TIME AND CHANCE FOR EVERYONE
God walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the beginning.
They were taught the way to live that would have produced
joy, happiness, and everything good. But when they chose to
listen to Satan and rebel against the commandments of the Lord,
they ran off and hid themselves from God, and made all kinds of
excuses as to why they did what they did.
The Lord allowed them to choose life on one hand or death on
the other hand. They chose to do it their way, live according to
what seemed right in their eyes, they chose to hide from God. So
God allowed it, and in allowing it He told them what they could
expect from life. Leaving Him out of the picture and going
contrary to His commands and way of life would often bring them
difficulties, hardships, trials, and troubles. Read again the
first four chapters of Genesis.
Hundreds and hundreds of years later God chose a people
descended from Abraham, to show to the rest of the nations the
wonderful laws and commandments of His, that would, if obeyed as
a nation, bring great benefits in this physical life here and
now. He brought this nation of Israelites out of Egyptian bondage
into the wilderness by the leadership of Moses and there gave
them His Ten Commandments. Notice what Deut. 5:4 says, "The Lord
talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the
fire." The people of Israel HEARD the voice of God. This is what
they admitted to Moses: "...we have beard His voice out of the
midst of the fire; we have seen this day that God doth talk with
man, and he liveth....For who is there of all flesh that hath
heard the voice of the living God, speaking out of the midst of
the fire, as we have, and lived?" (verses 24,26).
Yet, when the Lord offered them personal contact with Him
they did not want it, but asked Moses to relate the words of God
to them (verses 27). There really was no humble, submissive
heart in them to OBEY and KEEP all of God's commandments that
"it might BE WELL WITH THEM, and with their children FOR EVER!"
Why does the world as a whole have trials, troubles, pain
and sorrow? Partly, and I say partly because as we are seeing,
this topic is many sided. But some of the problems that many
have in this world is due to the fact that most people want God
to "take a ride," "keep your nose of out my business," "go fly
your kite," and so God has left them to their own devices, to
their own ways.
And as wise King Solomon was inspired to write: "There is a
way WHICH SEEMS RIGHT UNTO A MAN, but the end thereof are the
ways of death" (Prov.14:12).
There have been times down through the centuries that some
nations did know the God of this universe, they had contact with
His word and truths, but through the hardness of their hearts
they turned away from those truths, from those commandments that
would have given their peoples health, safety, protection and
Listen to what the apostle Paul had to say about this:
"Because that when they KNEW God, they glorified Him not as
God, neither were THANKFUL: but became vain in their
imaginations, and their FOOLISH HEART WAS DARKENED. Professing
themselves to be wise they became fools. And changed the glory
of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible
man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
WHEREFORE God also GAVE THEM UP to uncleanness, through the lust
of their own heart....Who turned the TRUTH of God into a
lie.....For this cause God GAVE THEM UP unto vile affections
Read all of these verses, the ones before and the ones
after, and let the plain truth ring deep in your heart.
God is by and large, for the present age, letting the world
as a whole, GO ITS OWN WAY, DO ITS OWN THING, AND REAP THE END
RESULT OF TROUBLE, TURMOIL, TRIALS, PAIN, AND SORROW!
And within this fact of God leaving the majority of the
population of the world to its own devices, comes the truth of
"time and chance" and "the innocent becoming prey to the guilty."
The results of sin and rejection of God and His way of life,
laws and commandments, can often have dire consequences upon
those not directly involved in the rebellion. Even if not a
willful rebellion, but done through ignorance, the breaking of
the laws of God can ricochet onto others standing by. A man
determined to throw himself off the top of the Empire State
building can take you with him if you grab his arm to stop him.
This very life principle is given to us in one of the Ten
Commandments of God, notice it in Exodus 20 and verse 5. "......
visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the CHILDREN unto the
third and fourth generation of then that hate me....."
So the world basically on its own, fending for itself, is
WIDE OPEN for "time and chance."
But before the Christian gets too smug or too filled with
"religious vanity" in thinking they are immune from "time and
chance" or the innocent getting trouble from the ways of the
sinner, better read carefully the book of Ecclesiastes for truths
God wants us to understand about life in general.
While it is true that the Christian has God on his side, the
angels serving and helping, the Holy Spirit filling and inspiring
us, the LORD DOES NOT PROMISE HIS CHILD THAT THIS PHYSICAL LIFE
WILL BE FREE FROM "TIME AND CHANCE" - THE INNOCENT SUFFERING FROM
THE GUILTY, OR THAT TRIALS AND TROUBLES MAY COME VIA "TIME AND
Let's see the truth of the matter as contained in the book
of Ecclesiastes. For some this may be NEW and somewhat of a
"All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a
just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a
wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness"
Yes, indeed, some God fearing, right living people, die from
accidents, sicknesses, even killings from the wicked, when young,
middle aged, or old. And then there are those who are evil even
by the world's standards, all their lives, and live to a ripe old
"Because to every purpose there is time and judgment
therefore the misery of man is great upon him. For he knoweth
NOT that which SHALL BE: for who can tell him WHEN it shall be?"
Now it is possible for God to tell you something say through
a prophet, what shall befall you at some time in the future.
This was done at times with the apostle Paul, see Acts 21:10,11.
But for most of us, for most of the time, or all the time, we
know not what shall be our lot from one day to the next.
"Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be
prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that
fear God, which fear before Him" (verse 12).
It must be the end result which the Christian must look at,
not the here and now.
"There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there
be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the
wicked; AGAIN, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth
according to the work of the righteous: I said that this is also
vanity" (verse 14).
There it is, God often allows "Time and Chance" to fall on
the righteous and the unrighteous.
"When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to SEE THE
BUSINESS THAT IS DONE ON THE EARTH: (for also there is that
neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes:) Then I beheld
ALL THE WORK OF GOD, that a man cannot find out the work that is
done under the sun: because though a man labor to seek it out,
yet he shall NOT FIND IT; yea further; though a wise man think to
know it, yet shall he not be able to find it" (verses 16,17).
Friends, there are some things in life that all we can do is
"scratch our heads" and wonder about. There are times when it
seems God just does not make sense. We will have to wait until
the resurrection day and the Lord has returned to answer all our
bewildering questions in this life.
"For man knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken
in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so
are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth
suddenly upon them" (chapter 9:12).
We may ask: Why do some have to die for their Christian
faith, and others living at the same time in the same country
escape with their lives? Why in a terrible car accident that
should have killed everyone does one or more live? Why in the
explosion of a bomb with say six people all standing within the
same range of the bomb, do 4 die and 2 live, as does happen at
The question of time and chance could go on and on, and all
we are left with in this life is wondering.
When Solomon had contemplated all these things that he could
see came upon the just and the unjust, his answer to it was this:
"For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all
this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, ARE IN
THE HAND OF GOD......"(chapter 9:1).
Our life, whether we live or die, is in the hands of the
Lord. He is the potter we are the clay. Let us be confident of
this very thing, as the song writer said:
"When peace, like a river attendeth my way, When sorrows
like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to
say, It is well, it is well with my soul. Though Satan should
buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance
control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath
shed His own blood for my soul."
I want you to read those words again friend from the well
known hymn "It is Well with my Soul" by H.G.Spafford.
Mr.Spafford had lost his only son, a year after his wife and
four daughters boarded ship for England, while he had to stay and
look after some unexpected business. There was a storm, some
fog, and two ships collided. Spafford received a telegram from
his wife in England saying to the effect: I only have arrived
safely, our daughters lost to the sea. He quickly sailed for
England, but asked the captain to tell him when they were over
the area that the ship that his daughters were on went down with
them aboard. As he was standing there overlooking that part of
the ocean he wrote the words to that famous hymn we love to sing
- IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL.
So it is, so it must be, that when all in this physical life
has been allowed by God to come upon us, we must take hope and
courage in the fact that it is well with our inner spiritual soul
and life. That indeed it will be one day as Mr.Spafford went on
"And Lord haste the day when the faith shall be sight, the
clouds be rolled back as a scroll, The trump shall resound and
the Lord shall descend, Even so - it is well with my soul."
TRIALS AND TROUBLES COME UPON US BECAUSE OF OUR OWN FOLLY
When we become a Christian, God does not take away from us
our free agency, our ability to make choices, whether right or
When we are converted and the Lord gives us His Spirit, we
do not instantly acquire the perfect sum total of ALL wisdom.
The word of the Lord has a great deal to say about wisdom.
You may want to take a Bible concordance like Stronge's or
Young's and have a study project, looking up all the places in
God's word that concern and use the word "wisdom."
Ecclesiastes 7:5 says: "It is better to hear the rebuke of
the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools."
Many times the soft soothing notes of foolish talk and ideas
get the better of us, and in following, we bring upon ourselves
troubles and trials.
Verse 12 of the same chapter: "......but the excellency of
knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it."
How many people have said after the fact "Oh if I had only
used more wisdom, I would not have found myself in all this
trouble and turmoil."
Notice verse 19, "Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than
ten mighty men which are in the city."
See what chapter 10 and verse one says: "Dead flies cause
the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savor; so
doth a little folly to him that is in reputation for wisdom and
Just because you usually do things in a wise way does not
automatically mean you have a corner on the market as they say.
Slip up one time and you will probably have to pay the price.
Verse 8 is a basic true-ism: "He that diggeth a pit shall
fall into it; and whoso breaks a hedge, a serpent shall bite
This is not talking about a pit that needs to be dug or a
hedge that needs to be trimmed back, but doing things rashly,
without enough thought behind it, doing something on the impulse
and a little on the "wild side." Act and live this way and sooner
or later you are going to be stung.
A great lesson and teaching is found in 11:1-2. "Cast thy
bread upon the waters; for thou shalt find it after many days.
Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not
what evil shall be upon the earth."
Read also Jesus' instruction as found in Luke 16:1-14.
There is a wisdom of the world that Christians should also
cultivate. In the right attitude of mind serve and help others,
make friends through giving of yourself and your material
possessions, you may need your friends to help you one day. This
is also wisdom to keep you from severe troubles both emotionally
and physically at times.
Now look at the book of Proverbs. Read chapter 3 and verses
one to eight.
Yes, sometimes our trials and troubles come about because we
just plainly disobey the laws and commandments of God, and so we
naturally reap what we have sown. For every effect there is a
cause. Mercy and Truth are not to be taken lightly in our daily
living for "So shalt thou find favor and good understanding in
the sight of God and man" (verse 4). Many troubles could be
avoided through living and practicing truth and mercy.
Verses 11 through 26 contain more vital instructions to help
keep us from the troubles of our own folly.
Able to take and use correction from the Lord in the various
ways He may choose to give it us, is necessary, in order to avoid
the end result of our way that leads to many trials we could
Again notice the emphasis God places on the quality of
wisdom in these verses. Nothing can be compared to her. In its
pathway is pleasantness and peace. You will walk safely without
stumbling. Ah, there is much good when living wisely.
Notice what Proverbs 4:26,27 tells us: "Ponder the path of
thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the
right hand nor to the left; remove thy foot from evil."
By acting too fast or wandering off the straight and narrow,
many unnecessary trials are our lot in life.
Proverbs 11:14, "Where no council is, the people fall; but
in the multitude of counsellors there is safety."
Then put this with chapter 12:15, "The way of a fool is
right in his own eyes; but he that harkeneth unto counsel is
Many of us face troubles because we were just too proud and
vain to ask others for their advice.
Proverbs 14:1, "Every wise woman buildeth her house; but the
foolish plucketh it down with her hands."
We must be willing to learn that there are literal things
that if we do or do not do, we will either reap benefits or
A woman who unloads all her days problems on to her husband
as soon as he opens the door after a days work, will eventually
have a husband who will not want to come home to her. A man who
works 16 hours a day, seven days a week, and has no time for his
wife, will find she probably wants another husband one day who
will give her some time. Such things happen all too often in our
Verse 15, "The simple believeth every word; but the prudent
looketh well to his going."
We often end up in big problems of one sort or another
because we are "gullible" - every sales person can rap us around
their little finger and we get taken for a ride time after time,
never able to learn from the hard knocks we take.
This kind of simple-minded way of life leads us into untold
folly (verse 18).
Sometimes our financial troubles are brought on because of a
lack of action on our part, we are as they say "all talk but no
action." See verse 23.
Oh, the sorrow, pain, and grievous trials, that have been
laid on the heads of some who could not control their angry and
wrathful tongue - verse 29 with 15:1.
Some not controlling their anger have literally killed
another for things that most of us would shrug off as nothing, or
as a very minor unpleasantness on the part of another.
How many youngsters have found themselves in deep water
(over their heads) with the law of the land, because they would
not listen to their parents or take instruction - verse 5.
Then there are those who have brought trouble on themselves
and/or their household because of being all consumed with the
physical things of this world, or bending the rules by taking
bribes and involving themselves in a "scam" of some kind - verse
Some of our health and physical life problems come on us
because we will not accept instruction that could help - verse
Notice the wisdom contained in Proverbs 17:14. "The
beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water; therefore
leave off contention before it is meddled with."
By some sticking their nose into business that was not
theirs to get involved in, many have suffered the pain of having
The Lord instructs us not to be involved in co-signing and
being security even for friends, as this can also bring heartache
and trouble - verse 18.
It has been now scientifically proved that various physical
ailments can be brought on by our emotional attitude - some of
our bodily troubles are self inflicted - verse 22.
Getting involved with the wrong type of person/s and casting
aside those who walk rightly will bring problems and troubles
through your door - chapter 18:5.
Those who think they "know it all" - we commonly call them
"know all's" - and will not listen to others, or have the
attitude that what others may have to say is just "hot air" are
going headlong into the ditch of folly - verse 13.
Wow! Look at verse 21. Those who put their mouth into gear
before their brain will reap t r o u b 1 e.
Chapter 22 and verse 3 is back again to contrasting the
prudent with the simple minded, the wise with the rash and naive
(easily duped, fooled and deceived). The wise can often see the
robber coming and so get out of his way, the simple pass on to be
"fare game" for the predator.
Verses 24-25 talk again about being in the wrong company and
so receiving bad instructions that end in the snare of troubles.
We have nobody to blame but ourselves for some of the
sorrow, hardship, and trials we face. The way out is pure self
control and discipline - chapter 23:2,20,21.
Once more God tells us that we are sometimes responsible for
our difficult circumstances and must just get up off our lazy
backsides - chapter 24:30-34.
Even the doing of some "good things" must be done in balance
and moderation or problems could arise - chapter 25:16.
This reminds me of my Boy-Scout days. We were taught to
always be helpful to others, especially the elderly. Yet we had
a standing joke among ourselves to help us keep the balance. It
went something like this: "Did you hear about Henry getting
smashed over the head with a purse by the little old woman down
the street? No, why did Henry get hit over the head with the old
ladies' purse? Well he was helping her cross the busy street.
Yes, but wasn't that a good thing he was doing? No, not that
time - she didn't want to go."
Now see the wisdom and teaching that verses 17, 19, and 28
bring to our attention. When some of us are in trouble, instead
of running off to find help in stable, faithful, and wise godly
people, we often hook up with those who add more pain to the
Chapter 26:17 tells us that there are problems that some
others have that we would be wise to keep clear of or we will get
a painful bite. Naturally these circumstances here are not life
threatening, but troubles that will be resolved by the parties
involved, and we need not concern ourselves. Again wisdom is
needed to know the difference between when to get involved in
other peoples matters and when not.
The wisdom of Proverbs 27:9 can not be overstated. The
neutral and heart-filled counsel of a well trusted friend can
often be the answer to whether we shall have pain or peace at
some point in our life.
Verse 14 tells us to be wise in even doing "good" to our
very friends. Acting well if not done at the right time and in
the correct manner could bring us t r o u b 1 e!
God teaches us to be circumspect towards our present
physical living so future problems in this area will be greatly
reduced or eliminated altogether (unless the Lord has chosen you
to be a wandering apostle Paul type) - see verses 23-27.
The law and principle that God lays down in not forgetting
the poor is restated over and over again in His word. Many a
"curse" on many a person could be lifted by obeying this one
command alone - chapter 28:27.
Wisdom is the principle thing. But what is wisdom someone
may ask? Knowledge is facts. Understanding is putting those
facts into correct formation. Wisdom is using Knowledge and
Understanding in correct every day practical life situations
whereby only good is the end result.
The whole book of Proverbs is filled with the use of
everyday practical wisdom teachings and situations. It is a book
that is to often neglected in the Christian's reading and study
of the Bible. What a shame, for it contains much that would
deliver us from trials and troubles.
I finish my thoughts on this section by leaving you with
some wise proverbs that were sent to me by a friend:
RESOLUTIONS FOR AVOIDING MISERY AND TROUBLES -
Choose to love rather than hate.
Choose to smile rather than frown.
Choose to build rather than destroy.
Choose to persevere rather than quit.
Choose to praise rather than gossip.
Choose to heal rather than wound.
Choose to give rather than grasp.
Choose to act rather than delay.
Choose to forgive rather than curse.
Choose to pray rather than despair.
TO BE CONTINUED
Written August 1995