At the end of Chapter 2, Solomon begins to wrap up his arguments about how everything in life is disappointing and will always leave us empty and meaningless. He said in Chapter 1, that we are really nothing more significant 14 grim reaperthat dust in the wind. Next, he said man’s pursuit of meaning and fulfillment in life is like “trying to catch the wind.” It won’t happen. He surveyed everything in life with that same conclusion. Work won’t satisfy. Wisdom won’t satisfy! Pleasure won’t satisfy! Money won’t satisfy! Sex won’t satisfy! Drugs and alcohol won’t satisfy! Nothing will result in true satisfaction in this life. Then Solomon moves on in the closing passages of chapter 2 to moan the reality of the one great equalizer! It’s death. He talks about the wise man and the fool and says that no matter which you are or where you fall in the scale from a fool to a genius (Ecclesiastes 2:14), “…yet I perceived that the same event happens to all of them.”

The one inescapable reality was expressed fairly strongly by Neil Diamond in his song, “Done too soon.” It’s simply a recitation of the names of famous people who died, some young, some old, some by suicide, but all of them famous in their own way. At the end of the song he finally explains why he’s simply singing a bunch of names, “And each one there has one thing shared. They have sweated beneath the same sun, looked up in wonder at the same moon and wept when it was all done for being done too soon…”

When Dr. Haddon Robinson preached from this passage in Ecclesiastes, according to Phil Ryken, “he recounted what it was like for him to stand at the graveside of a man who had a working knowledge of thirty-four languages. Most people know only one or two languages, at the most, but here was a man who understood nearly three dozen. Yet in the end it didn’t matter how smart he was—he was still as dead as could be.” Psalm 49:10 says, “…even the wise die; the fool and the stupid alike must perish…” But God so loved us that He sent His Son to pay the penalty for our sins so that we may have “eternal” life. Knowledge of God and a relationship with Jesus is a new kind of wisdom and understanding. It’s not like the wisdom of this world that is buried along with its owners. The knowledge of Christ leads to eternal life. That’s what we read in 1 John 5:20. It says, “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”