What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
Each new generation likes to think that it has something unique and different from what has gone before. If they would look more closely, they would find that it had been done before. Hair styles go from short to long and back to short again. Fashions also run in cycles. But what of modern science? Do we not have something new and different here? If only Solomon had seen the wonders we have—cars, jets, electric lights . . . Then he would never have said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Or would he? It’s true we have many conveniences which Solomon never saw, but what really have they changed? The book of Ecclesiastes is speaking about the human condition “under the sun,” here on earth. What is different? Planes and cars get us places more quickly, but what does that change? The dreams and dissatisfactions and sins that hearts harbor are still the same. A man can harbor thoughts of greed while he is riding on a plane just as well as when he is riding a horse-drawn cart.
At the turn of the twentieth century, the world was filled with optimism, as epitomized in the suggestion of Emile Coué (1857-1926), “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.” Mankind had finally arrived—supposedly. The human race was on the brink of a new age of peace and prosperity. Then World War I came and blasted away such dreams. So it is that in the basics of life nothing changes. Babies are born, and one generation passes on to another. The sun still rises and sets; the wind blows; rivers still flow into the sea (verses 2-11). People still work for a living. We still have times of war and peace, planting and harvest, building and destruction, sorrow and laughter, loving and hating.
Nor have God’s mercy and love changed. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). In him we find unchanging peace and hope.
Heavenly Father, keep us always focused on your everlasting love. Amen.
From the book by Roland Cap Ehlke, Better Than Gold: Wisdom from the Word of God (Milwaukee: Ehlke Works, 2021).
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There are readers who suppose that the Global Journal is limited to Lutheran or quasi-Lutheran authors. Of course, since God is Lutheran, there will be a powerful influence of Lutheran confessional theology in the Journal’s lineup of scholarly articles. However, that hardly means that Lutheran chauvinism defines this publication. Issue 18/3 will demonstrate this clearly by way of the Revd Jeffrey S. McDonald’s contributions dealing with two fine orthodox Presbyterian theologians whose impact on evangelical thought and opposition to liberal deteriorations in Reformed ecclesiastical circles had wide impact.
John Warwick Montgomery