Godly Fellowship (Ecclesiastes 4:9–12) - Radical

Godly Fellowship (Ecclesiastes 4:9–12)

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
– Ecclesiastes 4:9–12

Man, I am loving reading and praying through Ecclesiastes. What a rich passage about the immeasurable value of a friend, just one friend, someone who is there to lift you up when you fall down, is there to help you when attacks are coming against you. And all the more so a three-fold cord to have just two friends. This passage is a powerful testimony to our need for friendship, for good, for friends who love us, who care for us, who rejoice with us, and who weep with us, who are there to pick us up when we fall in any way, when we fall, pray to temptation and sin, when we are falling, failing it feels like many days, amidst trials that we’re walking through to have someone there to lift us up, to be a warming presence for us.

Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 reminds us that we need friends who help us persevere in our Christian lives.

And then though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him amidst all the attacks of the adversary in this world and all the challenges that come at us from all different sides. To have a friend or friends alongside you… I’m reading these verses and so many circumstances are coming to my mind when I have fallen and someone has picked me up. When I have walked through challenges in this world, I think about the challenges I’m walking through now, and I am so thankful for people who love me and care for me and are praying for me and are encouragement to me in ways that just bring me to my knees in gratitude to God.

And so I want to lead us to pray according to these verses, to pray for these kinds of friendships in our lives that we all need, and to pray that God would help us to be these kinds of friends to others. That when people read Ecclesiastes 4:9–12, that they might picture our faces as a friend who lifts them up when they fall and who helps them as they walk through the challenges of this world.

And I’ll just say, for any follower of Jesus who feels alone in the middle of the challenges of this world, who feels like right now, they don’t have someone who can lift them up. I just want to encourage you to go to a local church, get plugged into a local church, pray for friendships like this, and pray that God would help you to be a friend like this. This is why we need community among the people of God because we can’t stand on our own. That’s the whole point of Ecclesiastes 4:9–12.

Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 encourages us to be friends who build others up.

And so God, we praise you for the gift of friendship. We praise you for friends in our lives who have lifted us up when we have fallen, who may be lifting us up right now as we are struggling amidst all kinds of things in this world. We praise you for people who win the attacks of the adversary in this fallen world.

People who come at us, love us, and they care for us and they pray for us and they help us. God, we pray for good friendships like this, and God, we pray that you’d help us to be friends like this. God help us to build up others, make us the kind of people who when we see someone has fallen, we lift them up. When we see someone is in need, we come alongside care for them, pray for, with them, encourage them, support them.

God, when we see people who are experiencing challenges in this world, help us to be the kind of people who stand with them, for them alongside them and help them to prevail, to use language from Ecclesiastes 4:12. In all of this, God, we praise you for being our friend, Jesus, for calling us your friends, for being the perfect friend who lifts us up, who warms us, who by the power of your Holy Spirit in us enables us to prevail against whatever the adversary brings our way.

Whatever happens to us in this fallen world, we praise you. That greater is he who is in us than he was in the world. The friend who is in us than any enemy in this world is.

Prayer for the Liujiang Zhuang People

Oh Jesus, we praise you as our friend and we pray for people who don’t know you as their friend. God, we pray you to help us to introduce people today that we meet, that we’re around to you as friend today. And God, we pray specifically for the Liujiang Zhuang people of China, 1.7 million of them. Most of them worship spirits of the water and forests and mountains and villages and live in constant fear of what might happen if they don’t please the spirits around them.

God, we pray that the good news of Jesus as Savior and Lord and God and king and friend would reach the Liujiang Zhuang people of China. Lord, please, may it be so for their salvation that they might know and enjoy you as friend, even as we do. God, we pray all this according to your Word in Ecclesiastes 4:8–12, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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