Matters of Faith: What A TIme! What A Time!

Rev. J_Loren RussellWHAT A TIME! WHAT A TIME!

By: Rev. J. Loren Russell, BA, MDiv

Ecclesiastes 3:2-4

1 To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck

what is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;


In the book of Ecclesiastes, the author, identified as Qoheleth, or the Preacher, seeks answers to the meaning of life through his experiences, observations and orientation. He wants to make sense of what can be a senseless existence. Time has pushed him along and he’s now an older man whose faith had declined. With glimpses of hope throughout the book, he delightfully concludes that the fear of God and the keeping of His commandments is all that matters in life. It’s interesting that his faith might have been shaken, but his conclusion shows why he was and still is the wisest man to ever live!

In our text, Solomon’s experiences has him to look at time comparatively, arguing that there is a time for every purpose under the sun. He demonstrates by comparing; live/die, plant/pluck, kill/heal, break down/build up, weep/laugh, mourn/dance. He lists more, but I’ll stop at verse 4, where he says that there’s “A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” It’s always been an interesting paradox to me that weeping and laughing, mourning and dancing are partnered in the same verse.., at the same time. I’d argue that Solomon is being apocalyptically prophetic. He reaches across time and space and sees the end.

Allow me to illustrate; have you ever been at a place in life where your faith was challenged and you just didn’t know what to do, where to go, or how you were going to make it? A place when your life seemed to have been turned upside down and there was no way you could see to get it right-side up? Your long-held faith was vanishing and you saw no chance of getting it to reappear? Solomon proves that for people with waning faith, even those who turned their backs to God, there is hope. In a prophetic mode, Solomon wrote verse 4.

John the Revelator writes in his eschatological discourse found in Revelations, chapter 3, verse 5: 5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”

Did you see it? Way back then, Solomon could see that when someone has a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, their sins are washed in the blood of the lamb, their names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and Jesus pronounces their name before the Father! Here is Solomon’s two-fold prophetic insight: when death invades our homes and mourning grips our soul, tears come to our eyes, but laugher fills our mouths; grief touches our hearts, but dancing moves our feet. What Satan thought was a victory, was actually his defeat.

Death is inevitable, but our eternal home is our choice. We might weep, but then we laugh. We might mourn, but then comes the dance. What a Time! What a Time!

Be blessed +++

Rev. J. Loren Russell, BS, MDiv is President/CEO of The JLR Company (Financial Church Consulting), and Associate Minister at both Goodwill Baptist and Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, New York.

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