Explore the Bible Study: What Time is It?

8:23 PM

 

Would you rather have a greater quality of time or quantity of time? Over the past year, many have come to realize how precious time is and have sought to adjust time spent on various activities. Some have sought to experience all they could because time seemed to be slipping away. Others tried to slow time down by changing their routines and becoming less busy. The Explore the Bible Study: What Time is It? will examine Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 and help understand why you should trust God with your time.

When one examines Ecclesiastes 3, it will become evident that time is a precious gift from God. Our ability to measure time as we know it was given to us by God so that we could understand Him and His work more fully. Understanding God’s perspective on time should give one peace and freedom. 

We will examine what God taught Solomon (the Teacher) regarding His (God’s) perspective on time. The chapter includes a very familiar poem that has been expressed in song and used in other contexts. The poem outlines God’s control over and His purpose for time. Recognizing that God is control of time should give you wisdom regarding how to view and use your time wisely.

There Will Be Seasons of Life - Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

I'm sure you are familiar with the song, Turn, Turn, Turn, by the Birds. It is a secular song based on these verses. Perhaps listening to the song in this video will help you understand the seasons of life God has given us.

It’s obvious that seasons in life are both cyclical and fleeting. We should remember that Solomon’s list doesn’t comment on whether these occasions are good or bad. His purpose was to describe life as we experience it and to remind us that we have very little control over how or when these will take place. What we can do is learn how we should respond to these seasons.

One cannot be happy if he has not come to grips with the reality that we are mortal and governed by time. But there is more to time we should understand.

Time is a Gift From God - Ecclesiastes 3:9-13

In the context of time, Solomon reminds us in Ecclesiastes 3:9-10 that we are workers going through different seasons of work. It is a task God has given us. Then he goes on to give us some very important reminders regarding God’s work in time.

Solomon then makes a profound statement regarding eternity in Ecclesiastes 3:11 - He has also put eternity in their hearts. It reveals that we are made in the image of the eternal, immortal God. Therefore, we have this God-given drive to search for immortality. But there is a “but” as well! Solomon reminds us that, no one can discover the work God has done from beginning to end. The quest for eternal life can only be found through a relationship with Jesus Christ and will only be made completely clear when we come face-to-face in eternity with the Creator of time.

Three times throughout this passage Solomon uses phrases to remind us of God’s work in time – God has given (v. 10), He has made (v. 11), He has put (v. 11), and gift of God (v. 13). God is a giving and gracious God. He has a plan that plays out in the context of time, and He invites each of us to join Him in that plan.

Finally, We are Reminded that God Completely Controls Time - Ecclesiastes 3:14-15

God is not bound by time. In contrast to the futile accomplishments of humans, everything God does endures. What God has done may not be improved upon or diminished. 

God is enduring, complete, and just, and we are called to stand in awe of His mighty works. Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us that God is in control in all aspects of our lives and encourages us to keep an eternal perspective as we face different seasons of life.

Three Responses

Here are three responses you can have when you realize time is out of your control:

  1. You can be afraid of time. You fear what comes next, so you pull away and become bitter, isolated, depressed, and alone. 
  2. You can immerse yourself in every imaginable pleasure because life is short, and you desire to live every moment.
  3. You can view time as a gift given to you by God. This only comes as you completely trust that God is in control. Then you can fall into His arms and become an instrument for good and for the gospel. If you view your experiences in this life as opportunities to bring God glory, this changes everything!

Believers are given more perspective regarding time in the following New Testament verses:
  • Romans 8:28 - We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (CSB)
  • Ephesians 5:15-17 - Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (CSB)

Remember that all time is a gift from God and there’s a time and place for everything. Remember the hope of eternity so that you can focus your time on what matters most.

Take an inventory of your time. Examine your calendar over the last week. Are you satisfied with how you spend your time? How could it be used better? Think back over what your thoughts are as you plan your time: Do you first consider how your time fits into God’s plans for your life or do you plan your time without ever thinking about how God might want to shape your plans and use your time?

The downloadable teaching helps provide more details for this study along with some tools you can use in guiding a group Bible study. Be sure to use this as a supplement to your study of the Explore the Bible Study resources provided by LifeWay.

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