Reflections On Ecclesiastes Three
Key Verse: a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing Ecclesiastes 3:5b
A time to embrace and refrain from embracing became prominent to this generation during the COVID pandemic. Social distancing became a way of life to avoid getting infected with the virus. To embrace is to hold (someone) closely in one’s arms, especially as a sign of affection. In some cultures, this is the natural way to greet visitors, while some families are fond of embracing each other, parents to children, and siblings with each other.
And it came to pass when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob, his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things. Genesis 29:13(KJV)
And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept. Genesis 33:4(KJV)
And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia. Acts 20:1(KJV)
One of the five love languages identified by Dr. Gary Chapman includes physical touch. To this person, nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate physical touch. So parents need to start showing affection to their children early by holding hands and hugging them more often.
In the new testament, Paul admonished the believers to greet each other with a holy kiss. (1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:26)
Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the Messiah’s congregations send their greetings to you. Romans 16:16(CJB)
Believers in the New Testament showed affection to each other in the way they greeted, and there was so much love among them as they cared and shared what they had with each other. These traits were also visible among believers in the 70’s and 80s, but as soon as the church in Africa began to embrace “Western” lifestyles, it was one value that quickly disappeared as people preferred individualism to a sense of community.
And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything with each other, selling their possessions and dividing with those in need. They worshiped together regularly at the Temple each day, met in small groups in homes for Communion, and shared their meals with great joy and thankfulness, Acts 2:44-46(TLB)
There are times when embracing another person may not be appropriate, especially if there are of the opposite sex and are in a vulnerable position. Many cases of infidelity among ministers started from counseling sessions where one of the parties was in a broken emotional state; as they tried to calm them through a hug or an embrace, the affection led to sensual feelings that engulfed them.
Another time to refrain from physical embrace is when you discern the presence of an immoral woman; her characteristics are visible through her dress, lustful stares, and seductive words. There is no need to act like “Macho”; Joseph fled from Potiphar’s wife and saved his soul.
My son, why be infatuated with an unknown woman? Why embrace the body of a loose woman? Proverbs 5:20(CJB)
To embrace also refers to accepting (a belief, theory, or change) willingly and enthusiastically. King Solomon encourages us to embrace Wisdom because of its benefits. As prophesied by Daniel, knowledge is on the increase, and discoveries in technology and science have changed how we live, communicate and do commerce.
Don’t stay stuck in old ways because of fear; embrace Wisdom, get more training, study courses in other fields, and arm yourself for victory. The Jews missed Jesus because they stayed in the traditions of the old and refused to embrace the “new normal”, they even said the teachings of Jesus were turning the world upside down.
Prize Wisdom highly and exalt her, and she will exalt and promote you; she will bring you to honor when you embrace her. Proverbs 4:8(AMPC)
The saints of old embraced the promises of God wholeheartedly and held on to them to the end. What promises have you received from the Father?
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Hebrews 11:13(KJV)
All these people kept on trusting until they died, without receiving what had been promised. They had only seen it and welcomed it from a distance, while acknowledging that they were aliens and temporary residents on the earth. Hebrews 11:13(CJB)
Be careful also to test every spirit before you embrace the teachings of every minister; several doctrines and prayer points have originated from a religious, vengeful, and covetous spirit defiling the church. We must make it a habit to go back to Jesus in private to confirm what we are hearing before we embrace them.
The error of presumption makes people embrace an enemy without warning. We must cultivate the habit of allowing the Holy Spirit to introduce people to us; physical appearance can be deceptive. Accuracy in prophecy is not the only proof that God is involved; the spirit of divination is also accurate.
And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. Acts 16:16-17(KJV)
But test all things carefully [so you can recognize what is good]. Hold firmly to that which is good. 1Thessalonians 5:21(AMP)
Heavenly Father, thank you for the blessing of an embrace from those we love, teach us how to identify the right people and beliefs to embrace in Jesus’ name, amen.