Woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.
What caused Solomon to doubt God’s control over His creation? In Ecclesiastes 4, he mentioned the oppression of the righteous and the intense rivalry between people. But Solomon had a third objection to the sovereignty of God, and that is the intense loneliness of people. I like this paraphrase of verses 7-8: “I turned my head and saw yet another wisp of smoke on its way to nothingness: a solitary person, completely alone–no children, no family, no friends–yet working obsessively late into the night, compulsively greedy for more and more, never bothering to ask, ‘Why am I working like a dog, never having any fun? And who cares?’” (MSG). Solomon was saying, “What is the purpose of the relationships in your life if one day your friends, your children, and your mate are all going to leave you?”
Look at how Solomon himself answered that question in verse 9: “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.” Why is it that two are better than one? First of all, companionship offers assistance in times of crisis. Verse 10 says, “If either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” When you are in need, if you have somebody beside you, they can lift you up.
Second, companionship offers support when we feel alone. Look at verse 11: “If two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?” I think Solomon was talking about those cold experiences in life: the first day on a new job, moving to a new city, losing a mate. Those are the times when we especially need the warmth of companionship.
Third, companionship offers protection when we are under siege. Verse 12 says, “If one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” Sometimes in life we are attacked by other people. Sometimes we feel besieged by our circumstances. And sometimes the attack comes from Satan himself. If we are by ourselves, it is easy for us to be defeated. But if there are other Christians standing with us, victory is possible.
Fourth, companionship offers accountability when we are prone to wander. It is important to be around other Christians who can call us out when our attitude or actions are not what they should be. That is why God created the church. The church is God’s way of giving you assistance in times of crisis, protection when you are under attack, support when you feel alone, and accountability when you wander.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Why Suffering?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.