Time and Chance
There are many verses within the Bible that are difficult to understand and I would say that the church as a whole has been very good in tackling most of them. But there is one that has been misinterpreted, maybe more so than any other, and has slid under the radar as a whole than any other scripture today.
I would say that we have the tools and knowledge already to know the answer to this question, it is just a matter of sitting down and putting the relevant scriptures in order and in our mind as we study the question:
Does time and chance happen to the people of God?
Or are we subject to all the random or unpredictable events that occur around us
Ecclesiastes 9:11 I returned and saw under the sun that– The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all.
Some commentaries say the last phrase is a saying meaning that all will die
Solomon said: “Time and chance happen to them all.”
Some translations have: to everybody and others take liberties to sum it up as “to all men,” or “to everyone.” But this is not what it says.
Ecclesiastes is mainly written about people in this world and the vanity of their pursuits without God in them
Contrast this with the preceding verse:
Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.
This is how Solomon differentiates between the elect of God and those not yet called. It is a significant distinction.
Ecclesiastes 9:1 For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God. People know neither love nor hatred by anything they see before them.
For context: 1 Kings 5:2 Then Solomon sent to Hiram, saying:
1 Kings 5:4 But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor evil occurrence [same word as “chance” in Ecclesiastes 9:11].
Solomon here acknowledges that God does not allow time and chance to occur to those that He is working with.
Psalms 31:15 My times [same word as Ecclesiates 9:11] are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, And from those who persecute me.
Here is the difference and the distinguishing factor between true Christianity and the rest of the world. God does not let things like this happen to His people – those whose lives He is involved in.
Why Does God Allow Mankind to Suffer?
It is obvious that ALL mankind suffers and dies! The answer to why He allows this is perhaps the most elusive of all theological questions
What are the reasons for suffering?
Cause and Effect
Self inflicted problems
Lack of contentment
Satan and Demons (god of this world)
God does intervene in these people’s lives but only to a limited extent. He does so by restricting what Satan can do. If he was allowed, the devil would completely eliminate mankind.
Because we were made to have free moral agency, God will not control us and our actions. Subsequently, will have consequences.
And because the ways of man are not God’s, the resulting disobedience and not following God as He has outlined in the Bible – this rejecting of God and His way, leads ultimately to death and destruction.
God made the decision NOT to intervene, in general, in the affairs of this world, in order to teach man the lesson that, without God, man is incapable of ever living happily or peaceably.
Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
Romans 1:29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,
Romans 1:30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Romans 1:31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;
Romans 1:32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death [Romans 3:23, 6:23], not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
Mankind has said that they do not want God in their lives and what we see around us are the results of it.
It is terrible and we are to be sighing and crying for all the sin that is in the world. This sin leads to all the pain and suffering that we see around us. (Ezekiel 9:4)
The Tower of Siloam
The other most common scripture referred to in regards to this subject of “time and chance”:
Luke 13:1 There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
Luke 13:2 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things?
Luke 13:3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
Luke 13:4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem?
Luke 13:5 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”
So God is saying that Christians are in a different category since they repent and walk a different walk….
We Reap What We Sow
There is cause and effect so do not confuse this with time and chance
Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
Galatians 6:8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Galatians 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
If we as Christians are trying to live a Godly life, why do some of these same things happen to us
So we know if a trial besets us then it is for a reason that God is working out in us.
Trials will come (not bad things)
God corrects out of love
Hebrews 12:5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “MY SON, DO NOT DESPISE THE CHASTENING OF THE LORD, NOR BE DISCOURAGED WHEN YOU ARE REBUKED BY HIM;
Hebrews 12:6 FOR WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE CHASTENS, AND SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.”
Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
When we have to go through severe trials, it is because God is working something out in His people. Only He has that ability to keep time and chance from happening to us AS WELL as orchestrate events for the building of our Godly character.
Whatever happens, God knows that you can handle it
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
We put the wrong value in pain. The trials and sufferings that we go through have a purpose – if we keep that in mind, we will be better off – it will make getting through the trial and learning the lesson more readily digestible.
God is VERY Involved in Your Life
He knows you
Luke 12:6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God.
Luke 12:7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
We could not hide from God even if we wanted to:
Isaiah 40:27 Why do you say, O Jacob, And speak, O Israel: “My way is hidden from the LORD, And my just claim is passed over by my God”?
Isaiah 40:28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.
Isaiah 40:29 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Isaiah 40:30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall,
Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
He provides for you
Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Matthew 6:27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
Matthew 6:28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;
Matthew 6:29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Matthew 6:30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Matthew 6:31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
Matthew 6:32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
He Protects You
Psalms 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.
Psalms 33:13 The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men.
Psalms 33:14 From the place of His dwelling He looks On all the inhabitants of the earth;
Psalms 33:15 He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.
Psalms 33:16 No king is saved by the multitude of an army; A mighty man is not delivered by great strength.
Psalms 33:17 A horse is a vain hope for safety; Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.
Psalms 33:18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy,
Psalms 33:19 To deliver their soul from death, And to keep them alive in famine.
Psalms 33:20 Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.
Psalms 33:21 For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name.
Psalms 33:22 Let Your mercy, O LORD, be upon us, Just as we hope in You.
Aside: Sometimes He does this for the world so that His plan can be fulfilled
He sets up kings and empires so that his purpose and counsel will stand
Psalms 23:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Psalms 23:2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
Psalms 23:3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
Psalms 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Psalms 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Psalms 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.
Example of Job
God only allows Satan to do so much in the life of a Christian
Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.
Job 1:12 And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” [God put boundaries on Satan] So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
Job 1:21 And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away [he understood that God was allowing this]; Blessed be the name of the LORD.”
Job 1:22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong
God Finishes What He Begins
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
Time and chance will not come between God and His plan for us. He has a purpose for each one of us and that will not be derailed.
Ephesians 1:9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,
Ephesians 1:10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.
Ephesians 1:11 In Him also we have obtained [you and me] an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose [not time and chance] of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
Believe in God. Believe in His word that we just read. Believe that God will perform faithfully that which He said that He will do.
If we do our part, live by every word of God, then God will do his part and take up the slack – that is to look after us in regards to circumstances beyond our control. He will not let random events and occurrences happen to you.
Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing….
Knowing that Time and Chance do not happen to the people of God