Sunday, March 5, 2023

 God’s Timing and Purposes – Ecc. 3:1-8

Part 14

Vicky Moots, Pastor
Kingman, Kansas

Ecc. 3:7b: “…and a time to sew…”  “To sew” means “to join, to make, mend, fasten or close, usually with needle and thread.”  It would make sense that after a time of rending there would come a time to sew, for that which was rent (or torn) might need to be mended, to be joined back together.

The first time that sewing is mentioned in the Bible is in Gen. 3:7, after Adam and Eve disobeyed God by partaking of the forbidden fruit: “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”  It is interesting to note that they both did the sewing, not just the woman.

God, however, was not impressed by the fig-leaf fashion statement that they made; and neither is He impressed by our own feeble attempts to cover our nakedness and shame before Him.  Their self-made garments were not adequate to cover their sin, and so we read in Gen. 3:21 that God, Himself, had to do some sewing in order to clothe them: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”

Their new garments were not cheap to make.  The material was costly, for it required innocent blood to be shed.  Our new spiritual garments which God, Himself, has fashioned, and not our own hands, are also costly, but paid for in full by the blood of the Lamb, sacrificed for us.

Some people enjoy sewing and making new clothing or other items, but not me! My sewing consists of mending things that need repair.  As a physician I enjoyed sewing up lacerations or doing surgery to remove suspicious skin lesions.

But God is not in the repair business when it comes to sewing.  He did not choose to have the veil in the temple sewn back together, for it was only a shadow, a figure of the true substance, and it had served its purpose.  It had to be torn away to make room for the new and living way through the Resurrected Christ.

Neither did God sew a patch on the old creation to repair it after man sinned.  Jesus explained why in Mark 2:21: “No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.”

Instead, He made us a new creation in Christ, just as He made new clothes for Adam and Eve to cover their nakedness.  We need new clothes for the new man.  Therefore, it is time to tear off our old garments of self-righteousness and be clothed with the righteousness of Christ, the Lamb of God who was slain for us.

A number of years ago, when I was on a medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic, a man was brought to the local hospital, in the town where we were stationed, after he had received a wound to the chest with a machete during a fight.  He was bleeding profusely because it had penetrated into the outer portion of his heart.  By God’s providence, one of the surgeons on our surgical team just happened to be a cardiovascular surgeon as well as a general surgeon, and so he knew just what to do to save the man’s life.  He was able to successfully repair the damage to the heart by making a patch from the tough, outer covering of the heart, called the pericardium.

The next day the man was, of course, thankful to be alive but very angry and threatening to kill the man who had injured him.  During his recovery, our mission team was able to witness to him about the love of Jesus, and he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior.

The surgeon had repaired his physical heart by sewing a patch on it, but God performed an even greater surgery than that.  Spiritually, the man’s heart had been torn by sin, but God did not repair it.  Instead, He exchanged his hate-filled, sinful heart for a new one, a heart that was willing to forgive, and clothed him with garments of salvation.

The garments of salvation have been sewn by God’s hand and not our own.  But there is another garment currently being fashioned in which we can have a part in the sewing process by yielding to the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  We read of that garment in Rev. 19:7-8: “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness [righteous acts] of the saints.”

The process of making fine linen from flax is a lot of hard work, for it entails growing the flax, drying it out properly, and then stripping it of all the impurities in order to make it white and soft.  After that, it must be woven into cloth.  We read of the virtuous woman in Prov. 31, a type of the bride of Christ.  Verses 19-22 tell us that she weaves her own material to make clothing for herself, for her household and to give to the poor; and in v. 24 we read, “…she maketh fine linen…”

All of those things represent her righteous acts through which she is weaving the linen for her wedding dress.  Then in Rev. 19 we see that she is granted the honor of wearing it.  In addition, we read in Ps. 45:13-14 that this beautiful white dress has been embroidered by her, one stitch at a time, with threads of pure gold, which is the result of her fiery trials: “The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.  She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework…”  Now is the time to start sewing our garment, to be ready for that glorious wedding day.