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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”—Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV)
Do you know what I love listening to? An amazingly-sung a cappella song. When done right, wow . . . it can be one of the most beautiful, captivating, and magical things you will ever hear! There is just something about the way the harmonies blend together and intertwine. My high school choir teacher once shared with me the secret to a masterful harmony: making multiple voices, singing different tones, sound as though they were one voice.
Whenever I think of marriage, I always think of a cappella music. Now, you may be thinking that marriage is a two-part harmony, between husband and wife . . . but the truth is it’s a three-part harmony between husband, wife, and the Lord. And guess what? The most prominent voice, the melody in this three-part harmony, is God’s. As we align our voices—more literally, our hearts—to God’s, it is truly a beautiful thing to behold.
In today’s verse, Solomon, who is generally accepted as the writer of Ecclesiastes, states that a “cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” This is a continuation of his thoughts that began in verse 7, where he talks about the meaninglessness of a life lived alone. In verses 9 and 10 (NIV), he states, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” He spends five and a half verses telling us why two are better than one, but then he gives us something even better: the three-strand cord.
Did you know that a three-strand braid is considered the strongest when making a rope? According to various sources, the three-strand braid is also extremely useful for high-friction situations. Now, I’m not sure about you, but if I had to think of potentially high-friction situations, I’d say marriage is definitely high up there. Why? Because it always involves two sinners! And that’s why that third cord—the Spirit of the perfect, wise, loving Lord—is the key to harmony in marriage. Remove the third cord and the two separate threads can be easily broken.
So, as you walk through your marriage, prepare to embark on marriage, or seek to find your cord, remember to always align yourself with the Lord and seek to create that harmony with Him. Remember, He binds it together and keeps it from breaking (Mark 10:9). He’s also the ultimate picture of it, as the eternal three-in-one, working together in perfect unity and fellowship.
DIG: Read Ecclesiastes 4:7–12.
DISCOVER: What kind of harmony would you say your marriage is making right now? A beautiful one or a dissonant one? Are you both working from the same melody (God’s Word)?
DISPLAY: Sit with your spouse today and pray for unity and alignment between you and God’s Word and Spirit. If you’re not married, examine your heart. Is the Lord at the center? Is His Word the melody you’re following? If not, pray that He cleanse your heart of those things that keep Him from His rightful place in your life.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.