Ecclesiastes 3: Bible Study Guide.
21-BSG-3A: WORSHIP GUIDE.
A Worship Guide corresponding with the today’s Bible Reading Plan: Ecclesiastes 3/ Theme: The Times and Seasons of Life/ 21-BSG-3A, (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a)/ Key Text: “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1–2a, NKJV)/ Hymn: “He leadeth me: O blessed thought!” [Author: Joseph H. Gilmore (1862)].
EXPLORATION: The Cycles of life: doing everything at the Proper Time – (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).
REFLECTION: The Times and Seasons of Life are “appointed by and known only to God. As in the material and natural world the Creator hath appointed times and seasons, as, e.g., to the heavenly bodies for their rising and setting (Ps. 104:19), to plants for their growing and decaying (Gen. 8:22; Numb. 13:20; Judg. 15:1; Jer. 1:16; Mark 11:13), and to animals for their instinctive actions (Job 39:1, 2; Jer. 8:7), so in the human and spiritual world has he ordained the same (Acts 17:26; Eph. 1:10; Titus 1:3); and these times and seasons, both in the natural and in the spiritual world, hath God reserved to himself (Acts 1:7).” [H. D. M. Spence-Jones, Ed., Ecclesiastes, The Pulpit Commentary, (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 68].
DEVOTIONAL IMPLICATION: The Times and Seasons of Life are unavoidable and unalterable by man. As no man can predict the day of his death (Gen. 27:2; Matt. 25:13), any more than know beforehand that of his birth, so neither can he fathom beforehand the incidents that shall happen, or the times when they shall fall out during the course of his life. The Scriptures says: “Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.” (Proverbs 27:1, NKJV)
Beloved, it is God only who knows about the future! He knows every tiny detail of our life—before we were born (Jer. 1:5; Luke 12:7). In light of the transitory nature of human life (Ps. 90:6, 10), each one of us has a duty to prepare wisely! Secondly, we ought to be humble, because God control the order and cycles of human life: death and dying. Third point: the wisdom of seeking God’s guidance in our lives, why? Because in Him, and only Him are the secrets of “times and seasons” (Acts 1:7). Paul says: “for in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Beloved, God is the very Source of our existence: the principle of life and motion comes from Him— we live in Him, move in Him, and are in Him. Without Him we, not only can do nothing, but are absolutely useless/ nothing (John 15:15).
THE GOSPEL’S VOICE: This section is written as if God were speaking directly to you—Because He does. What does the Lord say to me this morning? My son, I am in charge of Times and Seasons of Life, which means, I created you (birth); I sustain your life (that’s why you are alive today); and I even know the hour of your death. In these few days of your life here below (on Earth); would you be humble, obedient and know that I am the Lord who created you (Ps. 100:3)? Despite the many trials you will face in this life, please know that I love you! I’ve not abandoned you. Trust Me; believe my Word; obey My commandments. Even if you die, I will raise you up on the last day: “But not a hair of your head shall be lost. By your patience possess your souls.” (Luke 21:18–19, NKJV). Amen?
MY DESIRE: By God’s grace, I want to trust the Lord to guide my steps, and reveal His will to Me: for He both knows and upholds the future. [This is my humble desire in Jesus’ name, Amen].
Have A Blessed Day: “Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” (Psalm 100:2–3, NKJV)
21-BSG-3B: PRAYER GUIDE.
A Prayer Guide corresponding with the today’s Bible Reading Plan: Ecclesiastes 3/ Theme: A time to weep, And a time to laugh/ 21-BSG-3B, (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4)/ Hymn: “I Need Thee Every Hour!” [Author: Annie S. Hawks (1872)]
Focus: Endurance/Rejoicing in any Situation.
Key Text: “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: “A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance;” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4, NKJV)
Opening Remarks: Paul says we should rejoice always (Phil. 4:4). How can we harmonize the two? We can only “rejoice” — even in the midst of difficulty or ‘mourning’ when we believe that –“all things work together for good to those who love God” (Rom. 8:28). When Paul says we should rejoice always, he adds a noteworthy point: “Rejoice IN THE LORD always” (Phil. 4:4). Beloved, it is only those who have faith in God’s ability to turn calamity into a blessing that can ‘rejoice always.’ Billy Graham once said, “The ability to rejoice in any situation is a sign of spiritual maturity.”
As we come to the today’s Prayer Session, may we ask the LORD to give us the faith we need, in order to believe that “suffering is inflicted by Satan, and is overruled by God for purposes of mercy.” (DA 471 p. 3) “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12, NKJV)
Values To Build On: Joy, Faith, Hope, Trust in God.
Sins To Avoid/ Confess: 1. Failure to fulfil the ‘God-given task” which He has given you (3:10); 2. Failure to “rejoice [in the Lord], and to do good in our lives (3:12); 3. Failure to be content with that which God has given you (3:13); 4. Failure to give thanks to the Lord for daily blessings (fruits of our labor) – for “it is the gift of God” (3:13); 5. Injustice/ Wickedness/ Iniquity: “Moreover I saw under the sun: In the place of judgment, Wickedness was there; And in the place of righteousness, Iniquity was there.” (Ecclesiastes 3:16, NKJV)
Something To Thank God For: Divine teachings from the Book of Ecclesiastes; Temporal Blessings from God; Gifts from God/ Gifts of God (3:13); Happiness of the Righteous; Righteousness/ Perfection of God; The surpassing power of God; Opportunities in this life; God has made everything beautiful in its time (3:11); God has put eternity in human hearts (3:11b/ Compare divine revelation in Romans 1:19-20); The divine Acts of God→ they are eternal, endure forever, inalterable, and cannot be frustrated by men (3:14).
People To Pray For: 1. Saints—to Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4); 2. The wicked—“to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4).
Issues To Pray For: Pray for ‘Bible Study Guide’ series in Ecclesiastes; Suffering (trials/ temptation of this life); Grief: Death and Dying; True happiness; Health and Healing; Contentment in life; Doing that which is right → Rejoicing in the Lord always; Sustenance: daily bread (3:13, cf. Mt 6:11); Ability/ opportunity to ‘enjoy the good of our labor” (3:13); Reverence and godly Fear (3:14).
Today’s Promise: “I know that whatever God does, It shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, And nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him.” (Ecclesiastes 3:14, NKJV) “God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.”” (Ecclesiastes 3:17, NKJV)
Action Step: Take a moment to pray, confess and repent of the sins listed above. If you have a Prayer Request(s), kindly write it below and someone will pray for it.
PRAYER: Father, we thank You for Your word in Ecclesiastes chapter 4. We thank You for reminding us who we are: sinners, feeble creatures who amounts to nothing, and can do nothing apart for You. Help us to remember that our days “few and full of trouble” (Job 14:1); that each day we ought to look up to You for blessings, sustenance, and guidance. Help us to be humble servants, those who follow You and obey Your Commandments: for the Day is coming when You “shall judge the righteous and the wicked” (Eccl. 3:17). Teach us how we can be content with that which You have given us (Eccl. 3:13). Forgive us of the sins listed above dear Lord and prepare us for Thy kingdom. May this chapter be a blessing to us all, Father. We thank You Lord, and ask these things, believing and trusting, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.