REFLECTIONS ON ECCLESIASTES THREE
KEY VERSE: A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. Ecclesiastes 3:8b
A time of war is never welcome in life, but certain preconditions set the stage for a time of war. When there is war, every group loses something; resources, relationships, opportunities, and the lives of their people. Even when it ends, people can never fully measure the emotional trauma. Both those who go to war as soldiers and the aged, children, and women who stay back suffer deeply. This year, you know what happened when Russia invaded Ukraine, the ripple effect on all the world nations, and what is still going on now.
War is not pleasant, but sometimes it is the only way to lasting peace. Goliath, the champion of the Philistines, challenged Israel to battle and declared that whoever won the fight would determine the fate of his people. He tormented them for days until David arose to the occasion.
Deborah and her people lived through the oppression of Sisera and king Jabin; village life ceased, and insecurity prevailed until she arose.
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. Matthew 24:6(KJV)
We are at a time when we will hear of wars and rumors of wars globally. Running from pillar to post is not a solution; seeking the will of God for your life in this time and season is better than ending up like Naomi in Moab or running into the belly of the fish like Jonah.
There is a time when God instructs his people to leave a physical location as he did to Joseph and Mary, but if you act like Lot, you may walk into Judgement and lose everything you are trying to protect. Lot could have fared better if he didn’t choose to be alone.
A time of war is a time to unite with others, share information and material goods and watch each other’s back. Who are you in partnership with? Since the pandemic, many have refused to return to in-person worship; Peter had a company to return to in his time of war; I hope you have yours. (Acts 4:23)
Sometimes, declaring war is the only way to take possession of what God has bequeathed to you, and so if you choose to be docile, fearful, or unprepared, your inheritance will remain in the hand of strangers.
“The Lord told me, ‘Get ready to go across Arnon Valley. I will let you defeat Sihon the Amorite, the king of Heshbon. I will let you take his country. So fight against him and take his land. Deuteronomy 2:24(ERV)
Today, most of the battles we face are spiritual, but the consequences are evident in the physical. The weapons of our warfare are not physical, and our enemies are spiritual.
Our fight is not against people on earth. We are fighting against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness. We are fighting against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly places. 13 That is why you need to get God’s full armor. Then on the day of evil, you will be able to stand strong. And when you have finished the whole fight, you will still be standing. Ephesians 6:12-13(ERV)
We don’t fight to kill people but rather to overthrow the missiles, plans, and mission of the kingdom of darkness from where we once lived so that we can enthrone the kingdom of God and His righteousness in the different centers of influence the Lord gives us.
We live in this world, but we don’t fight our battles in the same way the world does. The weapons we use are not human ones. Our weapons have power from God and can destroy the enemy’s strong places. We destroy people’s arguments, and we tear down every proud idea that raises itself against the knowledge of God. We also capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ. We are ready to punish anyone there who does not obey, but first, we want you to be fully obedient. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6(ERV)
A time of war precedes a time of peace; the Israelites always enjoyed a time of peace when a judge arose to fight and subdue their enemies. Do you want peace in your life, marriage, family, business, or community? The first thing to do is to make peace with the Man of War; you need Him on your side. Secondly, ask the Prince of peace how you are supposed to fight the battles of your life. A prayer book may suffice for military raids, but you need the Captain of the hosts commanding the battle for you to pursue, overtake and recover all.
A time of peace is equally a difficult time. It is the time when men forsake their maker and indulge the flesh to their detriment. Solomon fought no physical war but rode on the back of victories King David and his man procured. Solomon lost the rule over the tribes of Israel because he welcomed enemies he should have contended with. The tribes of Israel were divided because Solomon lost all the spiritual battles against him, and his sons did not know the God who had granted them a time of peace.
A time of peace is also a time to seek a truce. Some people have overreached themselves by nursing coveteousness and engaging in battles God did not permit. They rise against their fathers like Absalom, despise the elders who are supposed to guide them with their experience the way Rehoboam did, and engage in fighting for Naboth’s vineyard at their peril. Choose your battles wisely and never be ashamed to seek reconciliation.
But Rehoboam did not listen to the advice from the older men. He asked the young men who were his friends. 1 Kings 12:8(ERV)
“If a king is going to fight against another king, first he will sit down and plan. If he has only 10,000 men, he will try to decide if he is able to defeat the other king who has 20,000 men. If he thinks he cannot defeat the other king, he will send some men to ask for peace while that king’s army is still far away. Luke 14:31-32(ERV)
Only the Prince of Peace can give peace to the world; the Holy Spirit gives peace in the face of tumult and danger. You may not be able to prevent wars around you, but you can have peace from God and sleep amid the storm. Welcome, Jesus, into your life and receive the peace that only He can give by the work of the Holy Spirit.
Heavenly Father, my times are in your hand; teach me to respond wisely in a time of war, knowing that you are with me and will never forsake me. Deliver me from the traps of a time of peace, help me grow in knowledge and intimacy with you as l enjoy your peace in Jesus’ name, amen.
Photo by Stijn Swinnen on Unsplash