|Vol. 13 No. 4 April 2011||
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
In the next few months (less than six) I will have the privilege, Lord willing, of performing two marriage ceremonies. Chad and Jessica are getting married in April. Then, in October my son Chris and his sweet fiancée Kari will be getting married. For some reason, as I was thinking of these upcoming nuptials, this passage popped into my mind. I do not imagine that Solomon, speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, was talking specifically about marriage, but I do believe that these verses apply very aptly to a discussion of marriage.
In looking at this passage, I want to examine the very last phrase first: “A threefold cord is not quickly broken.” His point is that an individual can be more easily overcome if he or she is alone. Two together are more likely to overcome. However, ultimately, he says a “threefold cord” is not easy to break. I picture a rope that is three strands intertwined. I cannot think of a more significant point for marriage: three makes a marriage truly strong and resilient: A husband, a wife and God. There will be so many things during the life of a married couple that will tear at the very fiber of their lives. If they are intertwined with one another, and especially if they have invited God to be a part of their marriage, they can stay strong and overcome. The trials of the world may cause some fraying, but they cannot overcome this three-fold relationship.
The idea, from verse 9, that two are better than one certainly fits the idea of marriage. What greater joy can there be than two laboring together, and being able to enjoy the fruits of their labor together. Husbands and wives should rejoice with each other, and support each other as they proceed through their life together. Selfishness has no part in a truly successful marriage.
Verse 10 speaks to another significant point in marriage. When one partner falls, the other is there to pick him or her up. When sickness comes, one mate will care for and help the sick mate. When problems arise for one mate, he or she can lean on the other one. It bothers me to hear someone say that marriage is a “50-50” proposition. The problem with that is that if you are called on to give more, then you resent it, and are angered by it. As a whole, marriage should be a 100-100 proposition, each giving it all. However, there are times when troubles, sickness or pressures will take a toll on one mate. At those times one may not be able to “give 100%,” and the other mate may have to give much more. That is when it will be seen if a marriage is truly strong or not!
Then, in verse 11 the question is asked, “How can one be warm alone?” The warmth and comfort of being able to hold the one that you love with all your heart in your arms is a marvelous blessing of marriage. Marriage should be a haven of comfort. Of course, there will be disagreements (it is the union of two individuals, with individual thoughts and emotions), but marriage should be predominantly a place of safety and love. It should be the one place where each individual can simply be himself or herself. Marriage should bring warmth of spirit, heart and body as each mate, literally and figuratively, folds the other mate into welcoming arms of love, care and tenderness. It should warm your heart every time you see your mate. It should be with deep contentment that you take your place by his or her side each night.
For Chad and Jessica, and for Chris & Kari, I say a prayer that their marriages will last for many years, and they will be truly successful marriages, based on love for each other and for God. May they feel the warmth of each other’s company within their individual marriages. May they be strong in overcoming the trials they will undoubtedly face, but may they share the warmth of each other’s love that makes each day worth living, and each new event truly a blessed adventure. Two committed souls are truly better than one, when it comes to a happy marriage.
Mark N. Posey
The Rich Man in Luke 16 begged Abraham to send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool his tongue because, he said, “I am tormented in this flame” (24). I believe this is a true story. Therefore, the rich man has been tormented in the flames of hell for almost 2,000 years. Notice some lessons the rich man learned in Hell. The Rich Man learned…
The meaning of eternity. Jesus said, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”Notice the word “everlasting.”
There are no second chances after death. Death seals our destiny. Hebrews 9:27 says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”
One cannot leave the torments of Hell for the comfort of Heaven. The “great gulf”is a definite dividing line.
The real meaning of pain. He said, “I am tormented in this flame.”
The meaning of accountability. Romans 14:12 says, “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
The meaning of Hell. Revelation 20:15 says, “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”Revelation 21:9 says that all sinners “shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.”If we could see sin as God sees it, we would understand why Hell exists!
The meaning of Evangelism. He said, “father... send him to my father’s house... for I have five brethren.” He learned the value of a soul, but it was too late.
It was too late to pray. He said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me... I pray thee.”Prayer is a wonderful thing. Pray to God while there is still time!
God meant what He said. God will punish the unbeliever and the unfaithful (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Do you believe that?
Death is not the end. The soul goes on living even though the body dies; it is eternal! David said, “your heart [soul] shall live for ever”(Psalm 22:26).
Conclusion: Please, do not wait until judgment to learn these valuable lessons. Your soul is too important and eternity is too long to “gain the whole world and lose your own soul” (Mark 8:36)!