Eternity in Their Hearts

Ecclesiastes 3:11
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”

Genesis 1:27 tells us that “God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” That is the moment when God “put eternity in their hearts,” when He breathed the spirit of life into us (Gen. 2:7). We have a sense of what eternity is like, of who God is, because we all bear His image in our own spirit. The Hebrew word translated here as “eternity” (or “world” in the KJV) is “olawm”, which refers to that which goes far beyond our sight, the vanishing point, or “time out of mind,” as the saying goes.

As the Preacher writes in the verse above, were it not for this spark of eternity that God has written on our hearts, we would not understand even a portion of what God does from “beginning to end.” But because we are here for only a time, we cannot physically know or see all that God designs for the world. The phrase “in its time” is very important here, because although we have the potential for eternal life within us, although we bear the very image of God in this world, yet are we finite in this world, “beautiful” in our own time. All our struggles and triumphs, all our joys and faith, all our seasons in life are as nothing before eternity.

We are made in His image, but we do not bear His power nor His wisdom. We carry eternity in our hearts, but until we know just as we also are known (1 Cor. 13:12) our knowledge and understanding of God’s purposes will never be complete. However, BECAUSE God has put eternity in our hearts, we share a kinship with His Son and we have a spiritual awareness of the divine. Without eternity in our hearts we would never sense God moving in our lives, would never grasp the simplest wisdom from His Word, would never be able to join Peter in seeing Jesus as the Christ, our Lord and our Savior.

Yes, God has given everything its time to flourish, to shine forth His beauty in this world. But it is not as Keats would have us believe – that “Beauty is truth, truth beauty, – that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” Even beauty captured in the moment by art or music is but fleeting – a “chasing after the wind” to borrow the words of the Preacher of Ecclesiastes. What is eternal, what is truth, what is worthy is God Himself and His Son, Christ Jesus. Would we but put to use the eternity God has put within our hearts, we would understand His works and proclaim His Name every moment of every day. With the Psalmist let us proclaim:

“Bless the LORD, you His angels,
Who excel in strength, who do His word,
Heeding the voice of His word.

“Bless the LORD, all you His hosts,
You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.

“Bless the LORD, all His works,
In all places of His dominion.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul!”
(Psalm 103:20-23)

– written April 18, 2009

About Glenn Pettit

I am a deacon at The Well of Iowa, and a father and grandfather. Called to teach and to preach, I write fresh messages about the Bible every now and then.
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