiastes is the world’s most famous poem on the subject of time. Peter Seeger set it to music in the 1950’s and “The Byrds” made it popular with their hit song “Turn, Turn, Turn” a decade later.
• 1st -Time For Being Born and Dying. (2a)
“A time to be born, And a time to die…”
Solomon describes the boundaries of life “under the sun” first; birth and death. The first thing that we must understand about God’s sovereignty over birth and death they are not human accidents; they are divine appointments, for God is in control. While we may foolishly hasten our death, but we cannot prevent it when our time comes. Scripture reminds us that our days are numbered!
Ps.139:16 “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.”
Ps.31:15 “My times are in Your hand;”
Ps.37:18 “The LORD knows the days of the upright, And their inheritance shall be forever.”
Ps. 90:10-12 “The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knows the power of Your anger? For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath. So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
Even for Christ there was a time to be born (Gal. 4:4) “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.” and a time to die (Rom. 5:6) “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”
• 2nd -Time For Planting and Plucking. (2b)
“A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;”
The people of Palestine were an agricultural people. And they understood that a successful farmer knows that nature works for him only when he works with nature. There is a natural time for planting and a natural time for harvesting. This is also the secret of a successful life – learn God’s principles and cooperate with them!
• 3rd - Time For Killing And Healing. (3a)
“A time to kill, And a time to heal;”
Interestingly the Hebrew word for “kill” is not the word reserved for murder (lahrogh¬). Therefore this probably refers not to war or even self-defense but to sick-ness and disease. Within God’s plan sometimes people get ill and die and other times He grants an extension and the people are healed. Sometimes God permits man to have a part in the healing (doctors and medicine) but other times the healing is entirely a God thing. But truth is that we do not understand why one is taken and another is left.
• 4th -Time For Tearing Down and Building Up. (3b)
“A time to break down, And a time to build up;”
This may bring to mind “urban renewal” and there is a time when the old must be removed in order the new to take place. Not just in the sense of old building but also old ways of doing things, but also of old habits and attitudes.
• 5th- Time For Weeping And Laughing. (4a)
“A time to weep, And a time to laugh;”
There is a time in life for both weeping and rejoicing (laughing) both are a natural part of life. Some Christians wrongly maintain that is somehow wrong for Christians to mourn. But the command recorded by the Apostle Paul in (1 Thess. 4:13) was not that Christian should not mourn, but rather that we should not mourn “as those who have no hope.”
• 6th - Time For Mourning and Dancing. (4b)
“A time to mourn, And a time to dance;”
I think of this in conjunction with worship. There are times when the presence of God will move us to deep mourning for our sins. But there are other times when the spirit of God should move us to exuberant worship as it did David (2 Sam. 6:20) when he returned the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.