“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

The Bible contains many beautiful poems. One of the most familiar is the beginning of Ecclesiastes 3. The first eight verses became well known when they were set to music as a protest song during the Vietnam War, although these verses are not as much about peace as they are about time.

When Solomon wrote these words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he was illustrating how God has a proper time for all things. Even hate and war have their appropriate time. For example, in Deuteronomy 20:16-18, the Lord commanded the nation of Israel to completely conquer the land of Canaan. He charged them to leave no one alive, including women and children. As cruel as this seems to us today, we have to remember what God was doing in this situation.

God’s plan was for Israel to be a nation set apart to bring glory and honor to Him and ultimately to bring forth the Savior of the world. After rejecting the Living God, the people of Canaan had become completely immersed in idol worship. Their religious rituals included shocking atrocities in the name of their false gods. The land had to be cleansed so that those nations would not teach Israel their abominations and cause them to sin against the Lord (Deut. 20:18).

We see the evidence of God’s perfect timing throughout His creation. Flowers know when to bloom. Birds know the proper time to fly south for the winter. Bears and groundhogs know when to hibernate. Only human beings seem to have difficulty doing things at the proper time.

Understanding and waiting for God’s timing does not come natural to us. Every day we see evidence of this: people taking drugs for recreation instead of illness, buying things without having the money to pay for them, or having children before marriage.

Throughout the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon describes how difficult life is apart from the Lord. By not following God’s timing, we needlessly complicate our lives even further.

Solomon states, “He hath made everything beautiful in his time” (Eccl. 3:11). Even death can be a beautiful thing when a person knows the Lord Jesus as Savior and has finished the course that was laid out for him (2 Tim. 4:7-8). What could be more beautiful than being in the presence of the Lord and receiving a crown of righteousness as a good and faithful servant?

There is an appointed time and a season for every activity listed in theses verses. Psalm 18:30 tells us, “As for God, his way is perfect.” That means His timing is perfect, too.

To be continued—next issue.