Good Timing

May 31, 2012 at 11:27 am | Posted in Ecclesiastes | 6 Comments
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This passage from Ecclesiastes is one of the most well-known passages in the Bible. A group called The Byrds even used it in a hit song.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Does the Bible really sanction “a time to kill?” Some examples would be just warfare, a husband defending his wife, a parent defending his or her children, and self-defense.

There is “a time to heal” physically and emotionally. Forgiveness is the remedy for healing broken relationships.

What is the “time to break down?” We are supposed to be breaking down the enemy’s strong holds, even as God’s Spirit breaks our own pride.

There is “a time to build up” and this might happen when you edify your fellow Sunday School members, when you minister in the love of Christ, when you offer encouragement to someone who is working hard, when we engage in grief counseling or marriage counseling, just to name a few.

We know there is “a time to weep.” Sometimes we weep for joy, sometimes for grief. Sometimes we weep in repentance over sin. And there is “a time to laugh.” (When your Sunday School teacher tells a joke, go ahead and laugh even if it’s a lame joke – it will make him feel better.)

There is “a time to cast away stones.” This can be literal – as in the clearing of land for farming or building – or it can be figurative. We “cast away the stones” we were about to use to throw at someone in condemnation, and instead decide to show grace and mercy. There is “a time to gather stones together” when we are building, or, at times, we participate in the government-sanctioned execution of justice.

There is “a time to embrace:” Married couples should do this a lot! And there is “a time to refrain from embracing:” There should not be any romantic or sexual embracing outside of marriage!

There is “a time to get” (payday), and “a time to lose” (bill paying day).

There is “a time to keep” (saving something valuable), and “a time to cast away” (hoarding).

Sometimes it is “time to rend:” to tear something apart. Sometimes it is “time to sew:” to mend that which has been torn.

All those things are from God – but they are to be done in His time and for His purpose.

I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.

Ecclesiates 3:17

Up for the Count

July 27, 2009 at 12:01 pm | Posted in Biblical Violence | 2 Comments
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When a boxer is badly beaten, knocked down by his opponent, and cannot get up, the referee counts to ten, and the fight is over. This is the idea behind the common expression we use for someone who appears to be defeated, when we say he is “down for the count.”

The Bible, however, says that Christians – even when the powerful punches of life are landing relentlessly – are not “counted out.” Instead, they are counted “up” (happy) if they endure.

Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

James 5:11

“But wait,” says the skeptic, “I thought Christians were supposed to claim their blessings by faith… Isn’t suffering a sign of faithlessness for a believer?” Dear friend, be not deceived. Faith is not blindly grabbing for rewards. True faith is obeying the Lord in spite of consequences, and enduring – like Job did – by depending on His grace, His time, and His Word.

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