Ecclesiastes 3:1-7

Ecclesiastes 3:1

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:


Now Solomon turns more to the reality of life on earth.  He states that there is a season which means an appointed time for everything that happens on earth and those seasons are appointed for the purpose of God to be fulfilled upon earth.  Each purpose and season has a time frame which means a beginning and an end.  December 6, 1965 the Byrds made a song out of this portion of Ecclesiastes, it was called “Turn, Turn, Turn.”  I hit my teens in the 60s and I must honestly say that even musicians like the Byrds had respect for the Scriptures and sang the song properly.  Many musicians and groups were not afraid to sing spiritual songs even though most were not believers.  Judy Collins sang Amazing Grace.  The Seekers sang “Kumbaya” and “Study War no More.”  Hee-Haw Gospel Quartet sang “Gone Home.”  Peter, Paul and Mary sang “Go Tell it on the Mountain to Let my People Go.”


Ecclesiastes 3:2

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;


Verses 2 to 8 contain 28 specific times which are given in 14 pairs of opposites of each other.  First and foremost is that every human being on earth had to be born except Adam and Eve who were created as adults.  Then there is an appointed time to die for every person on earth.  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:  (Hebrews 9:27)  Death just doesn’t happen as a random thing but it is an appointed time.  People think that even if they commit suicide that they are in control of their fate.  Not so and here is proof of that fallacy:


Two People Attempt Suicide off Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is a 102-storeyed skyscraper located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. It has a roof height of 1,250 feet (381 Meters) and stood as the world’s tallest building for nearly 40 years. December 2, 1979 Elvita Adams attempted suicide but survived the jump when by a 30 mph gust of wind which carried her to the ledge of the 85th floor from where she was rescued by the security guards; she was miraculously alive and landed with a broken hip. Furthermore, On April 25, 2013, a man jumped off from the 86th floor observation deck but landed alive on the 85th floor from where the security guards managed to bring him inside the building where he suffered only minor injuries.


Then there is a time to plant flowers and vegetables and the food needed for life and then when the plants have fully matured they are then harvested.  Planting takes place at different times around the world for different crops such as winter wheat and figs.  Then spiritually speaking the true believer is born of incorruptible seed.  Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.  (1 Peter 1:23)  The believer lives on earth for a period of time and then the earth is harvested on the last day when all the believers are taken to Heaven.  The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.  (Matthew 13:39)


Ecclesiastes 3:3

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;


Then there is a time to kill which can be done by the law, murderers, or being in an incident.  Accident is not a good word to use because there is no such thing as an accident in the kingdom of God.  We are learning that everything is appointed under Heaven and there is nothing random.  Then there is a time to heal the physical wounds and also the spiritual wounds.  But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.  (Matthew 9:12)  Then there is a time to break down or destroy things on the earth such as houses or buildings or natural places using weapons of war or just construction taking down old buildings and building new buildings as one generation goes and another comes.  To build up would be to replace those things the former generations have built.  For example, a bridge may get old or become structurally weak because of all the usage and a new one would have to be built.


Ecclesiastes 3:4

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;


Then there comes a time to weep when we weep for those loved ones or friends that have died or suffered great loss.  Then there is also an appointed time to laugh and be happy such as at a wedding.  I remember in 1974 a good friend of mine had died from Hodgkins disease and we attended his funeral, the next day we attended a wedding.  We went from weeping to laughter within a 24 hour period.  Then we have a time of mourning after the funeral of those who have died or after a national tragedy.  Then there is an appointed time to dance when happiness over something has happened.  Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;  (Psalm 30:11)  Knowing the LORD can take a situation of sadness and turn it into gladness.  When the Ark of the Covenant was finally retrieved and brought back to Jerusalem, David danced before the LORD.  And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.  (2 Samuel 6:14)


Ecclesiastes 3:5

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;


In ancient times servants were dispatched to clear rocks from a proposed site of a vineyard.  Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:  (Matthew 13:5)  The Lord spoke about the word of God falling upon stony places which did not have much earth.  In a physical vineyard, if rocks or stones are not cleared out then the trees will be unable to grow because the roots of the trees would not be able to spread out and gain nourishment for the tree.  Then there is a time to gather the stones together for the purpose of building with them. They could be used to build a rock fence or used to build a house or a foundation as we see in so many ancient ruins.


Then there is a time to embrace which is not only the sensual embracing of a husband and wife but it is also the embracing of family members or friends such as when Esau and Jacob met after a long time they embraced each other.  And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.  (Genesis 33:4)  Then there is an appointed time to refrain from embracing especially when calamitous times or afflictions come and the time for embracing is saved for when the troubling times are finished.  Sometimes the embracing must be curtailed when there is friction among friends or family and it must be resolved.  Sometimes embracing can be phony and that is when discernment is needed like in the Mafia, they give you a kiss on the cheek while embracing you and the next thing you have a bullet in your head. 


Ecclesiastes 3:6

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;


Then there is a time to get and that may include the getting of wisdom, material things, honor or glory for oneself, etc.  The word “get” carries with it the meaning of “search.”  A person may search out the things of this world in hopes of getting goods for themselves.  Then, since no one can keep their gathered possessions beyond this earth, there will be a time when a person loses all their earthly goods.  It may come at the time of their death or it may be by bad choices they have made in their life.  It is not uncommon for a person to have wealth and then lose it by making a series of bad decisions.  Then there comes a time when a person keeps what they have.  The word “keep” carries with it the meaning of “guard or protect.”  A person may attempt to keep whatever they have under tight guard to prevent anyone from stealing it.  Their wealth may be their fortress but the Bible speaks about riches being deceitful.  And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.  (Mark 4:19)  No matter how hard a person guards their wealth, there is going to come a time when they have to give it away not by desire but by necessity.  On  October 28, 1949 Jim Elliott wrote in his journal, for: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."  Many times Christians attempt to amass wealth in this world and have trouble giving it away.  Here Jim Elliott is stating that to give our material goods for the spread of the gospel turns a person from being a wealth-building fool into a wise person for the sake of the gospel.


Ecclesiastes 3:7

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;


Then there comes a time when a garment may be rend or torn.  It was done at a time when grief was high and the rending of the garment revealed great grief in the life of that person.  Then there would come a time that the garment would be sown back together which would mean a healing of the individual.  In Joel there is listed a different type of rending. And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.  (Joel 2:13)  The rending of the garments should be secondary to the rending of the heart.  One of the outward signs of repentance and sorrow was the rending of the clothes.  And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.  (1 Kings 21:27)  Ahab had sincerely repented of his evil ways and his outward sign was the rending or tearing of his clothes which was a sign of contrition.  Here the LORD is not interested in the tearing of the clothes but of the heart.  Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked. (Deuteronomy 10:16)  They were to repent of their sins from the heart and not from outward ceremony.  Once their heart was right with the Lord, then they could turn back to him in truth and not just ceremony.  Once they do that, then the LORD would meet them with mercy and grace forgiving them.


Then there comes time to keep silence.  But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.  (Habakkuk 2:20)  As the true believer waits to hear from the Lord many times we speak constantly and never wait to hear the response from the LORD.  There is also a time in our personal lives when we need to restrain from speaking especially when friends or family members are grieving.  We just need to be there.  Job’s friends waited 7 days before they started speaking and the time of silence gives us the time to assess things.  Once we know the situation then we are able to speak intelligently.  Then we could become part of the solution and not the problem.  There is also a time we need to speak the gospel and a time to listen to others.