Ecclesiastes 3:1-15: Hearts Set on Eternity

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15: Hearts Set on Eternity

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 was classically adapted by The Byrds in the song “Turn, Turn, Turn”. The song is lifted right out of the text for the most part. The “Preacher” in Ecclesiastes penned this poem in light of a general observation he makes: there is a time for everything. He lists 14 things using classical Hebrew parallelism about many life events concerning life. The Preacher, being an old man, perhaps saw many cycles of these various antonymous pairs. And he himself had probably experienced many of them first hand with his family, fortunes, and friends. The general observation has already been made in one fashion in Ecclesiastes 1:1-11. In chapter one and here in chapter 3, the Preacher describes the circular nature of life with an ebb and flow to all things. When one makes and observation that something is new, this really is not the case. Rather, someone is really rehashing the same old stuff. It might have the appearance of newness, but in and of itself is nothing of note.

The Preacher does make some observations concerning God though. First, he says that God has set the hearts of man on eternity, yet no one can fully comprehend it. Man has always yearned to understand what is beyond the temporal existence he lives in. Second, he notes that the best thing for men to do is be happy and do that which is good. Man should enjoy the fruits of his labor; this is a gift from God. And third, he says that everything that God does endures, and nothing can be added or taken away from this. God’s work in its totality is complete and infinite. The Preacher says this is so that man might fear God. The contrast between the finality and finitude of the experience of man and the eternalness and infinitude of God stand in stark contrast to one another. The Preacher in all his endeavors could still not obtain or grasp what it is like to be like God in these regard, and all his pursuits left him empty

The yearning for eternity can only be satisfied with one thing: God. When Jesus came to earth, he came as a man to break the cycle of death so that man might be free of it. Jesus died, but he did not stay dead. He resurrected from the dead. He also came to disrupt the cycle the Preacher describes in other ways. In the end, there will be no more pain, no more suffering, no more tears (Revelation 21:4). All that stands in contrast to what men desire from eternity will be satisfied in Jesus. When Jesus says he came to that men may have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10). God has set the hearts of man on eternity to that they would fear him – that is trust him. The provision that God made to satisfy this is Jesus, who was God in the flesh. There can be no greater satisfaction than that which comes from the maker of the universe!

Lord, my heart yearns for eternity. My heart yearns for you!

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