God’s Timing and Purposes – Ecc. 3:1-8
Pastor Vicky Moots, Kingman, Kansas
Ecc. 3:3b: “…a time to break down, and a time to build up.” In the natural, an old building that is deteriorating, or that is no longer adequate to meet the need, must be torn down in order to make room for that which is new. This is true spiritually also.
In Scripture, the body is often referred to as a building, a temple or a tabernacle, since it is the earthly dwelling place of the soul and the spirit. Jesus used this analogy in John 2:19-21 when He was speaking to the Jews in the temple: “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.”
Jesus earthly body had to be destroyed, to be taken down, to make room for His new spiritual body, the church. He was raised up three days later to become the head of the church. The earthly temple in Jerusalem was also torn down in 70 A.D. and never rebuilt. That’s because God no longer needed an earthly building for a dwelling place since He was building a spiritual temple.
Paul describes God’s new building in Eph. 2:21-22: “In whom [Jesus Christ] all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” And in I Cor. 3:9 Paul says, “…ye are God’s building.” He also states in v. 16, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
Our own bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, individually and collectively, as members of the body of Christ. We are joined together, built together, as the church, to form a spiritual temple that continues to grow daily as souls are being saved. God now dwells in the midst of His people, not in temples of stone.
Jesus, the Son of God, came to this earth clothed in a body of flesh, an earthly temple, in order that He could die for us as we read in Phil. 2:8: “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” He chose to let Himself be abased, to be broken down for us. He had to die in order to be exalted. He left the glory of heaven to become a servant to all, but then God built Him back up: “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name, which is above every name.” (Phil. 2:9)
God sometimes has to break us down too through circumstances in order to build us up into something better. Jeremiah used the example of the potter and the clay to illustrate this in Jer. 18:3-4: “Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.” This was said concerning the house of Israel, but it also applies to us. God is the potter and we are the clay.
Note that Jeremiah does not say that the vessel was marred by the hand of the potter, but while it was in his hand. God never lets go of us in spite of our failures, but He must break down our flawed vessel in order to reshape us, to rebuild us, into something new, a new creation, that is pleasing in His sight. He breaks down our pride, our self-righteousness and self-works of the old creation, and then builds us up with His Word, as Paul declares in Acts 26:32: “And now brethren I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up.”
Today God is building a bride for His Son, just as He did for Adam, out of those Christians who are willing to let Him break them down first and to remove all of the impunities, as the potter did with the clay. The majority of the sleepy, lukewarm church will not submit to this, only a small rib portion, those who are closest to His heart. We must yield to the Lord and allow Him to sanctify and cleanse us with the “washing of water by the word,” as we find in Eph. 5:26-27, that we might be presented to Christ as a chaste virgin, a “glorious church [assembly glorious], “not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing,” qualified to reign with Him. Now is the time to let Him break you down and build you up to be ready for that day.