Life Under the Sun
“Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain.”
The Book of Ecclesiastes keeps on referencing the world “under the Sun”. What does the writer mean by this?
The writer of the book of Ecclesiastes is referred to in Hebrew as Qohelet. This word describes an office rather than a name and refers to one who addresses a gathering, assembly, or congregation. Therefore, Qohelet is often roughly translated as teacher or preacher.
Qohelet is usually thought to be King Solomon because he describes himself as being the “son of David” and also places great emphasis on the use of wisdom. But in Ecclesiastes, he sometimes seems to despise wisdom. There is a reason for this. It is to do with the oft-repeated phrase “under the Sun”. By this phrase, Qohelet is referring to life as it appears without reference to God. The implication is that we should not be living our lives “under the Sun”. We should, instead, reference everything by God. When we fail to do so, simply trying to make our own way in the world, everything that we attempt is worthless – a vanity of vanities, or a grasping after the wind.
Qohelet pursues a series of arguments to show that every human endeavor “under the Sun” ends up being worthless. This is why he ends his book by urging “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth”. It is when we understand that God is the Creator that we realize we should involve Him in every aspect of our lives. Then our lives have meaning and substance.
We know, Lord, that unbelievers do not acknowledge You as Sovereign. Forgive us when our attitude can be similar. We pray that You enable us to give You full control of our lives. Amen.
Author: Paul F. Taylor
Ref: Henry, M. Commentary on the Whole Bible. Image: NASA, Public Domain.