“There is nothing new under the sun.” We have all probably heard our grandparents tell us this, but is it indeed true? After all, great Pharaoh didn’t have F-22 jets. The 2 spies couldn’t Skype from Rehabs house to give an update to Moses. Penicillin wasn’t how the lepers were healed. Mary had no Facebook to post Jesus’ newborn pictures to. The New Testament wasn’t written on an iPad. Isn’t it manifestly obvious that things change? Progress happens? We have things the ancients did not? Man is moving up in the world, right?
There is no doubt that technology has changed, new inventions have come on the market, and that we have stuff and know stuff that people even a couple of generations ago had no clue about. So did Solomon get it wrong here? Hardly.
We like what is new. New is better it is perceived. But for all our new stuff, we still have the same problems. New gadgets come, and new gadgets go, but mankind is no different than 6000 years ago. We still have a need to communicate, whether by stone tablet, scroll and parchment, pony express, email, or text message. We still travel, either by walking, horse and buggy, car, or jet plane. We still enjoy music if by David’s lyre or digital download to our iPod. And despite it all we are still sinners who let all this stuff become our idols, and who use it to sinful ends.
No, we change superficial elements of the world around us, but the truth is, there is nothing new under the sun. The ancients could all say of our perceived progress of today, “Been there, done that, got the toga.”
Lord, guard me from intellectual and historical snobbery. Keep me from looking down on those who have gone before me. Instead help me to learn from them. Keep me from the temptations of the new, the improved, and the redesigned. Ground me in the old, old story of Jesus and His love. Amen.”