Appropriate words and actions
For everything there is an appointed time, and an appropriate time for every activity on earth. – Ecclesiastes 3:1
1 For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6 A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.
11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time.
It seems that throughout history at appropriate times the Father has raised up ideally suited, capable, seemingly tailor-made individuals to utter memorable, heartfelt, appropriate words.
“In war, resolution
In defeat, defiance
In victory, magnanimity
In peace, goodwill” (Churchill).
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.”
“But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate – we cannot consecrate – we cannot hallow – this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth” (Lincoln).
There are ebbs and flows to times and seasons and also to the events of our individual and personal lives.
“Not only are there times and seasons in this world, but there is also an overruling providence in our lives. From before our birth to the moment of our death, God is accomplishing His divine purposes, even though we may not always understand what He is doing” (Wiersbe).
The Father is at work, and He is at work all the time. The rub comes when we take inappropriate action or speak inappropriate words at unsuitable times. When it is time for peace and goodwill, we often act Out defiance and self-willed obstinacy. Upon reflection, we often find ourselves fighting against, and defying the Father God Himself.
REFLECT & PRAY
Psalms 13:5 But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
Father thank You that You make everything beautiful in its own time.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.
The Hebrew word translated season or appointed time is zeman. This word does not refer to a period of time, but rather a specific moment in time. It is forward-looking and peers into the future and suggests that there is an exact time that something will occur. Its focus is not on the concept of time. But rather the succession of events that occur within the space-time continuum.
Consider the children’s fairy tale, Cinderella. As the story goes, she was badly treated by her jealous stepsisters and stepmother. Cinderella lives a life of drudgery and misery, working as a maid in her own home. A kindly Fairy Godmother comes to her aid. She is provides with a beautiful silver gown and a unique pair of glass slippers, so that she may attend Prince Charming’s ball. Only one proviso made. The magic spell will be broken at a specific moment in time, midnight. The coach and horses, the footmen and driver, the dress all revert to what they were before. This perfectly illustrates the concept of an appointed time, zeman.
Appointed times, seasons, and every event under heaven are planned and actualized through the Father’s grace and peace. No matter what the circumstances, grace and peace are always the present possessions of every child of the King. What are grace and peace?
“These are two things you can always have, no matter what your circumstances. Grace is all God’s power, all his love, all his beauty available to you. It is a marvelous term which wraps up all that God is and offers to us. It comes from the same Greek word from which we get our English word charm. Grace is charming, lovely, pleasant. It is something which pleases, which imparts charm and loveliness to a life.”
“Peace is freedom from anxiety, fear, and worry. These are the two characteristics which ought to mark Christians all the time: Grace – God at work in their life; and peace – a sense of security, of trust” (Stedman).
When you understand grace, you can have great trust in the Father. When you trust in the Father you can have great peace and rest because your heavenly Father is gracious and kind.
13 The LORD looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race.
14 From his throne he observes all who live on the earth.
15 He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do.
16 The best-equipped army cannot save a king, nor is great strength enough to save a warrior.
17 Don’t count on your warhorse to give you victory – for all its strength, it cannot save you.
18 But the LORD watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love.
19 He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine.
20 We put our hope in the LORD. He is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone.