“That which hath been is now, and that which is to be hath already been; and God requires that which is past” (Ecclesiastes 3:15, KJV).
Now that you have a hot cup of fresh brewed coffee, ponder with me a few thoughts from this wonderful Preacher's notes. It seems appropriate as this year comes to a close and we prepare to see the ball drop in Times Square. I am reminded that the world is well designed and runs better than any expensive watch. This redundancy, this unchangeableness, should produce in each of us a deep reverence of the Divine. This is certainly the reason God has revealed himself to us in the Advent that we just celebrated. By understanding the infinite power and design of God’s dependable plan should confirm God’s plan for our life. The conviction that God’s plan is righteous and immutable should lead us to "sanctify him in our hearts, and make him our Fear and our Dread" (Isaiah 8:13). It should also give us hope and confidence in the midst of the unexpected changes of life that God does not change. In the earlier part of Ecclesiastes (1:9,10), the Preacher had dwelt upon the uniformity of sequence in nature, as if he were impressed with a sense of monotony, as he watched the course of events happening and recurring in the same order. And now, as he looks upon human history, he sees the same regularity in the order of things.
"That which hath been is now, and that which is to be hath already been." The past feeling of exhaustion and redundancy is made to order by the thought of God's perfection, and by the "fear" which it excites. The Preacher recognizes the fact of a Divine will governing the events of history. It is no accidental process of evolution, no mechanical process of revolution that causes the cycles of life and events. It is God who recalls or "seeks again that which is passed away" (ver. 15 b). It is not that the past vanishing. The year might seem to be passing into the abyss of oblivion; but God recalls it, brings back the same order, or an analogous order of events, and so history repeats itself. Out of this belief in God's wise providence a healthy spirit should gather strength to bear patiently and cheerfully the difficulties and trials of life. Because of the Creator and Preserver of all things, our faith can sustain us in the greatest trials, when God's ways seem most inscrutable; and truly believe that "all things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28).