On Monday, it seemed that much of life was paused for the rare opportunity to see a full (or almost full depending on your region) eclipse. The event included the moon passing between the earth and the sun—known as a solar eclipse. It was a rare event, and one that was celebrated by many people who took off work and in many cases, traveled out of town to be in the direct path of the dance between the sun and the moon.
What else happened on Monday other than every store within driving distance selling out of eclipse glasses? Something else occurred that we should pay close attention to. According to Netflix, the eclipse caused a 10% drop in their overall streaming service on Monday. Netflix is not just an app on your phone or a service for your television, it’s a very successful company. In 2016, they brought in $8.83 billion dollars in revenue—half of which came from American customers. Therefore, when a sudden 10% drop happens, it gains the attention of the entire company.
The following tweet was sent out as a humorous way to acknowledge the eclipse frenzy on Monday, but embedded in that tweet was a subtle message that we shouldn’t overlook too quickly.
Hey, just wondering why 10% of you chose to watch a giant rock cover a giant ball of gas when I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THERE FOR YOU.
— Netflix US (@netflix) August 22, 2017
Apparently this rare solar event caused 10% of Netflix’s customers to take to the skies rather than their screens. Netflix noticed this and suddenly called out for their audience’s attention. What lessons can we learn from the Netflix eclipse on Monday?
- The world (take Netflix as an example) refuses to see such events as a sparkle of God’s glory in creation. It’s more than a giant rock passing by a ball of gas. It points to the glory and sovereignty of God.
- We are too screen happy in our present culture. How many interesting things are we missing on a regular basis because we’re looking down at our screens rather than looking up at creation?
- Has fictional life on a screen in form of a movie or television show replaced the thrill of real life?
- Could it be that our time spent on electronic devices is completely out of hand? If you think so, what exactly are you doing to monitor and manage your online and offline time in your home? What about your children, what ways are you monitoring them and encouraging them to look up and enjoy life?
Consider the way in which God’s Word speaks about creation pointing to God and bringing him glory:
In Genesis 1:1, we see the Bible beginning with an emphatic declaration of God as the Creator of all things. In Job 12:7-10, God and his sovereign work is put on display. According to Paul in Romans 1:20, the whole world has become witnesses to the glory of God in creation to the point that nobody can deny it. Interestingly enough, in John 1:3 and Colossians 1:15-17, Jesus is given credit as the God of creation.
As we continue to flip the pages of the Bible, we find these important words in Psalm 19:1 as the Psalmist says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” On Monday, the glory of God was put on display in a masterful way. Suddenly, people took time to put away their screens, their phones, their tablets, and every other electronic device that demands so much attention in order to look up to the sky. As the sun and moon crossed paths, people beneath on the sod of earth were amazed. God uses his creation to display his glory and we should witness it with a sense of amazement. John Newton, the author of Amazing Grace describes a time when he witnessed the eclipse of the moon. He wrote the following in his diary for July 30, 1776:
Tonight I attended an eclipse of the moon. How great, O Lord, are thy works! With what punctuality do the heavenly bodies fulfill their courses. . . . I thought, my Lord, of Thine eclipse. The horrible darkness which overwhelmed Thy mind when Thou saidst, “Why hast thou forsaken me?” Ah, sin was the cause—my sins—yet I do not hate sin or loathe myself as I ought.”
How much more of God’s creation and glory is missed on a daily basis because people aren’t looking? It’s no secret that we are all hooked on technology. Isn’t it about time that we ask ourselves what we’re missing as we binge another series on Netflix? If you drifted off to sleep on Monday thinking about that cool moment that you shared with your family, why not plan on having more of those moments—away from the screens? Consider what Paul Tripp said in his book, Dangerous Calling, “All creation is meant to be a finger pointing us to ultimate glory, the only glory that can ever satisfy the human heart, the glory of God.” 
- Paul Tripp, Dangerous Calling, (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012), 49.