For the past few posts we have been looking at Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12.
9Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. 10For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up…. 12And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken. (CSB)
In the first post regarding this scripture I shared with you this is a good description for men to apply Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (ESV), into their lives to encouragement men as they develop an intentional relationship with God.
In previous posts we have looked at verse 9 encouraging men to work together; and verse 10, encouraging men to walk together. This post we will look at verse 12 that gives an indication of our third action and that is men ought to be watching together or in the action of watchcare. Watching out for each other as we work and walk together in our daily activities and spiritual growth.
Verse 12 of Ecclesiastes 4 states;
12if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.
Back in the day when Solomon wrote this, it was dangerous to travel alone. They traveled in groups for fellowship and safety. We can say the same in today’s culture. It is dangerous out there. The enemy is lurking around, waiting for the opportunity to trip us up. To cause us to fall into that pit spoken of in verse 10. And if you do not have someone walking alongside of you and watching with you – you can end up being a statistic of another brother who fell in a pit with no one to help pull you out.
But if you have someone to walk along side of you that we can confide in and who can encourage us as we navigate this world, you will have a better chance to resist anything the enemy may try to overpower you with.
As I read the New Testament, I see men ministering alongside other men. Jesus sent the disciples out in twos (Luke 10:1). The apostles had each other. Paul had Barnabas and then Silas. Barnabas had Paul and then Mark. Paul poured his life into Timothy. If these men who we like to put on a pedestal as examples of Christ Followers had men walking alongside of them, watching with them and providing accountability for their actions, what makes us think that we men don’t need this today?
When we meet with men in our discipleship groups we need to ask hard questions and we should expect hard questions to be asked of us. Questions such as; “Have you read the Bible this week? What did you read and what did God reveal to you? How were you tempted this week and how did you respond? How is it going with your wife? Do you feel you are in the center of God’s will for your life? What are you struggling with in secret? Are your priorities in the right order? Is the ‘visible you’ the ‘real you’ and are you consistent in your relationships?”
Hard questions. Asking the hard questions is an accountability tool but it is also men showing brotherly love to other men – watching out for each other to ensure we do not allow ourselves to step off into a lifestyle that will hinder our relationship with God and with others.
Do you ask hard questions to the men you have relationships with? Do you allow men to ask you hard questions? If we are serious about sharpening each other as iron sharpens iron, then we will allow these questions to be asked. We will allow other men to ‘call us out’ when we are moving in a direction with our life that will hinder our walk with God and our relationship with others.
The interesting idea about verse twelve is the use of a cord or rope. As twine is woven to make a cord it becomes stronger as each twine is woven around and through another. The more twine woven the stronger the cord becomes. Thereby the verse says two may be able resist; but, three is not easily broken.
So, I encourage men to look for men who will ask these questions and others as necessary. You will be amazed how this will help you to stay true to God’s word if you are honest with your answers. Get in a group of two to three guys that holds you accountable and provide a watch care for you.
Next post will be the conclusion of this series.
Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike.