I would suspect that you have at one time or other heard the parable of the weaver. As he wove his rug, he weaved into it many colors, some ugly and dark, even using blacks and grays, some colors bright and startling, some soft and soothing. To the person observing his work for only a short period of time, his choice of colors often seemed all wrong. To the person observing his work for a longer period of time, something of the reason for his choice of colors began to be apparent. But it was not until the entire weaving was finished that the beauty of all the blending of colors became obvious so that the viewer understood the choice of colors.
That’s the way it is also in our lives. God puts into our lives a blend of the dark and the light and the bright: difficult days that we can hardly make it through and also joyful days when everything seems right; tasks that are painful to carry out and other tasks that are delightful. We cannot know on earth the purposes that He has in it all, yet still, little by little, we begin to see faintly the reasons for the difficulties, seeing that the dark colors make the bright colors all the more beautiful. And…oh, wonderful hope of the Christian!…someday He will in heaven show us the whole picture and we will see His perfect plan and wisdom in it all. “That will be glory, be glory for me!”
This is also the underlying concept in the beautiful section of Ecclesiastes which we study today and next time, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.
Let’s review briefly how Chapter 3 fits in our outline of the whole book so far. The outline looks like this:
Chapter 1: Solomon’s Introduction of Theme & Purpose.
Chapters 2-3: Solomon’s Search for Meaning in Labor.
I. The Search Itself (2:1-10).
II. The Conclusion Apart from God (2:11-23).
III. The Conclusion of Faith in God (2:24-3:22).
A. (2:24-26) Only God makes possible any joy in labor.
B. (3:1-15) God controls everything to be beautiful in its time.
C. (3:16-22) God will judge all arguments against this.
So, today we study the middle of these three sections of faith’s response to meaning in labor and we begin to see that God has created time and controls it also so that all that happens is beautiful in its time, under His plan. We must see also that within this plan for time we have our own responsibility to use time in its God-ordained way.
How beautiful is the doctrine of God’s sovereignty! If you’ve never read Pink’s book on the Sovereignty of God, I would highly recommend it to you. The longer a Christian lives, the more precious this truth becomes to him. Nothing, not one thing, happens by chance! All things are under the plan and control of our all-wise Father! God controls each moment of time! He has ordained every ebb and flow of events, everything that occurs in history as well as in our individual lives! He has a plan, a purpose, a goal for…yes, for my life, too!
While we cannot know this plan now on earth, and while sometimes it must seem to us that God is surely making a mistake here and there, we yet labor in the trust that God’s plan and control really do exist. This trust gives us peace and contentment. We labor also obeying whatever God does reveal to us so that in each moment of time we are seeking to use the time wisely, as God wills it to be used.
Those ideas are the thoughts underlying Ecclesiastes 3:1-15. I want next to go through these verses one by one but, even doing this briefly; it will make this letter far too long. So, for today I will just encourage you to read them to yourself, review them if you’ve ever memorized them before, and rest in their truth. Next time I will go through verses 1-8 verse by verse, quite briefly, and then the next letter I will go through verses 8-15 verse by verse.
May God bless you with the conviction that He truly does control all time and its events for your blessing in Christ.
1. How does Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 fit into the overall outline of Ecclesiastes?
2. What does the parable of the weaver have to do with Ecclesiastes 3:1-8?
3. Does God predestine and control everything that happens, even the “evil” things—or only the “good” things? (Define the words “evil” and “good”).
4. Do you think these verses refer solely to God’s eternal predestination and control of all things or do they also refer to our proper decision-making within time?