God’s time, my time, and getting them on the same page

Day Four - God’s time, my time, and getting them on the same page

Ecclesiastes 3:1 –
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

This verse is the introduction for the poetic form found in Ecclesiastes 3:2-8, which will be the bulk of our study. Take a moment and underline in your Bible or on your page how many instances there are of the word time in verses 2-8, found below.

“a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what 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 seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, 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 for war, and a time for peace.”

28 times in 7 verses! 4x in a verse. Clearly a major message of this passage is time: God’s time, our experience of time, and where the two meet.

First, let’s firm up what we know about God’s time. You don’t have to go very far to get a good overview. Let’s look at verses from the end of Ecclesiastes 3, as well as a couple of other parts of Scripture.

Ecclesiastes 3:11, 14
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end…I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.  That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.

2 Peter 3:8-10
“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.”

Acts 1:6-8
“So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Here are some touch points we learn from these verses:
·      * God’s time is indeed different from our own and it is something that is revealed to us as He sees fit.
·      * God makes everything beautiful in time. (Thank you, Jesus!)
       * The fullness of God’s time is written on our hearts. We yearn for Him and His time and our hearts know that the way we experience time is not all there is. Just as we long to know Him, we long to know and understand His time. In this we live in a duality. We seek His timing in our lives, honoring that He knows better and His time is better, but we also leave this work to Him. What does this balance look like? That’s a good question for discussion!
·       * Everything, absolutely everything happens under God’s counsel.
·       * God is concerned ALWAYS, first and foremost, with the salvation of people. In everything in our lives then, when we consider timing, we can ask ourselves “What is God concerned with here? Where would He have me place my priority?”
·       * The time of God is very much wrapped up in the character of God. We can not understand one without the other. For instance, God is merciful and looks for opportunities to show mercy and grace. We see this in His patience, His seeking “of what has been driven away”, and His sending of the Holy Spirit in Acts, for Divine guidance and comfort.

We want to believe that we have complete control over our lives. We want to believe that if we just manage our time well, then the ducks will all line up in a successful row. In reality, in having free will we have some control, however, we can only work within God’s framework and counsel or chose to strive outside of it, which will end up as a constant battle as we grapple for control…that isn’t ours to have (Luther’s Works, vol. 15).

Even Jesus had to work within God’s time during His incarnation. In John 7:30 we see this reality:
“So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.”

His time, not yet come, but when it did…wow! The earth shook and the curtain ripped in two, salvation come to us, the inner sanctuary forever opened to His children. His time was worth the wait then, and I’m positive it’s worth the wait now.

Precious sisters, let’s step back, and hand it to Him in prayer.

Lord, Your time is so much better than my impatience. You know the hours, and the days, and the minutes of our lives, and of the lives of those we love. Lord, help us look to you always. Help us trust in Your time, in Your seasons, in Your purpose and plans for our lives. We lay whatever concerns we have on our hearts before you. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Discussion questions:
Is time important to you? Are you a punctual person or do you tend toward being a bit late (or really late)?
What areas of life do you most often like to have control?

Heart verse:
I perceived that what God does endures forever
                                                               Ecclesiastes 3:14a

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