Ecclesiastes 3 … Consider Him Who Has Set Eternity in Our Heart

He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end, (3:11).

“To everything there is a season… ” I grew up singing this song, although I had no idea at the time that I was singing the very Word of God.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven, (3:1 KJV).

“Turn, Turn, Turn” was made famous by the singing group, the Byrds, when it hit number one in December of 1965. That same year, American ground troops had arrived in Vietnam, and social activists had taken to the streets. It was a time of much unrest in our nation, and protest songs filled the airways.

Apart from inserting the title “turn, turn, turn” into Ecclesiastes 3:1, conveying the cyclical turning of seasons in life, only one other change was made to the King James Version of King Solomon’s writing in this folk song that quoted Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 in its entirety. The last verse in the song concludes with one addition, meant to instill hope, “I swear it’s not too late.”

“A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace,
I swear it’s not too late.” (lyrics from “Turn, Turn, Turn”)

It’s interesting to note that the writer/composer of this song was not a believer at the time, (I pray that he has found grace in the truth of the gospel). But in his protest against the injustices of society and in his desire to find some kind of hope, he filled his song with the wisdom of God’s truth. Again, I say, interesting…

Hope. It’s what we all need; and instinctively we seek hope outside of ourselves, in the seasons and purposes under heaven that our beyond our ability to comprehend but within our yearning to attain.

It’s one of the things that drives us, to discover our purpose and to leave a lasting legacy. But if this life was all there is, why aren’t we all just committed to become epicurean hedonists? Now, granted there are those who have dedicated themselves to pursue nothing but pleasure today, “for tomorrow we die.” But we have to ask ourselves, why are there so many philanthropic individuals and organizations, when being concerned with the needs of others is so often uncomfortable and costly?

Truth: we have an innate need to have purpose, to make a difference, to leave a legacy that outlives our mortality. And how did we get that innate need? We were created with this need by the Almighty Creator Who Has Set Eternity in Our Heart, that we would grope for Him and find Him.

“and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children,’” (Acts 17:26-28).

And His Word tells us His is not far from each one of us and He has made Himself evident to all His creation.

because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse, (Romans 1:19-20).

He is the Eternal God, Who Has made Himself evident to His creation, for He Has Set Eternity in Our Heart.

Consider Him Who Has Set Eternity in Our Heart

  • He Has Set Eternity in Our Heart, for we are created in His Eternal Image
    • In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness… (Genesis 1:1, 26).
  • He Has Set Eternity in Our Heart, that we would crave His Eternal Sustenance
    • “He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord,” (Deuteronomy 8:3).
  • He Has Set Eternity in Our Heart, that we would pursue Eternal Treasures
    • “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” (Matthew 6:19-21).
  • He Has Set Eternity in Our Heart, that we would seek His Eternal Kingdom
    • “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” (Matthew 6:19-33).
  • He Has Set Eternity in Our Heart, that we would believe in His Eternal Love.
    • For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life, (John 3:16).
  • He Has Set Eternity in Our Heart, that we would live with our eyes fixed on His Eternal Glory.
    •  For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal, (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
  • He Has Set Eternity in Our Heart, that we would receive His Eternal Life in His Son.
    • And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life, (1 John 5:11).

How do we respond to Him Who Has Set Eternity in Our Heart?

He Has Set Eternity in Our Heart because the truth is, we all face an Eternal Destiny.

“Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment,” (John 5:28-29).

And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, (Hebrews 9:27).

He Has Set Eternity in Our Heart that we would receive His gift of salvation through grace to walk in His good works prepared for us in Eternity Past.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them, (Ephesians 2:8-10).

And in His grace, He Set Eternity in Our Heart that we might understand our spiritual need that can never be filled with the temporal things of earth, that we would grow in a passionate desire for His Word.

“He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord,” (Deuteronomy 8:3).

And the promise in His Word to us is this: live for Eternity and we will be satisfied.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied,” (Matthew 5:6).

Although we know that His ways are vastly beyond ours and we cannot begin to possibly understand the scope of His work, we can trust that He Who Has Set Eternity in Our Heart will always act in accordance with His Eternal purpose in all that He does; and in His time, He will make everything beautiful.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end, (3:11 NIV).

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, (3:11 NLT).

Father, we thank You for this priceless gift of Eternity in Our Heart, that propels us to crave, pursue and seek Your Eternal Purpose. Please Father, grow us in Your truth, that we would live out our time on earth as citizens of heaven, eagerly awaiting and desiring You Who Set Eternity in Our Heart.

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself, (Philippians 3:20-21).

Let’s Grow Together!

For further insight on today’s topic, you can read some wonderful accounts of this reality, that He Has Set Eternity in Our Heart, in the writings of Don Richardson, a Christian missionary. I have listed two of his books below:
Eternity in Their Hearts relates several accounts of entire people groups whose indigenous traditions, cultural practices and beliefs have prepared them to receive the special revelation of the message of Jesus Christ.
Peace Child tells Don’s and his wife’s own story of their life-threatening encounter with the Sawi people of New Guinea in the 1960’s, a tribe of headhunting cannibals. God provided the missionaries His strategy to reach this tribe through the eternity He had set in their hearts in their long-held tradition of the “peace child.”

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