A Short Study of Ecclesiastes 3:4
“A time to weep.”
Does a man only WEEP once in his life?
Does not the time of weeping run, more or less, through a Christian’s whole life?
Does not mourning run parallel with his existence in this tabernacle of clay? for “man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards” (Job 5:7). Then “a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up” (Ecclesiastes 3:3) must run parallel with a Christian’s life, just as much as “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4).
Living souls will know many times to weep; they will have often to sigh and cry over their base hearts; to mourn with tears of godly sorrow their backslidings from God; to weep over their broken idols, faded hopes, and marred prospects; to weep at having so grieved the Spirit of God by their disobedience, carnality, and worldliness; to be melted into contrition at the feet of a dying LORD, so as in some measure to be led into the path in which Jesus walked as “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3).
They will have to bewail the falling off of those friends whom once they looked upon as bidding fairer for the kingdom of God than themselves; to weep at the cruel arrows of calumny which are shot against them by professors; to mourn over the low state of Zion, how few there are who really serve the Lord acceptably with reverence and godly fear, and adorn the doctrine in all things.
But above all things will they have to weep over the inward idolatries of their filthy nature; to weep that they ever should have treated with such insult that God whom they desire to love and adore; that they should so neglect and turn their backs upon that Saviour who crowns them with loving-kindness and tender mercies; and that they bear so little in mind the instruction that has been communicated to them by the Holy Spirit.
There is many a weeping time for God’s children; and if there be one frame of mind in soul experience more to be coveted than another, it is to be weeping at Jesus’ feet. We have two sweet instances of the LORD’s manifesting Himself to those who were weeping–one to “the woman who was an immoral sinner,” who stood behind him, and washed His feet with her tears; the other was to Mary Magdalene, who “stood outside the sepulcher weeping” (John 20:11).
Oh, how different is the weeping, chastened spirit of a living soul from the hardened, seared presumption of a proud professor!
How different are the feelings of a broken-hearted child of God from the lightness, the frivolity, the emptiness, and the worldliness of hundreds who stand in a profession of religion! How different is a mourning saint, weeping in his solitary corner over his base backslidings, from a reckless professor who justifies himself in every action, who thinks sin a light thing, and who, however inconsistently he acts, never feels conscience wounded thereby!
“Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”