NO NEW THING UNDER THE SUN

April 18, 2021

Last week (April 11, 2021) my blog post was titled, “FEAR NOT.”  Today’s post has some similarities to last week’s post. I thought of doing last week’s post in two parts, Part 1 and Part 2, but I changed my mind because both these posts are independent enough to be stand-alone posts. But I will be making some references to last week’s post today.

I’m sure that most of you recognize that the title of today’s post comes from Ecclesiastes 1:9. But frankly, the whole book comes into play in this post as Solomon continues repeating over and over that there is nothing new taking place in the world of his day, nor would there be anything new in the future. I’ll explain what Solomon meant when he refers to nothing new in the future in this post. I’m sure you’ll agree with my explanation.

In 1964, a popular singer at the time, Bob Dylan, recorded one of his most famous songs. The title was, “THE TIMES, THEY ARE A CHANGIN’.” Dylan wrote most of what he recorded, but this song, in particular, made the critics (good and bad), say that Dillon was indeed a modern-day-prophet. I always disagreed with that assessment of Dylan’s being any kind of prophet. Why? Because what he said in this song was the same thing Solomon observed about time and life before his time and in his present time and the future.

Remember, Solomon had the opportunity to ask God anything he wanted. Solomon asked  God to give him wisdom. The book of Ecclesiastes is all about how Solomon used the wisdom that God gave him. You can also read about the same thoughts from the Book of Wisdom found in Catholic Bibles. Solomon was considered to be the wisest man who ever lived – also the richest.

When Solomon spoke about there being nothing new under the sun he was obviously speaking of types of things or events. All that Solomon knew of that had happened in the past was still happening over and over again in his day and he said it would be that way in the future too. He was saying as we hear often today, things are just happening in cycles. Sometimes vicious cycles.

Let me back up a bit in chronological happenings of events in biblical history.

I’ll focus on one event before Solomon’s time. This story is found in Joshua, the quote I’ll focus on is from chapter 3, verse 4. Joshua had recently taken over the leadership of the Hebrew people from Moses who had died. Joshua had seen many things in his lifetime. Particularly, how God chose and used Moses to deliver the Hebrews from 400 years of slavery in Egypt. He had seen the many great miracles God had used against Egypt to convince the Pharaoh at the time to let God’s people go. How awesome in Joshua’s memory it must have been, the opening up of the Red Sea to allow the Hebrews to cross over to the other side on dry ground.

Eventually would come the time when Joshua was told by God that it was time to cross over the Jordan River to possess the long-awaited promised land. Normally the Jordan River was about 100 feet wide. But now the rains had come and the Jordan River was a mile wide and raging. The people wondered how could they cross such a river? God told Joshua to assemble the people by the edge of the river for three days before they would cross over to the other side.

That’s when Joshua told the people in the latter part of Joshua 3:4, “For ye have not passed this way heretofor.” Joshua was speaking of a particular fact that would be new to the Hebrews assembled by the edge of the river. He was speaking of passing over Jordan to enter the promised land and to wage war against Jericho, a walled, highly fortified city, and 17 other such cities to take possession of what God had promised His people for many generations. War was not new to God’s people. War was fought both on the offense and defense of the Hebrews since Abraham and before.

This is but one of the types of events that Solomon spoke of when he said there was nothing new. War still goes on today and will till the Lord returns. We fight differently in modern wars than the wars Solomon knew about. He could not imagine wars being fought today with aircraft and bombs and missiles, etc. But modern war is still war, still hell to those doing combat.

Solomon knew that births would continue to happen and deaths would continue. Nothing new. Solomon knew all about political corruption before his time, and he was certain in the future too. Again, nothing new. Only the names and places would change.

Last week’s post spoke of the fear going on throughout this great earth over the Covid-19 pandemic.  Again, nothing NEW.

Let’s review some of the great pandemics on this earth.

  1. The greatest and most deadly pandemic was the Black Death pandemic (a type of bubonic plague)  believed to have started around 1347 A.D. There are estimates that it killed 200 million people before it ran its course.
  2. The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, believed to have killed about 100 million people before it ran its course.
  3. The plague of Justinian, the bubonic plague, beginning around 549 A.D. with estimates of 100 million people dying before it ran its course.
  4. The AIDS virus killing up to around 35 million people so far.

I’m skipping to the 9th worst plague so far. It’s not over so the numbers may continue to rise before it runs its course. We call it COVID-19. To put the death toll as it relates to the eight pandemics before it began makes us all wonder why all the publicity about it. Could it be because there are more media outlets than ever before or could it even be political reasons? I’ll let you be the judge of the answer. In a little over a year since the COVID virus started, there have been approximately 3 million deaths worldwide as of yesterday’s numbers.

Solomon would say that’s just another disease. Nothing NEW. Can we see what Solomon meant? Nothing new under the sun.

People continue to learn new things and we think technology is new. No, there is always new learning, but not new types of events. People used to think the earth was flat. But they learned better and continued with sailing their ships further and further out to sea and eventually around the globe. Was sailing and shipping new? Again, Solomon would say no.

I could go on but won’t because I’m running long on my word count.

So I close with this encouraging thought. We don’t know what tomorrow may bring, but we do know Who holds tomorrow. Thank God!

God Bless,
Spencer and Sandra Plumley

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