Planning Life in Light of Eternity (A Bible Study on Ecclesiastes 3:1-9)
Ecclesiastes is a book designed to provoke emotion and get us thinking. The preacher – probably Solomon – wrote this to make sense of a good God in a broken and dark world. In this section, he ponders what it means to number our days wisely.
You can find the full show notes at https://www.lifeaudio.com/how-to-study-the-bible/
Bible Reading Tip: When we read the bible, we should look for the tone and emotion of the author, as well as the words and structure. In wisdom literature, like Ecclesiastes, we need to see the poetic, literary form that the wisdom is held in.
Part 1: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 - Understanding Time
Turn, turn, turn by The Byrds - they took these words from Ecclesiastes and made it into a hit song and anthem of a volatile age (1965).
Our time is short, full of ups and downs, full of work, and also time to rest. There are times when things are falling apart, and when things are coming together.
What would it look like to open your hands and heart and say, “I want to live fully in the day I have”?
What season are you in? Is there room for both sides of what is presented here? Joy, and also grief? Work, but also rest? Tearing down, but also building up? We want to avoid lopsided living.
Pray to understand what season your loved ones are in as well. Ask God to give you discernment to see and understand where loved ones are, and give them grace and compassion for the place they are in.
Part 2: Ecclesiastes 3:9-15 – Our Experience of Time, God’s Experience of Time
“What do workers gain from their toil?” [cf: Genesis 1-3] – we’re trying to figure out work, with knowledge of good and evil, in a way that we can’t fully comprehend. But God knows the whole story.
God knows all and is above and beyond time, and therefore is the one we can trust. Rightly numbering our days and seasons leads to a content and peaceful human life.
Allow seasons to come. Trust that our God is good and sovereign. He knows what is happening in your life and therefore, you can trust him. We have to come to a settled acceptance that there are things God sees and knows that we ourselves will never understand.
We want to control things. But we must cede control. This is how we find freedom. Cf: Psalm 90:12: Teach us to number our days, so that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
God, who knows all and is beyond time, is the one we can trust. Rightly numbering our days and seasons leads to a content and peaceful human life.
“I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.”
What time are you in? What would it look like to live rightly just today? And then trust the rest of your days to the Lord who loves you, knows you, and who already sees how everything is playing out.
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Nicole has spent twenty years serving the local church, first in student ministry (where she’s never lost her love of a great group game) and then leading start-ups of all kinds, from leadership development to capital campaigns. She now teaches and consults with churches and ministries to strengthen their stories and cut through confusion to discover the next right steps for success.