This Tuesday, we will be discussing Ecclesiastes 4. In last week’s discussion, one perspective offered (thank you, Diana) on the Speaker was that of an older rich dying man who only realized on his deathbed that his amassing of wealth, pleasure, and the things of this world were ultimately worthless. Ecclesiastes is his talk to us to warn us not to do as he had done. It is his admonition to his audience to not place all of our efforts and not to seek our identity in material things. It’s a great perspective from which to read this work.
This week, the Speaker looks at five different types of patterns of human relationships, only of which has any real meaning. In exploring these five relationships, the Speaker will employ more wisdom-like sayings and proverbs that we have previously encountered in Ecclesiastes. The Speaker looks at oppression (vv.1-3), envy (v.6), isolation (vv.7-8), companionship (vv.9-12), and successors (vv.13-16). All of these relationship patterns, except for companionship, are havel.
The Speaker finds great value in companionship. Two are better than one in their endeavors and for support, warmth, and protection. In vv.9-12, the Speaker extols the goodness of having a companion. In Anglican thought, one of the three reasons for marriage is companionship (“It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity.”) Man is not meant to be alone. Gen. 2:18. But the Speaker is not simply talking about marriage (he explicitly talks about marriage in Eccl 9:9) but about any human companionship in any type of human endeavor – from business to bible study. Companionship is central to our very humanity.
The New Testament pattern is one of companionship. When Jesus sent out his disciples, he always sent them out in twos, not by themselves. Mark 6:7. When the Holy Spirit sent Paul to go to the Gentiles, Barnabas was ordered to go along with him as his companion. Acts 13:2. It is only in the Passion when Jesus is truly alone, having been abandoned and denied by his companions. Matt. 26.
Dinner is at 6. The menu is MBHS Booster Club barbeque. (Please RSVP. Amy needs a head count). Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here.
But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.”Ruth 1:16-18.