7-1 “Time and chance” ?
Despite all this clear teaching, we seem to find the active participation of God in every movement within His universe hard to accept. This is maybe due to our lack of faith in the vastness of God's manifestation through the Angels. And as Jesus reasoned, if there is such intense Angelic participation and presence in the natural creation, how much more in the new spiritual creation? But the Lord's people seem to find it hard to accept that God has not left the natural creation to run according to its' 'own' so called 'laws' . Hence their problem in grasping the extent of Angelic control over their lives?
For those readers who by now are chanting "time and chance happeneth to all men":
- "All men" in Ecc. 9:11 in the context seems to mean "all men" literally- we are quick to say it does in Ecc. 3:20 and other 'mortality of man' passages. It is impossible that time and chance in the sense of events in our lives should happen by random to believers, without any control of God. Do "all things work together for good" to us, or only some things?
- "Time and chance" is probably a Hebraism for death- whether wise (spiritually) or strong or swift, the same thing, "time and chance", happens to all; i. e. death. Ecc. 9:12 backs this up: "For man also knoweth not his time (i. e. of death). . as the birds that are caught in the snare (i. e. killed); so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them". The context back in v. 4,5 is clearly talking about the universality of death.
- "Chance" does not mean 'random' or uncontrolled events. The Hebrew root by contrast implies something specifically ordained- often by God.
There are important implications following from these ideas with regard to our faith in prayer. It seems to the present writer that our belief that the world is going on inevitably by clockwork is one of the things which militates against faith. To give a simple example: we may need to catch a certain train which is to leave at 9a. m. We wake up late at 8:45a. m. and find it hard to have faith in our (all too hasty) prayer that we will get it, because we are accustomed to trains leaving on time (at least in the Western world). But if we have the necessary faith to believe that each individual action in life is the work of God, then it is not so hard to believe that God will make the action of that train leaving occur at 9:30 a. m. rather than at 9a. m. when He normally makes it leave.
On a higher level, the same applies to miracles. It is hard for men to believe that Jesus could suddenly create fully grown fish- i. e. that matter should be created from nothing- because this contradicts the so-called 'laws' of science. But if we accept that such 'laws' are purely man made, resulting from his observations of how God normally or often works in man's limited experience, and are a product of pseudo-science ("the lie" men chose to believe as opposed to God), and that each action in life is consciously controlled by an Angel, then it becomes easier to have faith that 'miraculous' things have and do happen, not least because our concept of what a 'miracle' is changes. We no longer need define it as a super-natural occurrence, but as a specific action by God performed in a way we are not used to. Remember that Heb. 11:1,2 defines faith as the ability to believe that the world was created by the word of God (through the Angels) so that the things which we now see were not created out of matter which previously existed. One of the most fundamental laws of science and of the human understanding of the world is that matter cannot be created or destroyed. Yet Hebrews 11 shows us that faith flatly contradicts this- God (through His Angels) did create matter. And so in every aspect of life the same challenge comes to us, that God through the Angels is greater than the natural 'laws' which the flesh imagines control reality.