Bible Poetry: Discipleship in Ecclesiastes 3

Ecclesiastes, over all, is filled with poetry and wisdom. But chapter 3 is one of the more familiar scriptures we hear quoted often. But have we really thought about what it means to us as disciples and what we can teach our children about God through this beautiful scripture?

There is a right time for everything, and everything on earth will happen at the right time.

There is a time to be born
    and a time to die.
There is a time to plant
    and a time to pull up plants.
There is a time to kill
    and a time to heal.
There is a time to destroy
    and a time to build.
There is a time to cry
    and a time to laugh.
There is a time to be sad
    and a time to dance with joy.
There is a time to throw weapons down
    and a time to pick them up.
There is a time to hug someone
    and a time to stop holding so tightly.
There is a time to look for something
    and a time to consider it lost.
There is a time to keep things
    and a time to throw things away.
There is a time to tear cloth
    and a time to sew it.
There is a time to be silent
    and a time to speak.
There is a time to love
    and a time to hate.
There is a time for war
    and a time for peace.

Do people really gain anything from their hard work? I saw all the hard work God gave us to do. God gave us the ability to think about his world, but we can never completely understand everything he does. And yet, he does everything at just the right time.

(Ecclesiastes 3:1-11, ERV)

This passage uses contrast or opposites to add the poetic feel to it. The couplets often use repetitive word choices in describing the contrasts. It is very lyrical and beautiful.

Spiritually it is also quite beautiful. The message is clear: God’s timing is at work making life beautiful at just the right time. Nothing is wasted that we experience. It is all working to help us become more Christlike, and our circumstances, in the hands of God, draw us toward Him.

I also love these verses because we can get so caught up in life, thinking about good days and bad days, and striving for the good and avoiding the painful. But these verses just make me want to take a deep breath and relax. God is in control. God’s plan is at work in us and around us. And all we’re seeking and hoping for is in His hands, and His plan will be accomplished in His timing.

This poem feels like a word of encouragement from our Heavenly Father letting us know that life has ups and downs, but He is still in control.

Verse 11 in the New Living Translation says, “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.

We are not mere animals. We are created in God’s image and long for eternity and relationship with God. Even when we aren’t conscious of it, we are longing for God. There is so much we don’t understand about God and His ways. But we can trust Him and His plan completely.

How wonderful! And what a wonderful reality to help our children grasp. With this knowledge comes hope and peace. Life doesn’t have to overwhelm us because, as the saying goes, I may not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future.

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