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The Scriptorium

Patterns in Eternity

God makes all the patterns of creation make sense.

Ecclesiastes 3.14, 15
14I know that whatever God does,
It shall be forever.
Nothing can be added to it,
And nothing taken from it.
God does it, that men should fear before Him.
15That which is has already been,
And what is to be has already been;
And God requires an account of what is past.

The Story: Here is the capstone of Solomon’s theme: God’s work is perfect and eternal. His purposes and plans are unalterable, and no one can keep Him from fulfilling what He intends to do. Thus, if we can learn to rest in God’s purposes, receive His gifts, and take up our work according to His plan, we can do good and serve the purposes of eternity. The fear of the Lord is integral here, for by it we acknowledge His might and accept our place of humility in His sight (cf. Ps. 76). This is the only way to make sense out of life and to live in a purposeful and joyful manner. As Solomon previously declared in 1.1-11, the patterns and repetitions of life can lead to disillusionment and despair. Here, however, he insists that God orders our lives by such patterns and repetitions (The ESV marginal, “what has been pursued” is to be preferred at the end of v. 15). Life does not have to be meaningless or monotonous, even though it’s filled with a lot of the same-old-same-old. God uses the routines and patterns of life and the cosmos to accomplish His eternal purposes. They who fear and look to Him understand this, and find joy, pleasure, and satisfaction in trusting in the Lord.

The Structure: Think of the many patterns and routines that characterize the world and our lives in it. Get up and go to work, eat three meals a day, watch the news, time with the kids; meanwhile, the earth keeps turning, the weather comes and goes, the vast cosmos expands. God is in all these patterns, and He is able to bring glory to Himself in them all (Ps. 19.1-6; 1 Cor. 10.31). The Word of God upholds the universe and everything in it (Heb. 1.3), pursuing patterns and ways that are so regular and reliable that people have come to regard them as “laws.” But what we who trust in the Lord experience in such patterns, and what we acknowledge, is the steadfast love of the Lord and His faithfulness to do all things according to His good pleasure in their unique times and seasons (Ps. 136).

How many “patterns” can you identify in your daily life? Do you take time to wonder at God’s steadfast love in these patterns, or to give Him thanks?

Each week’s studies in our Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For this week’s study, “Heart of the Matter: Ecclesiastes 3,” simply click here.

T. M. Moore

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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