HEBREW HIGHLIGHTS 30 - OPPORTUNITY
Shalom. This is Yuval Shomron, coming to you from Jerusalem.
ECC 3:1 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—
This scripture is so well known, that it has become almost a cliché. Permit me to retranslate it just slightly, and then explain.
To everything there is time, and a moment to every delight under the heavens.
First of all, there are two different words rendered as time in the English version I read. The first is the Hebrew “zman”, which means literally, time. However, the second is “et”, which is used to specify a particular moment in time. In other words, this verse is saying that there is a time for everything, and even more specifically, a particular moment.
Secondly, to explain my translation, the word translated variously as event, purpose, activity, and delight, is the Hebrew word “chefets”, literally, delight.
This passage in Ecclesiastes is not the only one where time and delight appear together. Let’s read PSA 1:1-3, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season, And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.”
Here we see the “delight” is in the law of the Lord, and the time, here translated “season” refers to our yielding fruit. By cross-referencing the two passages we read, we could concur that there will be a moment when our delight in the Lord will bear fruit.
This idea is substantiated in GAL 6:9-10, “And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” The greek word translated as “time” in this passage is “kairos”, which is also sometimes translated as “season”, again, a specific time.
There are two dynamics which take place in our lives as believers, concerning time. Either we are impatient, waiting for God’s timing far a particular event, or we use “waiting for the right season” as an excuse not to carry out His will.
So, what should be our proper approach to timing, seasons, or moments concerning our lives and God’s will? Let’s look for an answer in COL 4:5-6, “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.”
The word “Opportunity” here is again, “kairos” in Greek. How do we recognize opportunity when she knocks? Well, we already have one hint here when the passage says “so that you may know how you should respond”. This tells us that the time is obviously right to answer when we are asked. If someone asks us about our faith, we shouldn’t say, “I’ll get back to you on that later” or, “let me refer you to a good book”. The time, the season, the moment, is now!
The apostle Paul give good advice to his disciple, and to us as well in 2TI 4:1-2, when he says, “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.”
“Be ready in season and out of season”, puts a different perspective on our looking for opportunity. Most of us don’t eat apples only during apple season, or play basketball during basketball season, or enjoy paintings of autumn leaves only in the fall.
Perhaps someone near us would delight to hear the good news of Messiah today. Perhaps we should take a plate of fresh baked cookies to our ailing neighbor while we have the opportunity. Perhaps, finally, we should stop procrastinating and say yes to God’s call.
In MAR 1:15, Yeshua said, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."
This is the time to delight in the Lord, and to obey Him.
Shalom, Shalom from Jerusalem.