For the sun is that which we see rising daily at His command, but it will never reign, nor will its splendour last forever. And all those who worship it will be subject to grievous punishment. We, however, worship the true sun, Christ, who will never perish. Nor will those who do His bidding.
- Patrick, Confession, Irish, 5th century
The sun also rises, and the sun goes down,
And hastens to the place where it arose.
- Ecclesiastes 1.5
Solomon regarded his quest for wisdom as a “burdensome task” (Eccl. 1.13). To gain the wisdom God had promised, he applied himself diligently to careful observation of the creation around him, in the light of what God had revealed to him in His Word. Read his Proverbs to see how many situations, people, and creatures he observed, and what he learned from them of wisdom.
But self-interest led him to turn away from God, and as he did, the patterns of creation no longer yielded wisdom. He turned from seeing life “under the heavens” to indulging it “under the sun”. Thus Solomon sought the things of creation as ends in themselves; and they yielded, rather than wisdom, only vanity, as he wrote in Ecclesiastes.
He wasn’t worshiping the sun exactly, but he was devoted to acquiring as much of what was under it as he could.
Modern, secular people don’t worship the sun like the pagan Celts of ancient Ireland. They do, however, trust wholeheartedly in what it represents – order, predictability, and life for another day. They set their watches by the sun, manage their lives by the sun, rejoice when the sun shines on Sunday so they can hurry off to their several diversions, and are happy at the tan the sun obligingly provides.
Under the sun’s reliable course, people indulge all manner of material possessions and sensual experiences, which they hope to enjoy for as long as the sun will shine. They suppose, as Robert Jastrow wrote, that a day is coming when our sun will die, and everything will become cold and dead. But until then, the people of our day pursue their lives under the sun with all the gusto they can muster, to gain whatever benefits and advantages they can.
The earth’s course around the sun, and its revolutions in relation to it, are symbolic of everything our modern generation holds dear – a stable world that can be a source of pleasure, predictably. In a song from The Sound of Music – omitted from the film version – a friend of the captain celebrates his narcissistic approach to life by seeing himself as the center of the universe and the object of the sun’s existence:
Thus every star and every whirling planet
And every constellation in the sky
Revovles around the center of the universe,
That lovely thing called “I.”
And that’s a pretty good summation of how many in our contemporary “under the sun” generation understand their own lives.
But truly a day is coming when He Who rules the sun will cast it from the sky, and all that is beneath it. What then for all those who have trusted in materialistic, mechanical, impersonal processes rather than the God of grace?
“Vanity of vanities” won’t cover the depths of fear and terror that will grip them when they are confronted with the face of Him Whose blessings they enjoyed without gratitude, Whose invitations they spurned, Whose sacrifice they scorned, and from Whose ways and wisdom they picked and chose as they liked, without a shred of thankfulness.
And what of us on that day? Will those condemned by the Son of God look to us in horror, wondering why we never warned them, never urged them to seek higher aspirations, never showed or told them about the Son of Love? Never pointed out to them the Way to life under the heavens?
Each day we remain silent before our modern sun-worshipers, failing to show and speak to them of the true Son on high, we add to their misery and wrap ourselves in wood, hay, and stubble.
We need revival, friends. We need God to quicken our hearts and open our eyes to the sad lives and vain pursuits of our lost neighbors. For only as we are revived like Patrick was, will we bask in the true Light of the Son of God, and, filled with His radiant love, beam grace and hope to the under-the-sun worshipers of our day.
Pray that God will revive His Church and renew our mission to this materialistic and narcissistic age, that awakening may result all over the world.
1. Will you pray daily for revival? How will you do that?
2. What can you do to keep from sliding, like Solomon, into an “under the sun” lifestyle?
Psalm 149 (Toulon: I Greet Thee Who My Sure Redeemer Art)
Sing to the Lord a glorious song and new!
Praise Him you people, to Whom praise is due!
Let us rejoice, let us be glad in Him
Who has created us and cleansed our sin.
Praise Him with dance, with tambourine and lyre!
To be so praised is God’s one great desire.
Lord, beautify Your holy ones with grace;
show us the mercy of Your saving face.
Sing to the Lord, exult with great delight!
Sing on your beds with joy to God by night!
Sing praise and take His Word into your hand;
publish His grace and wrath in every land!
Lord, give me boldness to speak of the true Son to the people I know. Help me today as I…
Praying for revival
Our free book, Restore Us!, has all you need to know about why and how to pray for revival, and how to get a group of people together to join you in this effort. Order your copy by clicking here.
Free Christmas Gifts
Luther’s great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”, can strengthen our faith, but only as we sing it understanding what he intended. Our book, A Mighty Fortress, walks through each stanza of Luther’s hymn to reveal the powerful testimony this song provides. Order your free copy by clicking here. Order several copies and give them to friends for Christmas. Also, our booklet, Joy to Your World!, can show you how to be more consistent in working your Personal Mission Field. Order your free copy today (click here). Please order by December 15 to make sure you get your gifts on time.
Thanks so much to those of you who faithfully support the work of The Fellowship of Ailbe. God uses your gifts and prayers to reach thousands of people every day in over 120 countries. We praise the Lord for His having moved and enabled you to share with us in this ministry.
If you’re not a supporter of this ministry, won’t you please prayerfully consider making a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe? Only God can move you to do this, and we believe He intends to support this ministry from within the ranks of those who are served by it. If this includes you, please seek the Lord in this matter. You can click here to donate online with your credit card or through PayPal, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
T. M. Moore, Principal
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.