The Value of a Friend
9 Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Devotional Study in 3 parts:
History Behind These verses
Relevance to Us Today
History Behind These Verses
The book of Ecclesiastes was written by King Solomon toward the end of his life. Early on in his life, King Solomon earnestly sought after God. Because of this, God blessed him with both wisdom and riches. Solomon was happy and fulfilled until he started putting his wealth and success above his relationships. From the outside it looked as if Solomon had everything a person could ever want. The book of Ecclesiastes proves otherwise. This book is full of Solomon's realizations of how his earthly pursuits were meaningless. Solomon had turned from God and his other healthy relationships and began seeking "things" instead of seeking God. He then began to realize that all of his wealth was pointless without relationships! The book of Ecclesiastes is Solomon's warning to us. He wants us to learn from his mistakes. Solomon wants us to know that the only way to have true happiness in life is to seek a life FULL of loving relationships both with GOD and with others.
I think it is vital as we read the Bible to slow down and mediate on some of the key words.
Let's take a few moments to notice some important words in Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12 and discover their significance.
Key Word: BETTER
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12New King James Version (NKJV)
The Value of a Friend
9 Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor.
Better: this word is a comparative. It means better than good, but not as good as "best". As I look at the word "better" in this passage, I consider all 3 words: good, better, and best. We do receive a reward for work that we do. Seeing an accomplishment and knowing that our hands helped achieve it definitely brings a GOOD reward (a feeling of usefulness). In this passage Solomon uses the word BETTER, so working with others must somehow surpass working alone. I think working in pairs or teams surpasses working alone because it is a way for us to invite LOVE into our toil! When we work with a partner or team we not only are achieving something (which is good), we are ALSO allowing a relationship to occur (which is even BETTER). As I continue to mediate on this verse, I begin to wonder what would need to happen to change the word "better" to "best"... THEN I notice the LAST sentence.... "a cord of THREE strands is not quickly broken"..... it is then that I realize the answer. In order to turn the word BETTER to the word BEST we need a CORD OF 3!!!! THREE ARE THE BEST! To have a cord of 3 we need a 3 way connection: we need ourselves for the first cord (of course), Christian friends for the second cord, and a strong dependence on GOD for the third cord! Having a cord of 3 will bring the BEST reward possible for our labor. With the "cord" of 3, we achieve the MOST- we feel useful because of our work, we build a relationship with another person, AND we grow closer to God!
Relevance To Us Today
How often do we let our relationships suffer as we try to BUILD our own individual success?
Let's learn from Solomon! He had wisdom given to him from GOD Himself!
From this day forward let's vow to put our focus BACK on RELATIONSHIPS!
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