Longing – Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth: a right time for birth and another for death, a right time to plant and another to reap, a right time to kill and another to heal, a right time to destroy and another to construct, a right time to cry and another to laugh, a right time to lament and another to cheer, a right time to make love and another to abstain, a right time to embrace and another to part, a right time to search and another to count your losses, a right time to hold on and another to let go, a right time to rip out and another to mend, a right time to shut up and another to speak up, a right time to love and another to hate, a right time to wage war and another to make peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 MSG

Most Christians believe the bible is inspired. Does this mean Solomon is the final word on all matters?  Listen to his conclusions …

In the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do—busywork, mostly. True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. (Ecclesiastes 3:9-11)

Solomon’s conclusions highlight the limitations of Old Testament wisdom. If we are to take him seriously, God has crowned us with blindness, and made busyness our glory. If Solomon is on point, my bible study application is; eat, drink and be merry, because what we do has zero relevance. All activity culminates in death. Period. Solomon has acknowledged God’s sovereignty, yet it has led him to hedonism and indifference (and polygamy). Solomon’s wisdom was limited. He did not yet know Jesus, the power and the wisdom of God. However, he was spot on with this nugget …

There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth: a right time for birth

In the fulness of time, at just the right moment, God came to earth and made some things clear which the old testament could only hint at. Birthed in obscurity to a virgin, God made his understated and miraculous entrance into our time and space, at just the right time.

There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth: a right time for birth… and another for death.

Also in the fulness of time, at just the right moment, Jesus suffered death in our behalf. We were condemned for our sin. Christ willingly laid down his own life as an unblemished sacrifice, satisfying divine justice.  Jesus, God’s power and wisdom have taken us far beyond the wisdom of Solomon. Jesus revealed the Father to us. This was the mystery of the ages – the divine surprise which had been withheld until just the right time.

Solomon had wisdom but he was mistaken regarding life’s futility. Futility is alien to the New Covenant. The Holy Spirit, residing in the heart of the saint, is saying more than, “Eat, drink and be merry since you are going to die soon.” Here are just a few verses, representing the hope-filled spirit of the New Testament. They stand in stark contrast to Solomon’s wisdom.

He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. (Ephesians 2:10)  I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. (John 10:10) For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified and these whom He justified, He also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30) You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. (Matt 5:14)

So what are we to do with the wisdom of Solomon? Discard it? That would be unwise. His wisdom must be seen in the light of his day and the light of Christ. Given what he must now know, perhaps he would publish The Revisions of Solomon. I can imagine the …


I have had a second and better look at what God has given us to do and I have revised my council. In the end, it really does make a difference what we do. Indeed God has made everything beautiful in itself and He has by no means left us in the dark in this regard. God has come in Christ so that we would know Him as well as what He is up to. 

In Christ, today is the right time for salvation. Today is the right time to wage war by way of our love. This is the opportune time to re-present the gospel. Speak up. Cheer up and laugh as this fuller gospel mends broken hearts and ushers healing and peace into the earth. True, the earth is fallen and a former angel is reigning in the darkness of deceit. But his rule is temporary. In the coming hours, the light of Jesus’ life will radiate from a Bride who has made herself ready for her Groom. Darkness will be displaced by the Light of Christ, in men – the hope of glory. 

One more thing; while it is not good for man to be alone, 700 wives and 300 concubines is a bit much. I now advocate monogamy. 

Father, none of us are exempt from being old wineskins since we are all in the process of being remade into your image. The seed has been planted in us. May our eyes look to the anticipated harvest. Equip our hearts with the wisdom embodied in our glorious calling in Christ. Amen.

An additional thought …

I imagine the word “right” is a joke to the atheist and an annoyance to the agnostic since rightness implies divine intent. After all, right and wrong only make sense in a moral universe and a moral universe implies a just creator. As Pilot asked, “What is truth?” the unbeliever and doubter must ask, “What is justice?”

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