The Reading: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
“A threefold cord is not easily broken” (v. 12) RSV
Two are better than one, for if one falls the other can help. This is the thrust of our passage from Ecclesiastes. The best example of this is to be found in a good marriage. This is not to decry the single life, but most people find that they need mutual companionship and encouragement. Marriage can be an enormous strength to both parties.
But another example of the strength of two is to be found in the friendship of Jonathan and David. The bible says that their love for one another was stronger than the love of women (2 Samuel 1:26). David was hounded by Jonathan’s father, King Saul, and was in fear for his life, but Jonathan helped him and saved him. Yes, two are better than one, especially where there is love.
But our text extols the presence of a third. Surely there is a problem here. We normally say, ‘Two is company, but three is a crowd’. That certainly applies to marriage.
But Ecclesiastes insists that the “threefold cord” (v.12) is strongest. What is meant by this?
There is a ‘third’ who is always welcome and who will always enrich. God wishes to be at the centre of any relationship or partnership. This third Presence will not diminish or threaten the other two, rather, it will enable true love and sacrifice to flow. The two will become as one through the inspiration of God’s presence.
What is our state? Are we in a business partnership, or marriage, or companionship? Seek the Lord’s presence and blessing. If you can pray with your other half then do so.
Remember that God is himself a happy threesome. He manifests perfect harmony and huge creativity!
Thanks you Lord that you will always come and make your dwelling where you are honoured and invited. Amen.
1 Who were the three who were joined by a divine fourth?
2 Look at the promise that God will dwell with us.