Time for Everything
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 became well known overnight when The Byrds released Turn! Turn! Turn! in 1965.
This catalog of life’s activities consists of 14 “antithetical” couplets – statements that present one idea followed by a contrasting opposite.
In the natural order of life, God has appointed opportune times for every activity. On the surface, this passage teaches that we must be ready to act wisely at each occasion. We can expect both positive and negative life events.
In light of the complete chapter, it’s a testimony to God’s sovereign providence. God sets events in motion, and allows men to respond (Ecclesiastes 3:18).
Ecclesiastes 3 Outline
Time for everything
Man's God-given task
To seek the unfathomable
Enjoy your work
Injustice under the sun
God will judge the unjust.
Man's lot in life
This enigmatic verse declares God’s unique imprint on creation and on man. The beauty of creation attests to God (Job 12:7-9, Psalm 19:1-6). God’s attributes are revealed through nature (Romans 1:19-20).
God’s works are harmonious, and nature is timed to reveal beauty. The turning of autumn leaves, the blooming of flowers, and the emergence of butterflies from cocoons are a few examples of God’s perfect timing. By comparison, the beauties of man’s works are left wanting.
God has imprinted a sense of eternity on our hearts. Time confines us. We remember the past and anticipate the future. Restricted to operating in the present, we yearn for more. Our sense of immortality makes us thirst for a future with God (2 Corinthians 5:1-5).