I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favour to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.Ecclesiastes 9:11-12
When Solomon uses the phrase ‘under the sun’ throughout the book of Ecclesiastes, he is referring to a worldview that has NO PLACE for the God who has revealed himself so clearly in his Creation, in his inspired Word, the Bible, and will ultimately reveal himself in his One-and-Only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
This worldview is the one that is firmly held by ALL the descendants of Adam in their natural state (what the Apostle Paul calls ‘the mind governed by the flesh’ or ‘the sinful mind’ in Romans 8:7, and which he refers to there as being ‘hostile to God’).
It is only the ‘re-birthing’ power of the Holy Spirit that can change this ingrained condition into a mind governed by a worldview that humbly receives, acknowledges, and submits to God’s self-revelation, which is why Jesus told the ‘religious’ Jewish leader, Nicodemus, “You must be born again” (John 3:3-8)!
So we can see why King Solomon’s wise but depressing description of an ‘under the sun’ world is so apt and fitting for the state of our world today! Most people alive today, and particularly those that influence our culture so powerfully and effectively through the various media, operate, speak and interpret from an ‘under the sun’ worldview. If we work from this erroneous perspective, we are forced to the conclusion that Solomon’s wisdom warns us about: “The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favour to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them”
However, when we are ‘born again’ of God’s Spirit, and take hold of his saving grace through faith and trust in Jesus, the light goes on, and we see clearly that all the seemingly confusing aspects of Solomon’s description are in fact things that are fully under God’s sovereign control and are being used by God to fulfil his eternal purposes for his glory and our ultimate benefit.
What a difference this makes to our outlook on life! Solomon’s ‘under the sun’ ‘time and chance happen to them all’ becomes the deliberate action of a loving God who cares deeply for the people whom he has so graciously redeemed through the finished work of his Son on the Cross and via the Empty Tomb. Thank you, Solomon, for showing us how important it is to have a correct perspective – a TRUE worldview!