God's Word and work establish the meaning of history, and He brings it to an ordained conclusion.
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:1-15
- God governs time and all past and future things.
- This passage is descriptive of the way God orders all things, not prescriptive for human ethics.
- The God of Scripture, not man, is in charge of history.
- Time is an enigma. It is difficult to comprehend the idea of the passage of time, for we are finite creatures.
- We can never fully comprehend God in His own being, as He is (cf. Deut. 29:29). For the Christian, then, the starting point of all knowledge is God's self-revelation.
- For this reason we must reject any kind of open theism, which teaches that God does not exercise complete control over all things, leaving future events "open” to the choices of human beings.
- All facts are created by, and are therefore dependent upon, God.
- We are all haunted by our mortality, but the Christian can be encouraged to know that our lives are wrapped up in the life of the eternal, unchanging God.
- God has determined the meaning and purpose of all events, and has ordained progress in history.
- God's Word and work establish the meaning of history, and He brings it to an ordained conclusion.
- The humanistic urge to create an ideal world is an act of rebellion against time and history as God has ordained it. This has been attempted individually (existentialism) or collectively (Marxism).
- The common response to things outside of our control is to worry, which changes nothing, and which Christ exhorts us against (Matt. 6:25).
- We know that God is in control in all the seasons of life.
- God expresses His covenant faithfulness to us in Ecc. 3:11: “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”
- Our lives have meaning because they are defined in light of eternity.
- We are exhorted to rejoice in everything God has given us. Scripture is often very straightforward and ordinary compared to pagan philosophies (Ecc. 3:12-13).
- There is no simple rule of thumb that tells us how to act wisely in every circumstance, therefore our lives and work go through seasons of building and tearing down, gathering and scattering.
- Regardless of what time it is in our life, we learn to adjust to it because God is in it with us, and all our times therefore have a beauty and a purpose (cf. Phil. 4:13; Rom. 8:38-39).
- Many people are miserable because they look at their time without accounting for God. They do not live, but only hope to live.
- Time is a gift from God, who endows it with significance in spite of decay and death.
- By the grace of God, we are able to transform and redeem the time given to us (Eph. 5:16).
- What is time and why is it so hard to define?
- What is the biblical alternative to worrying?
- What does it mean to wisely number our days (Psalm 90:12)?
- What then is the Christian’s attitude towards death?
- What are some of the implications of God’s total control over history?
- What does it mean to redeem the time that God gives us?