A Living Dog Is Better Than a Dead Lion

Reading the Word

Ecclesiastes 9:4–6 (ESV)

But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun.

Understanding and Applying the Word

We read of the reality and consequences of death. It is the end. It is the end of everything for the dead person. The dead no longer partake in the things of life and they are soon forgotten by all. As the writer says, “…for a living dog is better than a dead lion.” A dog was considered a dirty scavenger while the lion was a noble predator. Yet, with the realty of death, it is better to be alive than dead.

Many Christians seem to minimize death, but the Bible does no such thing. Scripture teaches that death is the consequence of sin. It is not the way God designed the world, but is an intruder into creation. If sin is the disease then death is the final outcome of our sickness. Scripture calls death our final enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26). It takes away the life that was given by God and separates us from those we love.

Thankfully, God has done something to cure our disease and free us from the sentence of death. He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to die in our place. Jesus died and was buried, but he rose from the dead to conquer death for us and promises eternal life to all who will trust in him. The end of the Bible tells us of a new creation where sin and death are no more and all of the pain and suffering of death are removed. This is the hope of Christianity.


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