We come now to a very interesting question in Ecclesiastes 1:10, “Is there anything of which one might say, ‘See this, it is new?’” (NASU) Changes in technology are coming so fast these days it makes one’s head spin. Technological advances have changed the way we do virtually everything, seemingly since yesterday. However, I don’t think that is what Solomon was getting at.
The Preacher was considering the human existence at its deepest level: emotions, needs, desires, temptations, meaning of life, purpose of life, etc. In verses four through seven, the Preacher examines the unchanging forces of nature: birth and death, day and night, wind and water. In verses eight and nine, he concludes that nothing really changes, it is all very monotonous, we are never satisfied, and there is nothing new under the sun. In verse ten, he asks the rhetorical question, is there anything that is really new. In the last half of verse ten and verse eleven, he answers his own question. He declares that there is nothing that is new and that which is old is continually recycled. He closes this bleak discussion with a gloomy declaration. He says that once a man is dead and gone, no one will remember. That is not absolutely true in the strictest sense of the word, but it is true for the most part, that the memories of those who have gone before us have been washed away by the forces of time.
One of the oft repeated phrases of Ecclesiastes is “under the sun”. Solomon uses it to describe all of life, physical and spiritual, secular and religious. In fact, I am not sure that he sees any difference in these categories. He uses the phrase “under the sun” to indicate that he has seen all, heard all, experienced all, considered all. Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. Maybe he really was able to consider everything. He seems to conclude that life is a quickly vanishing vapor and what we do is quite meaningless. He is right about that regarding the overwhelming majority of our undertakings. However, that is not the way it has to be. There is much we can do in the spiritual realm that can have lasting, even everlasting, effects. If we learn anything from Ecclesiastes, we ought to learn to focus on that which is eternal: the Word of God and the souls of people. Focusing our efforts on those will store up eternal rewards where the forces of nature, nothing under the sun, can touch them.
To answer Solomon’s question, is anything really new, let me say, yes, at least one thing. Malachi 4:1-3, For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the Lord of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. “You will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing,” says the Lord of hosts. (NASU) The day is coming when the “Sun of Righteousness”, our King, will return. He will rise with healing in His wings. There will be something new under the sun then. We won’t be living under the sun then. We will be living under The Son. Life under the sun is designed to prepare you for life under The Son. Life under The Son will either be a blessing or a burning. What will it be for you?