Archive for January 22nd, 2013

Ecclesiastes 4

Ecclesiastes 4 talks about the reality of life.  It isn’t always a happy thing.  Life happens, and sometimes it just stinks.  There is oppression and death and evil and toil.  There is envy and foolishness. It can be “vanity and a striving after wind”.  Have you ever tried to catch the wind?  You can tell where it is coming from, but you can’t grab it.  You can’t see it or catch it.  It blows around and through and over and under.  It does what it wishes and while we can try to change it, we can’t stop it.  We can’t bottle it up and contain it.  Life is like that.  It happens.  We can direct it somewhat, but we can’t stop it.  Life happens.  It is the way it is.

This chapter contains a very famous truth.  “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up”!  There is power in two.  This is often applied to marriage, and while it certainly fits there, it also applies in every relationship.  God designed us to be part of community and relationships.  We were not created to live a solo life.  We are part of His body and Kingdom.  We are part of something bigger than ourself.  That is true in every relationship we are in.

He goes on to reinforce it this way.  “Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone”?  Have you ever experienced the power of heat that happens when you lie close to someone else.  The multiplier effect of more than one body is significant if you are trying to keep warm.  We see it in the animal world when they huddle together.  But two can generate more heat because it does not dissipate so quickly.  It is a powerful principle and truth.

And as if two illustrations were not enough to drive home the point, the writer gives us yet another.  “And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him – a threefold cord is not quickly broken”.  There is strength when two of us are bound together.  This may be a better illustration of marriage.  Three strands can signify husband, wife and God.  The triple power of that relationship can withstand almost anything if it is bound tightly.  The enemy often comes after one – husband or wife – and tries to isolate them and destroy the marriage that way.  We need to remember the illustration of the cord and the power that comes from being bound tightly, particularly with God.  The writer also reminds us of the folly and foolishness of one “who no longer knew how to take advice”.  There is power in the counsel of others as well.  We are not meant to live this life alone.  There is power in two!

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