Verse of the Day Devotion: Ecclesiastes 3:1
“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1
The traditional belief is that this book was written by Solomon. According to Temper Longman III in his commentary on Ecclesiastes, this is an old and repentant Solomon looking back over his life. What Solomon is saying in this verse is that everything in life has an appointed time. Nothing happens outside of these appointed times. Now, it is important to understand that as we look at the following verses, these are descriptive statements of happenings, and not moral statements. For example, Solomon is not saying there is a time for man to kill someone, only there is a time when killing takes place.
He gives a list of appointed happenings. “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. These are things that happen under the heaven, in other words, here on earth. Again, these are not moral statements, but descriptive. And notice that there are opposites shown here as well. There are times for birth and times for death; the beginning and the end of life. A time to kill such as in war, and a time to heal. To laugh, and to weep. To mourn, and to rejoice in dancing. To gather stones, and to throw stones. To embrace, and not to embrace. To search, and to give up assuming loss. To keep things, and to throw away things. Time to tear apart and a time to put together. To speak and keep silent. A time to love and hate, to wage war and bring about peace.
This list encompasses most of what happens in our lives. These things happen, whether we like them or not. We may not want to die or see someone else die, but it will happen. There are time when people will embrace us, and there are times when they will not. We must understand these things happen in an imperfect world and though we may mourn it’s happening, that does not stop it from occurring.
Since we know these things will occur, what should be our response to all this? “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13-14. We cannot change these things. Good and bad things will happen, and we need to accept this as reality. However, knowing God is in control, we can trust and fear Him, knowing that He will be with us throughout and will guide us in the way we need to go. Those who are saved and keep His commandments will be blessed and protected, those who do not will face judgment. In this truth we can rest and be contented and at peace.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.