“God Made Everything Beautiful in Its Time”

In the fullness of time, God will unite all things in heaven and on earth in Christ, and that will be the most beautiful and perfect thing to behold in eternity!

Ecclesiastes by Gustave Doré (1866)
Ecclesiastes by Gustave Doré (1866)

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 (text); Ephesians 1:3-10
January 2, 2011

Introduction

“Time”: one of the most important words today. Every creature and everything in creation is time-dependent. In the world’s most developed countries, “time is of the essence.” But even in less-developed countries like the Philippines, time is also essential. In the Philippines, people refer to “Filipino time,” signifying that time is also important, although it points to the culture of always being late for events and appointments. Sociocultural experts classify cultures into two main types: time-oriented and people-oriented. Filipino culture, for example, places much emphasis on people and relationships and not on time, and that’s why they’re always late—not for work—but especially for church.

We know that the world operates by time from the abundance of cliches and idioms about time: “a matter of time,” “a race against time,” “Do you have the time?” “the time of my life,” “kill time,” “borrowed time,” “quality time.” Children have “Once upon a time” and “time out.” Prisoners “do time” and every New Year we say “time flies,” as if time is a bird.

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Before God created the heavens and the earth, there was no such thing as “time.” There was eternity: a concept that is so hard to conceive for the finite minds of finite creatures. Ephesians 1:3-10 says that from eternity past, God predestined those people whom he will save. And after he created the world, God began counting days and nights, although on the first three days, we don’t know how he counted time since the sun, moon and stars were not even created yet. No one knows how “morning” and “evening” looked like during those first three days.

We know that time is of the essence for God. The Preacher—the one who wrote Ecclesiastes, assumed by most to be King Solomon—tells us, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” People who are not Christians say that life is a cycle and “history repeats itself,” implying that the world operates on its own without a purpose. “It just so happened,” fatalists and even deists would say. In the book of Esther, there are several places where it would say, “Now it happened,” and so they seem to be random events. But what the Book of Esther points out is that behind all of these “coincidences” was God sovereignly controlling all events in the world.

The Preacher sees God’s controlling hand over the world’s affairs. Because everything that happens is under God’s sovereign control, he sees three things beautiful in its time and with a purpose: Life’s Events, Man’s Work, and God’s Works.

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