Sunday, January 3, 2016
Jan. 3rd, 2016 Ecclesiastes 3:11-15
11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.
13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.
14 And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him.
15 What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.
From the very first verse you'll find yourself stripped of your control today. If God makes things beautiful in its own time... well what things? Ecclesiastes has just told us what things in the prior verses... There is a time for sorrow, for pain, for laughter and joy... Each THING has been ordained by God for you to go through at that time.
Or put it this way: "For each of these God has appointed its time or season, and in its season each is good. But man does not recognise this; for God has put in his heart an expectation and longing for abiding continuance of the same, and so he fails to understand the work which God does in the world."
We find that all of human kind have 'eternity' in our hearts. What is the biggest argument of our day? Is there a God or not? Is there a creator or not? Ultimately it is an argument of eternity. If we see the world and all its sufferings only, and miss the beauty and the joy that comes as well into this world, then we miss the point. We focus on one to the detriment of the other. Suffering overwhelms our joy. Pain excludes us of our peace.
Yet we don't have a clue what God is doing. We can't see the puzzle. only the piece in our hands. It might be a jagged and rough piece and we are upset that God has us with it at this moment... so we give up... and miss the beautiful piece He had prepared for you next.
Notice then in vs. 14. Enjoy life. This doesn't mean we fall in love with our money, or fall in love with the happiness that we feel when we are extravagant. It means that if you are blessed with funds, or blessed with possessions, or blessed with something completely different... see them as GIFTS from God and they will NEVER control you. But even knowledge can corrupt if seen as of ourselves and our own hard work... Even insight can be prideful if seen as of our own devising and not given to us by God.
The Gift is not greater than the GIVER!
The last two verses can really be a struggle. We love our Dr. Who stories, or our Voyagers, or our Sliders (All Sci-Fi shows for those who don't know). In these we watch as time can be changed, history re-written, futures manipulated. Yet... they can't be. God has it written out.
OKAY WAIT.. does that mean no matter what I do I am stuck.... Predestined as you will... where is my Free Will?
Picture it this way: God is not controlled by Time. He invented time! So to Him our mortal timeline was ended when it was created.
He can see simultaneously the beginning and the end. This is how the prophecies of the Messiah of Jesus could be given thousands of years earlier with clarity and details. He KNOWS what choices we will make before we made them. He watches as we make the same mistakes over and over again, but rejoices when we come back to Him. He is a creator who wants relationships with his creations.
The promise, the joy, in this is that God has a plan! Nothing can shake His plan! AND YOU ARE APART OF THAT PLAN! In Holy Fear we worship our God. He is not our friend, but a parent who is friendly. He is not just love, but also loving justice.
HE has placed the longing for Him and for Eternity into the hearts of all men. Will you help to share your love of Him with others? Connect them to the only one who can fill the hole in their heart that they seek to fill will unhealthy relationships, drugs, alcohol, and many other imitations of God.