The Doctrine of Right Time

The Doctrine of the Right Time Part 1

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.”

 

            When we think of doctrine, we often think of the character and nature of God and His work in history.  We refer to the doctrine of Salvation (Soteriology), the doctrine of the End Times (eschatology), the doctrine of God (Theology Proper), etc.  However, the one doctrine we overlook and one woven throughout the pages of scripture is the doctrine of time, or more specifically, the doctrine of the right time. 

The word “time” is used 797 times in the Bible and is found in almost every book. Just as it was necessary in the biblical era, so it is essential for us today. Throughout life, we are governed by time.  We constantly look at our watch to ensure we are “on time.”  We keep a schedule in our digital calendar to ensure we are at the right place and time. We speak of the speed of time.  There are occasions when times seem to accelerate, and then there are occasions when times seem to slow down.  In all our lives, the one constant is the onward march of time. 

Solomon, in examining the totality of life, is fully aware of the onslaught of time. He places life under the microscope of evaluation and looks at the influence and movement of time in our lives.  But time is not just the march of minutes and seconds; it is the dictator of events. It governs our lives, determining the affairs and events we encounter on a daily basis.  In verses 3:1-8 he examines life's events through the context of time.  Twenty-eight times in these verses, he repeats the word “time.”  All life events, from birth to death, to every circumstance and event in between, are placed upon the continuum of time and governed by it.  This leads us to the inevitable question:  If all of life is governed by the movement of time, who controls that movement?  Who determines when the time will come?  Is the timing of our life merely the product of arbitrary chance, without rhyme or reason, or are the events and their timing governed by a higher law?  Having examined the totality of life’s events,” he asks again the question he asked in 1:3, namely, “What is to be gained from this march of time?”  Where can we turn for hope and perspective if we cannot determine or control the times and events that happen in life?  

Solomon provides the answer in verse 11.  Our hope is grounded in the sovereign work of God.  What seems arbitrary to us is methodical to God.  He is the one who determines the time and events of all things.  The word “made” means to bring into existence, to create, and is used in Genesis 1 of God’s creative work.  Solomon reminds us that just as God brought creation into existence for a divine purpose, so he creates the timing and events in our life for a divine purpose.  This is why these events are “appropriate in its time.”  The word “appropriate” refers to that which is marked by suitability, rightness, or appropriateness. It is also used to refer to that which is beautiful in appearance.  While we do not know the timing of things, God does.  He knows the beginning and the end.  He governs all the occasions of our lives so that they are appropriate and perfect.  Although the arbitrary nature of circumstances seems confusing to us, they are beautiful and perfect as God orchestrates His plan for us.  Therefore, we can rest completely, keeping our eye on eternity, for in the end, when we stand in the presence of God and see the tapestry of our life, we will affirm that it was perfectly woven in the timing of God’s activity and purpose. 

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