INTERESTING FACTS : James Manning, MEMBER OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS; PRESIDENT OF BROWN UNIVERSITY
"I rejoice that the religion of Jesus prevails in your parts; I can tell you the same agreeable news from this quarter. Yesterday I returned from Piscataway in East Jersey, where was held a Baptist annual meeting (I think the largest I ever saw) but much more remarkable still for the Divine influences which God was pleased to grant. Fifteen were baptized; a number during the three days professed to experience a change of heart. Christians were remarkably quickened; multitudes appeared."
Daily Reading : ECCLESIASTES 1 - 4
TEXT : Eccl 2:17 Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit. 2:18 Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me. Ecc 3:1 To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 3:11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
THEME : WISDOM
INTRODUCTION TO ECCLESIASTES 3 by John GIll
"The general design of this chapter is to confirm what is before observed, the vanity and inconstancy of all things; the frailty of man, and changes respecting him; his fruitless toil and labour in all his works; that it is best to be content with present things, and cheerful in them, and thankful for them; that all comes from the hand of God; that such good men, who have not at present that joy that others have, may have it, since there is a time for it; and that sinners should not please themselves with riches gathered by them, since they may be soon taken from them, for there is a time for everything, Ecc_3:1; of which there is an induction of particulars, Ecc_3:2; so that though every thing is certain with God, nothing is certain with men, nor to be depended on, nor can happiness be placed therein; there is no striving against the providence of God, nor altering the course of things; the labour of man is unprofitable, and his travail affliction and vexation, Ecc_3:9; and though all God's works are beautiful in their season, they are unsearchable to man, Ecc_3:11; wherefore it is best cheerfully to enjoy the present good things of life, Ecc_3:12; and be content; for the will and ways and works of God are unalterable, permanent, and perfect, Ecc_3:14; and though wicked men may abuse the power reposed in them, and pervert public justice, they will be called to an account for it in the general judgment, for which there is a time set, Ecc_3:16; and yet, such is the stupidity of the generality of men, that they have no more sense of death and judgment than the brutes, and live and die like them, Ecc_3:18; wherefore it is best of all to make a right use of power and riches, or what God has given to men, for their own good and that of others, since they know not what shall be after them, Ecc_3:22." [John Gill]
Solomon, one of the wisest men who ever lived, is also one of the most foolish. He had everything when his relationship with God was intact. Then, he turned from the LORD and lived a life of pure folly. This included marriage to one thousand women, unspeakable idolatry that included the sacrifice of infants, and other horrible practices. In all, he is a broken, disillusioned man at the end of his life, Yet, he pens for you under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, words of wisdom in the Book of Ecclesiastes. In all, Ecclesiastes is a Book of wisdom like Proverbs [most of which Solomon wrote - by the way] and demonstrates from one who once lived with God and then against God, that living for God is the only way to live. This is the purpose of the Book. Thus, we look at Proverbs 2:17 where Solomon hates his life, or the life he has made for himself.
"What the business was which he made trial of; it was business under the sun (Ecc_2:17-20), about the things of this world, sublunary things, the riches, honours, and pleasures of this present time; it was the business of a king. There is business above the sun, perpetual business, which is perpetual blessedness; what we do in conformity to that business (doing God's will as it is done in heaven) and in pursuance of that blessedness, will turn to a good account; we shall have no reason to hate that labour, nor to despair of it. But it is labour under the sun, labour for the meat that perishes (Joh_6:27; Isa_55:2), that Solomon here speaks of with so little satisfaction. It was the better sort of business, not that of the hewers of wood and drawers of water (it is not so strange if men hate all that labour), but it was in wisdom, and knowledge, and equity, Ecc_2:21. It was rational business, which related to the government of his kingdom and the advancement of its interests. It was labour managed by the dictates of wisdom, of natural and acquired knowledge, and the directions of justice. It was labour at the council-board and in the courts of justice. It was labour wherein he showed himself wise (Ecc_2:19), which as much excels the labour wherein men only show themselves strong as the endowments of the mind, by which we are allied to angels, do those of the body, which we have in common with the brutes. That which many people have in their eye more than any thing else, in the prosecution of their worldly business, is to show themselves wise, to get the reputation of ingenious men and men of sense and application.
II. His falling out with this business. He soon grew weary of it. 1. He hated all his labour, because he did not meet with that satisfaction in which he expected. After he had had his fine houses, and gardens, and water-works, awhile, he began to nauseate them, and look upon them with contempt, as children, who are eager for a toy and fond of it at first, but, when they have played with it awhile, are weary of it, and throw it away, and must have another. This expresses not a gracious hatred of these things, which is our duty, to love them less than God and religion (Luk_14:26), nor a sinful hatred of them, which is our folly, to be weary of the place God has assigned us and the work of it, but a natural hatred of them, arising from a surfeit upon them and a sense of disappointment in them." [Matthew Henry]
TRUTH FOR TODAY : "THERE IS A TIME FOR EVERYTHING!"
Of all the chapters in the Bible that imparts impeccable wisdom, Eccl. Chapter 3 is one of them. Here, the LORD tells us through Solomon everything in life has an appointed time and a purpose. Chapter 3 is a part of the Bible every Christian should become throughly acquainted with because it teaches us that life has many facets, many changes and extremes, many diverse experiences yet, in everyone there is an appointed time for them and a purpose. For the believer who understands these 11 verses, there is a fountain of confidence and security even in the worst of times. You will learn that no matter what you are presently experiencing, or will experience in the future, it all works for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to "His" purpose - not yours. [Rom_8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.]
"To every thing there is a season,.... A set determined time, when everything shall come into being, how long it shall continue, and in what circumstances; all things that have been, are, or shall be, were foreordained by God, and he has determined the times before appointed for their being, duration, and end; which times and seasons he has in his own power: there was a determined time for the whole universe, and for all persons and things in it; a settled fixed moment for the world to come into being; for it did not exist from everlasting, nor of itself, nor was formed by the fortuitous concourse of atoms, but by the wisdom and power of God; nor could it exist sooner or later than it did; it appeared when it was the will of God it should; in the beginning he created it, and he has fixed the time of its duration and end; for it shall not continue always, but have an end, which when it will be, he only knows: so there is a determined time for the rise, height, and declension of states and kingdoms in it; as of lesser ones, so of the four great monarchies; and for all the distinct periods and ages of the world; and for each of the seasons of the year throughout all ages; for the state of the church in it, whether in suffering or flourishing circumstances; for the treading down of the holy city; for the prophesying, slaying, and rising of the witnesses; for the reign and ruin of antichrist; for the reign of Christ on earth, and for his second coming to judgment, though of that day and hour knows no man: and as there is a set time in the counsels and providence of God for these more important events, so for every thing of a lesser nature;
and a time to every purpose under the heaven; to every purpose of man that is carried into execution; for some are not, they are superseded by the counsel of God; some obstruction or another is thrown in the way of them, so that they cannot take place; God withdraws men from them by affliction or death, when their purposes are broken; or by some other way; and what are executed he appoints a time for them, and overrules them to answer some ends of his own; for things the most contingent, free, and voluntary, fall under the direction and providence of God. And there is a time for every purpose of his own; all things done in the world are according to his purposes, which are within himself wisely formed, and are eternal and unfrustrable; and there is a time fixed for the execution of them, for every purpose respecting all natural and civil things in providence; and for every purpose of his grace, relating to the redemption of his people, the effectual calling of them, and the bringing them to eternal glory; which are the things that God wills, that he takes delight and pleasure in, as the word (e) signifies. The Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions render it, "to everything under the heaven there is a time"; and Jarchi observes that in the Misnic language the word used so signifies. The Targum is, "to every man a time shall come, and a season to every business under heaven.'' [John Gill]
You live in a world of change. As humans, we resist change. Thus, you learn to enjoy your life the way you design it or get used to it. When change comes, you have to adjust. It is inconvenient. It can be painful. Even with blessings it means change. Although you prefer good times to bad, in all, you and I are reluctant to have changes made in life. Yet, you will be wise if you understand - "there is a time for everything!" Truly, this is wisdom!
"The scope of these verses is to show, 1. That we live in a world of changes, that the several events of time, and conditions of human life, are vastly different from one another, and yet occur promiscuously, and we are continually passing and repassing between them, as in the revolutions of every day and every year. In the wheel of nature (Jam_3:6) sometimes one spoke is uppermost and by and by the contrary; there is a constant ebbing and flowing, waxing and waning; from one extreme to the other does the fashion of this world change, ever did, and ever will. 2. That every change concerning us, with the time and season of it, is unalterably fixed and determined by a supreme power; and we must take things as they come, for it is not in our power to change what is appointed for us. And this comes in here as a reason why, when we are in prosperity, we should by easy, and yet not secure - not to be secure because we live in a world of changes and therefore have no reason to say, Tomorrow shall be as this day (the lowest valleys join to the highest mountains), and yet to be easy, and, as he had advised (Ecc_2:24), to enjoy the good of our labour, in a humble dependence upon God and his providence, neither lifted up with hopes, nor cast down with fears, but with evenness of mind expecting every event. Here we have,
I. A general proposition laid down: To every thing there is a season, Ecc_3:1. 1. Those things which seem most contrary the one to the other will, in the revolution of affairs, each take their turn and come into play. The day will give place to the night and the night again to the day. Is it summer? It will be winter. Is it winter? Stay a while, and it will be summer. Every purpose has its time. The clearest sky will be clouded, Post gaudia luctus - Joy succeeds sorrow; and the most clouded sky will clear up, Post nubila Phoebus - The sun will burst from behind the cloud. 2. Those things which to us seem most casual and contingent are, in the counsel and foreknowledge of God, punctually determined, and the very hour of them is fixed, and can neither be anticipated nor adjourned a moment." [Matthew Henry]