Reflections on Ecclesiastes Three
KEY VERSE: A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; Ecclesiastes 3:5(KJV)
A stone is a hard solid non-metallic mineral matter made from rock. According to geology, there are three major types of stones rocks, igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic. Stones are majorly used for construction, but there are many other uses we shall discover and review in our reflection today. Stones have structure, composition, and properties, which determine use and economic value.
God commanded the Israelites to gather stones to build an altar as a place of sacrifice. At other times, the Israelites carried stones from the Jordan river to set up a memorial of the miracle that had occurred.
And it shall be on the day when ye shall pass over Jordan unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, that thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaister them with plaister:
And thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over, that thou mayest go in unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, a land that floweth with milk and honey; as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee.
And there shalt thou build an altar unto the Lord thy God, an altar of stones: thou shalt not lift up any iron tool upon them.
Thou shalt build the altar of the Lord thy God of whole stones: and thou shalt offer burnt offerings thereon unto the Lord thy God: Deuteronomy 27:2-3, 4-5 (KJV)
And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of Jordan, and take you up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever. Joshua 4:5-7(KJV)
Formally, in America, the ten commandments were written on stones or plagues in front of government and public buildings like schools as a reminder of their Christian heritage. This practice has been an object of many legal battles. Tombstones are a reminder of where people were buried.
And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the Lord came, saying, Israel shall be thy name: And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed. 1 Kings 18:31-32(KJV)
Elijah\’s breakthrough at Mount Carmel teaches us the need to gather stones to build our personal, family, and national altars, where God would meet with us for fellowship.
A good time to gather stones is during the construction of buildings, roads, and bridges. Stones were also used as weapons to execute judgment on people who broke God’s laws in times past. David chose five smooth stones to fight goliath and God granted him victory. Achan, his family, and Naboth are a few of the people who were stoned to death. (Joshua 7:25-26, 1 Samuel 17:40, 1 Kings 21:13)
Casting stones at people was a symbol of accusation and condemnation, but Jesus brought that practice to an end in his response to the case of the woman caught in adultery. Even though it is in the law, is there anyone who does not offend in one way or another? Shimei threw stones at David when he fled from his son Absalom because he felt David was being judged for taking the throne from Saul; it cost him his life. (2 Samuel 16:6, John 8:4-11)
Nowadays, social media has created a global court of public opinion where people gather daily with stones to hurl at those who don’t meet their expectations and standards. Are we called to gather stones to condemn people, or are we chosen to be living stones to build up God’s kingdom? Jesus is referred to as the Chief corner stone, we are also invited to become living stones that will form part of the building of God’s kingdom.
You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor. 1 Peter 2:4(NLT)
And now you have become living building-stones for God’s use in building his house. What’s more, you are his holy priests; so come to him—you who are acceptable to him because of Jesus Christ—and offer to God those things that please him. 1 Peter2:5(TLB)
Many are still stumbling over who Jesus is and his absolute values. May we be examples for them to see what a life built on Christian values look like, and may we show them how to build on Christ the Rock.
Welcome to the living Stone, the source of life. The workmen took one look and threw it out; God set it in the place of honor. Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God. 1 Peter 2:4-5(MSG)
Some stones are classified as Precious stones: Diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires; while all others are semi-precious and are of great economic value, there are used for decorative and even healing purposes. Each gemstone goes through processes to become an object of beauty, durability, and purpose. We must stop running from the dealings of God; they are the tools that bring out our value.
When the foundations of a building are not set right on the rock, the structure scatters. Marriages, families, and businesses are compared to buildings; when the stones are not put together properly, the storms of life will scatter them. Values are the binders that hold stones or building blocks together. What are the values that drive your choices? A time to scatter comes when people hold on to divergent values in their relationships.
Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. Psalms 127:1(NLT)
A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1(NLT)
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.
Building a life, marriage, business, or family on Christian values will stand the test of time and survive the storms of life; this truth has been proven in different generations and cultures. To avoid a time of scattering stones, seek the Lord before you start building anything. If you have built on wrong values of falsehood, greed, and vanity, wouldn’t it be better to scatter it and start over while you can?
Heavenly Father, thank you for reminding us of these truths; help us respond to its wisdom, knowing that everything works according to seasons in Jesus’ name, amen.