For man also knows not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare…
I. CONSIDER THE EVIDENCES OF THE FACT — that "man knoweth not his time."
1. With respect to men in general, they do not know the time of their visitation. This is evidently the case with the impenitent and unbelieving, who disregard the tokens both of the favour and displeasure of God. The founder melteth in vain, and the wicked are not plucked away. The day of opportunity is lost, perhaps never to be regained. Nor can Christians themselves be wholly acquitted of the charge of inattention. Too apt are we to deprive ourselves of the gracious presence of the Saviour for the want of a little more humility and self-denial.
2. Man knoweth not his time as to the seasonable performance of various duties. Sometimes we have had, loud calls to humiliation and prayer, when, like Israel of old, we have given ourselves up to joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine (Isaiah 22:13). Sometimes we have had a favourable opportunity of bearing our testimony to the important doctrines of the Gospel, or the equally important duties of practical religion: yet we have neither had a heart nor a tongue to speak, when a few words might have had a very happy effect.
3. We do not know the time when afflictions will come, or when we shall be delivered out of them. God has an appointed time for both. All events are safe in His hands, but they are at the same time concealed. His counsel shall stand, and He will do all His pleasure. We can no more advance or retard God's work than we can hasten the rising sun, or hinder its going down (Isaiah 60:22).
4. We know not the time of our continuance in life or departure out of it.
5. We know not the day of judgment, or the final period of all things. Our ignorance in this respect is best suited to that state of subjection to the wisdom and sovereignty of God in which we are placed, and to the nature of that economy which He has established, as well as to the limited extent of our frailties.
II. INQUIRE THE REASON WHY MAN IS LEFT IN IGNORANCE OF PARTICULAR TIMES AND SEASONS.
1. It tends to do honour to the Divine government (Proverbs 25:2).
2. The knowledge of times and seasons would be injurious to us rather than advantageous. Hereby faith, hope, and patience, so much adapted to a probationary state, are kept in continual exercise; and by being exercised are strengthened and increased.IMPROVEMENT:
1. This subject teaches us to repress a prying and inquisitive temper, and the wish of being wise above what is written (Deuteronomy 29:29; John 21:21, 22).
2. Learn to be thankful for that degree of information which God has been pleased to impart. All that is necessary to be known, both as to faith and practice, is sufficiently revealed; and the more necessary the knowledge, the clearer is the revelation.
(B. Beddome, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For man also 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.
WEB: For man also doesn't know his time. As the fish that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare, even so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falls suddenly on them.