Under The Sun #3: Turn! Turn! Turn!


Pastor Barry/ The Gathering Church Under The Sun #3 (Ecclesiastes): Turn! Turn! Turn! To hear this message and others download our free app at The App Store.  Search The Gathering connect.

Turn! Turn! Turn! The Byrds and King Solomon                                                                     Turn! Turn! Turn! was a melody and nine words composed by Pete Seeger in the late 50’s and added to a poem written by King Solomon about 3,000 years earlier (in the end of his reign,    approximately 935 B.C ). and included in the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes.  The song was first  recorded in 1959 and released by the Limeliters in 1962, but it is the the second album by the folk rock band The Byrds (December 1965) that made the song climb the charts in America and created an indelible mark in rock history.

Interestingly enough, lead guitarist and singer of the Byrds, Roger McGuinn, became a Christian, along with his fourth wife Camilla, in 1978.  They have followed Jesus faithfully in their lives into this present day.  Roger says that  he and his wife prayed about doing only Christian music but felt strongly that the Lord had called them to continue to do secular (non-Christian) music and to share Christ with those they come into contact with on tour. Roger always does two or three songs of faith in every concert but he prefers not to preach to the crowd that gathers for his music.  Those that know the McGuinns personally see Christ plainly in their lives.  Roger and Camilla do daily Bible devotions   together every morning and pray for world leaders and unsaved friends.  They take their faith on the road with them and share personally with the people they meet in their    travels. Today Roger is 77 and still making music. He toured with Byrd’s band mate Chris Hillman along with Marty Stuart who are also Christian in the 2018 50th Anniversary “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” Tour.  Last year Roger did a solo tour and this year he is at it once again with great reviews.  You can book tickets to see him in California at the Forum Theater in Thousand Oaks on April 24, 2020.  You can be sure that The Byrd’s hits Tambourine Man and Turn! Turn! Turn! will be among the songs he sings.

A Time For Everything Ecclesiastes 3:1-10, 1 John 4:7-21, Hebrews 2:1-4                                   I was checking out lyric interpretation sites on the song Turn! Turn! Turn! and was amused to see what people said about the meaning of the lyrics.  They ranged from “a montage of events that lead man ultimately to peace and harmony” to a “Commentary of history that cries out against war for peace.”  Finally, I came to one that shocked and delighted me. It said:  “The song was written by King Solomon 3000 years ago and not by Pete Seeger.  It’s in chapter three of Ecclesiastes of the Bible.  Read the whole book and you’ll know exactly what the writer was saying.”  The first reply under that post was: “why do you Christians have to make everything about the Bible and ruin everything?” 

The fact is the song came right out of the Bible so that is where we should go to             understand it.  All Pete Seeger added to the song was “Turn! Turn! Turn!”  and if you want to understand the song that is really what you should do.  Turn the pages of the Bible!  Seeger also added “I swear it’s not to late”. We must pay careful attention… (Hebrews 2:1-4)    

All that king Solomon is saying in this short poetic excerpt from the book is that “there is a time and season for everything that happens in this life.  It is not a commentary on the ethics of each thing mentioned, but only that they exist in this life as we live “under the sun”.  In verse nine “the teacher” reminds us that being responsible for these actions is a “burden” that God has laid upon the human race.  In other words living with the “free will” responsibilities and consequences of our decisions is difficult.  The tough question is asked: “What is gained from this ‘toil’ (constant work)?  Our creator considered that question long ago when he decided to make man a being with a free-will rather than a programmed robot.  God’s desire for mankind is that His creation would know His true love and live in it.  His dilemma? True love and its   embrace can only be realized by having a free-will; however, free-will undoubtedly results in a choice to rebel against God and to be self-centered, the consequences of which destroy love. God chose to give man a free-will to choose love or not and that is why we see the consequences of both decisions in our world today (“a time for everything”).  God, indeed,  has “laid this burden” (free-will and its consequences) upon the human race with hopes that each of us would choose love.  That we would each choose Him.  For God is love, and Christ our illustration, and only He can lead us in that love (1 John 4:7-21).

 “Everything Beautiful” Ecclesiastes 3:11-17, John 3:16-21, Isaiah 61:1-3                               Yes, “there is a time for everything and a season for every activity and choice  under the    heavens; and God has laid the burden of free-will on the human race, but He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has set eternity in the human heart; and no one can fathom what God has done… Who can understand such love that God would come down and die for a     people who had chosen to live in darkness and sin against Him (John 3:16–21). Yet, God chooses not condemn any who would believe in Him but to grant them eternal life in His forever love embrace? Turn! Turn! Turn! Repent and see plainly what God has done for us!  He is the remedy to the ashes we have made from His gift of love.  He makes “beauty from ashes” (Isaiah 61:1-3)…”everything beautiful in its time” when we give our time to Jesus.  What God does will last forever.  We should tremble in His presence because of His amazing grace on we who believe and because of His righteous judgment upon those who reject His redemption… Yes, “there is a time for everything and a season for every activity, a time to judge every deed”.  That burden of choice remains ours… Turn!

We are not Animals! Ecclesiastes 3:18-22, Genesis 1:26-28                                           Contrary to what Solomon journaled in his quest and some scientists say mankind is not like the animals (although the actions of some may say otherwise). We were created to rule (be master) over them (Genesis 1:26). We were created in God’s image. God allows testing in our lives, not to know that we are “like animals”, but to produce perseverance and maturity in our faith so that we will be responsible leaders of this great planet and ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). Without such faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

Animals, with all creation, are certainly affected by sin, but animals are not sinners. Sin is a transgression of God’s law that He gave to man. It is rebellion against God in thought, word, or deed (1 John 3:4). Animals did not rebel against God; man did.  God has given man the Bible so that He is without an excuse to live like an animal.  He has offered man redemption so that He will no longer live in sin.  The Bible doesn’t tell us anything about where animals go when they die but God makes it very clear to men.  We are to enjoy the “work” that God has given us to do and that work is to always glorify Him, judgment for that work is ours and not our pets!    Pay careful attention and don’t ignore such a great salvation (Hebrews 2:1-4).


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