Mini Messages

Bite-sized bits of faith to help uplift you throughout your week

The Times and Seasons of His Purpose

Posted by Pastor Dave Johnson on May 16, 2020

The Lord has not left us without giving us the knowledge of HIMSELF: who he is, what he does, his power, his wisdom, his dealing with man, his person, his providence, his sovereignty, together with all his divine attributes. Who God is and how he conducts his will according to his Word is a study which is so fully appreciated by the serious student of the Word. With that STUDY in mind, there is no better time than today for the child of God to take a close theological look into the Word, discovering how the Lord relates to man, as the Sovereign One governing our troubled world TODAY. Biblical theology is the study of God’s Word, giving us a better understanding of his dealings with mankind. So, how important is theology to the Christian, regarding the world in which he lives? It is of utmost importance as seen in its very definition: “the study of God’s Word, the nature of God, and his relation to creation.” So a study of Biblical books, contexts and verses in their contextual settings, as relating to the nature of God and the governing of his creation is of extreme importance for our day, our troublesome day. The Lord has not left us alone without the Biblical knowledge of his purpose for our time. King Solomon records the words: “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). “To everything under heaven” meaning all things, all events, all situations are under his control, together with his purpose in mind. “There is a wonderful characteristic concerning Scripture in that IT interprets ITSELF” (Richard Duoos), especially in its Biblical context, for us to understand the Word under the illumination of the Holy Spirit. Let us therefore look to and INTO select verses in their contexts, that deal with God’s purpose in our time and our season. With the understanding of God at work through his Word, our faith will grow stronger, as we rest upon his Word during the difficult days ahead. Strong faith demands a strong interest in Christ and his Word, as he will be our victory in these challenging days. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). We must all remind ourselves of the following words of that old and meaningful hymn: “Faith is the victory that overcomes the world.” So, let’s hear IT with our hearts, the very Word that can build our faith concerning “everything” in our “season and time” - all according to his “purpose under heaven.”

“To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” His purpose for our time, and our season is certainly encouraging news to the believer. God is not distant from man regarding his purposes drawn from his sovereign rule and reign over the affairs of mankind. The providence of God is designed for his people, namely the protective care and timely preparations of his involvement in the affairs of his people, for all events, as pertaining to his guardianship, foreseeing the future. He declares and arranges every detail in its time, HIS TIME: “To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose (HIS) under (HIS) heaven.” Those words of Solomon are in a response to the context of the previous chapters, summed up in the words: “all is vanity” and “vexation of spirit” (1:2, 17). “Mirth, pleasure, houses, vineyards, pools of water, servants, silver and gold, and all labor under the sun” were described as vanity to the King who thought at one time “I have it all” (chapter 2). So in context, the question remains, “where is Solomon going with this?” Having mentioned the vanity of life, he is now proceeding in the context of the Word to reveal God’s true purpose of life, in times and seasons. So, where is this headed? Well, Scripture is now bringing reasonable, spiritual sense from Solomon’s classroom of wisdom, being taught to the hearers of the Word. Having unveiled the vanities so ill pursued, he then introduces God’s real purpose for life, revealed for our time and season. So there is a season for God at work, a certain time for God’s purpose being fulfilled, ordered by the gracious God of providence. Solomon’s answer of wisdom for the ages is a not a life of bliss or a “happily ever after” pursuit, but a life found IN HIM, lived in the purposeful will of God, inclusive with all its ups and downs (chapter 3). That life going through tough times, and good times is: “a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away.” A life doesn’t have to be without mishaps to be appreciated, fulfilled and enjoyed. What the Word is teaching us is that by virtue of the appointed seasons given by God, a life lived out in the purposeful will and presence of God, that life has meaning. A life of losing and gaining, good times and hard times, good health and viruses, failure and success, employment and losing your job, a life of freedom or being in “bonds” (Philippians 1:13) brings to us a combined experience in which we are learning all about life, and our need for the Lord. In so doing, through “the grace of God that hath appeared to ALL men” (Titus 2:11), we can learn about life and the LIFE GIVER as well, and as Christians we can rejoice as partakers of his grace (Philippians 1:13). So, “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.”

“To everything” meaning the all inclusive ordained events of God, as well as the times and experiences of life listed and written by God in chapter three. In those times and seasons of experiences, the purpose of God can be fulfilled in the hearts of those who “have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11). God’s Word teaches us that all the vain pursuits in life (Ecclesiastes 1 and 2) are futile and empty if we leave God out of the picture. It’s all about welcoming the needful presence of the Lord in our Ecclesiastes chapter three ordained life, our everyday life, our struggles in life, and to “be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee “ (Hebrews 13:5). Be encouraged as you go through those seasons and times of challenge, because they are so beneficial in drawing us nearer to the Lord; whereas a coveted life of ease and vanity will not, only to the contrary. Knowing that “to everything under heaven” is under his sovereign control, and that THE “everything” ordained is purposefully designed to bring us closer to him. To the wilderness wanderers, the wisdom of the Word was given: “The LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8). Going through difficult situations WITH the Lord will find you WITH THE LORD, so simply stated, but yet so profound. So the wisdom of Solomon is for us all; he then goes on to tell us that with his purpose “under heaven” God “hath made everything beautiful in HIS time” (v, 11), even beautifying a troublesome life. So, in this theological, Biblical context, the Lord can take an ugly situation and transform it with his newly created power. So true of a soiled soul, tainted with sin, and then transformed by the Holy Spirit to become a beautiful born again Christian. “Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Spurgeon commenting on this beauty of salvation, writes of the Lord’s “set time when God visits His chosen with the power of grace … in the day of his power. Not only is the gospel heard but our report is believed because the arm of the Lord is revealed. ‘To everything’ according to Solomon, there is a season” (CHS). A season and a time for God to alert the world of his saving grace, to a life surpassing the unfulfilled vanities of life. By grace, then learning the true value of his purposeful life as we all go through “everything under heaven” governed by his control of our times and seasons. When the ugliness of sin around us and in us is exposed by the Word, the Lord’s redemptive purpose is made known through that same Word of God. For those sensitive to Spirit’s call to belief in the Savior, God “hath granted repentance unto life” (Acts 11:8). Then life with all its “everything under heaven” events, including the nitty gritty toils of life, that life becomes beautiful in its time, when God is in the picture. God’s purpose is being fulfilled “under heaven” with sin forgiven for the repentant believer, and with Christ’s presence becoming so fulfilling. You have to be born-again (John 3:3), and Spirit-filled (Ephesians 5:18) to realize and appreciate this marvelous truth. With life in that setting, and in the Biblical context of the Word, it becomes a beautiful time for man “to rejoice … and enjoy the good … it is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 3:13). That’s the context, and that’s the joy given by God in a purposeful life regarding “everything in your time and season” - including the tough days as well as the good times and seasons in which we live. By the way, all times are favorable as we live in the grace-filled, sin forgiven, merciful presence of the Lord. So, “To everything there is a season.”

“To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” The wisdom of Solomon is this: all that which occurs to man, whether comforts or calamities, acclaim or blame, steps forward or setbacks, loss or gain, therein is God’s purpose prevalent as he is dealings with his creation. So there is a time, and a season for the purpose of his plan to be fulfilled. Just as man’s purpose is not fulfilled in pursuing the vanities of life with God left distant, notwithstanding, so is God’s purpose fulfilled as man comes to that realization. Possessions, promotions, prominence, degrees or decrees, cars, houses, and all the futile fancies with leaving God out of the picture, man will not and cannot fill his heart with lasting joy. Only the Lord who designed life can fill the designs of the heart. God’s way is revealed at times in life’s true reality; life is a challenge coming to man in “times and seasons” to awake us from those vain pursuits. Matthew Henry gives us his comments concerning this awakening call out of those unhappy, unfulfilled lives of vanity: “To expect unchanging happiness in a changing world, must end in disappointment.” God’s times and his seasons of wake-up calls, are purposely given to alert mankind to his redemptive role. In the context of Ecclesiastes chapter three, Henry continues, “God’s plan is that God made man for himself. So the time and the season bespeaks of the purpose of God for man to seize the favorable opportunity to be at one with God.” A redemptive purpose of God is in view; God is at work in the receptive hearts of mankind that are open to the Lord, during their Ecclesiastes chapter three times, during which time God’s grace and mercy is extended. During the troublesome, seemingly bad times, the not so welcomed times, the good is also active in time: because “the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance” (Romans 2:4). “A time for every purpose under heaven” speaks of set time “for every purpose of his grace relating to the redemption of his people, the effectual calling for them, and the bringing of them to eternal glory” (John Gill). So in this theological interpretation of Scripture, God is using his Word in Ecclesiastes to bring a lost world to himself, through the determined counsel and will of God. Concerning that fruitless time for man, Solomon had a wake up call with his past experience of life, having gone through the lesson of “all is vanity” characterized by a life distanced from God. He then wisely understands that through those everyday tough times, he is now finding himself in a needful relationship with God, who “hath made everything beautiful in HIS time.” The end result is that the purpose of God is being fulfilled, all ordered by God in time. God finds man, and then man finds God and his fulfillment in life during the time of “weeping and the time of laughing, the time of keeping and a time of casting away.” Tough times, difficult times together with the good times and every day times are used of God for his purposes, to then send the times beautiful with the theology of God now learned. “To everything there is a season.”

“To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” So there is a time and a season for the purpose of God to take its “front and center” position before the receptive hearts of fallen man. When the sinful effects of fallen man bear heavy on their struggling soul: “The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11). The need alerts the needy to the Need Filler. “I have a great need for Christ, and I have Christ for my great need” (Charles Hadden Spurgeon). So, through it all, “think it not hard if you get not your own will, nor your delights in life; God will have you to rejoice in nothing but himself” (Samuel Rutherford). God’s wisdom is this, don’t pursue a life distant from him, allow HIS LIFE to pursue you, and find your interests in a life shared and approved by HIM. The question remains: “What would Jesus do?” The answer is this, in its certainty: HIS HOLY SPIRIT’S life in you, and his Word loved by you will reveal that interest favorable to Jesus and the Father. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15). So, “How’s your Christianity, is it HIS or is it JUST YOURS?” The Word of God is SO telling in its veracity concerning true belief. “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:39). It’s all about Biblical salvation and a life of discipleship that brings the “finding” of that life, because HE FINDS you first with his life, complemented with a life of fulfilled joy. Only HIS LIFE in you brings that rejoicing: “Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound, they shall walk O LORD in the light of thy countenance, in thy name they shall rejoice all the day” (Psalm 89:15-16). So, what’s the end of the Solomon story, is there a happy, joyous ending? Well, he told us what life is NOT all about, what is empty and vain (chapters 1 & 2), followed by his instruction of the real meaning of life, that shows us our need for the Lord (chapter 3), and then he caps it all off with this epilogue: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter (meaning: the end lesson learned after all has been said and heard): fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). When you fall in love with the Word of his will, HIS joy in life will be yours when realizing the house, the job, the bank account, the degrees of higher learning, the titles before and after the name, the social standing (vanity), the promotion, the “seeming” prominence and possessions just won’t DO IT. The Lord shows us that “a man’s life consists not in the abundance of things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15). Life consists of LIFE IN HIM, possessed by HIM, and His life possessed by you: “He that hath the Son, HATH LIFE” (I John 5:12), and life “more abundantly” (John 10:10). The Lord uses times and seasons of loss and HIS GAIN, showing us our need for HIM, and that the answer to life is in HIM. If you loose it all and still have him, you have it all: “For ALL things are yours and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s” (I Corinthians 3:21, 23). Then and there may God be heard speaking in your time and in your season of heart, concerning his purpose. There needs to be a time and season when God’s truth is audible to the hearing ear of his creation. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10), and “speak, LORD, for thy servant heareth” (I Samuel 3:9). So welcome God’s “everything under heaven” with all things under his sovereign control and purpose, because genuine life awaits you. With life in his Word; there will be LIFE no matter what circumstance remain before you, no matter what seasons or times have come to you. Just “walk in all the ways which the LORD hath commanded you, that ye may LIVE, and that it may be well with you” (Deuteronomy 5;33). Why? The reason is Biblically and theologically clear as to the nature of God and his dealing with his creation: “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.”