To everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn, turn. And a time to every purpose under heaven… Those are the beginning lyrics to a song from 1965, called, “Turn, Turn, Turn” by the Byrds. I learned it on the guitar and years later, when I was in high school in the early 70s, I played and we sang it during “folk masses” in the Catholic Church in our small town in Upstate New York. Interestingly enough, as I sang those words, I didn’t know that it was from the Bible. I think, maybe someone in the band mentioned it to me once. I may have replied, “The book of what?”, and never thought about it again, until years later, when during a Bible study, on the Book of Ecclesiastes, I exclaimed, “Hey, isn’t that the old folk song, “Turn, Turn, Turn?”
This passage is also read at many memorial services. It’s also very appropriate for what’s going on in the world right now. Think about when this song was written 1965 and what was going on back then. History is repeating itself.
Nevertheless, the song (which, of course, I embedded at the bottom), is just the first part of this next chapter in Ecclesiastes. Let’s dig in…
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.
9 What do people really get for all their hard work? 10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.
14 And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him. 15 What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.
The Injustices of Life
16 I also noticed that under the sun there is evil in the courtroom. Yes, even the courts of law are corrupt! 17 I said to myself, “In due season God will judge everyone, both good and bad, for all their deeds.”
18 I also thought about the human condition—how God proves to people that they are like animals. 19 For people and animals share the same fate—both breathe and both must die. So people have no real advantage over the animals. How meaningless! 20 Both go to the same place—they came from dust and they return to dust. 21 For who can prove that the human spirit goes up and the spirit of animals goes down into the earth? 22 So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to be happy in their work. That is our lot in life. And no one can bring us back to see what happens after we die.Ecclesiastes 3 NLT
Lots to Ponder
That’s why I love this book so much. There’s lots to think about. First, I discovered today that Ecclesiastes is read every year by Jews celebrating the Feast of Shelters or Tabernacles, also called Sukkot. It’s a week-long celebration of everything that God has provided — a Thanksgiving. It so happens that we are right now in Sukkot. Now, I had no idea when I started this trek through the Old Testament that Ecclesiastes would land on Sukkot. It’s a testament to God and HIS timing — talking about seasons!
Solomon here shows us all the contrasts in life. Everything has its time or season. Think about it. If you try to sow during the winter, the ground is frozen. Nothing will grow. Sowing — planting — is done in the spring and a few months later, in the fall, it is harvested or reaped.
Only in God do all the pieces of life converge. Embracing the seasons reduces the stress of life.
Again Solomon asks, what do we gain? What’s it all for? In Genesis 3:19, humanity is cursed by God for disobeying a direct order…
19 “By the sweat of your browGenesis 3:19 NLT
will you have food to eat
until you return to the ground
from which you were made.
For you were made from dust,
and to dust you will return.”
Our work does have a purpose when we work for God. Paul wrote…
19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.Romans 8:19-21 NLT
God Planted Eternity in the Human Heart
Our home is eternity. Nothing on earth can fill it. We are born with mortality in our flesh. We are to fear God — that is, respect and revere Him with awe. God is the artist. Let Him do His work in you.
Justice on Earth is Far From Just
We see this every day. We watch the news and shake our heads. Imagine what our world would be like if all judges followed the Bible?
Our Hope is in Eternity
Our home is eternity. We know that there is life after death because Jesus Christ rose from the dead 3 days after He was crucified. He proved it. Paul explains it in 1 Corinthians…
22 Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. 23 But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back.1 Corinthians 15:22-23 NLT
When HE Comes Back
When we die, our bodies are buried, but our spirit lives forever. Where your spirit spends eternity is your choice and a choice you must make while you’re still here on earth. After you die, it’s too late.
For the born-again believer, the moment we die, our spirits are in Heaven with Jesus. There’s absolutely no doubt about it.
Where will YOU spend ETERNITY?
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, feel His Shalom — a peace that surpasses all understanding, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180-degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him. When you ask Jesus to forgive you He will. ALL your sins will be wiped clean — past, present, and future! And All means ALL!
- Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the gift of Holy Spirit in your heart.