Anyone who is among the living has hope—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion! (Ecclesiastes 9:4)
The Wise Preacher gave us words of great wisdom that are designed to encourage us, regardless of our station in life. Make no mistake, life is a very precious thing and a great gift from God; as this truth relates to spiritual matters, it is far better to be the absolute “least” in the kingdom of God than the greatest in the kingdom of this world. Here’s how “the prince of preachers” from the 19th century, Charles Spurgeon, framed this biblical truth:
Where the Holy Ghost implants divine life in the soul, there is a precious deposit which none of the refinements of education can equal. The thief on the cross excels Caesar on his throne; Lazarus among the dogs is better than Cicero among the senators; and the most unlettered Christian is in the sight of God superior to Plato. Life is the badge of nobility in the realm of spiritual things, and men without it are only coarser or finer specimens of the same lifeless material, needing to be quickened, for they are dead in tress passes and sins. A living, loving, gospel sermon, however unlearned in matter and uncouth in style, is better than the finest discourse devoid of unction and power. A living dog keeps better watch than a dead lion, and is of more service to his master.
Where does this word of encouragement find you this day? Perhaps you are in the midst of trials that are troubling your workplace, impacting your family, or afflicting your health in some way. Fear not, for your God is with you!
Jesus took the wrath of God upon Himself when He hung on the cross; from the sixth to the ninth hour, He was separated from His Father in heaven. God, whose eyes are too pure to look upon evil (Habakkuk 1:13), could not look upon His Son, who was bearing the divine wrath of your sin and mine. And because of Christ’s unimaginable atoning love, we have this promise from our heavenly Father: “Never will I leave you, or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). God turned away from His beloved Son . . . so that you and I need never fear that He will turn away from us!
Even in a situation that seems utterly hopeless, you can and must still have hope, because you are not alone. The world may throw you to the side, friends may kick you to the curb, even family may abandon you, but your God holds you in His nail-scarred hands and will never let you go. Remember, Jesus did not only die for you, He lived for you every day of His life. And now He lives to make intercession with the Father on your behalf (Hebrews 7:25). Not only that, but his divine power has given you everything you need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). You have His Word on it!
It is indeed true: “Anyone who is among the living has hope,” and that Hope is in you, with you, and for you. Cheerful confidence in Christ should be the joyful confession of our lives.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!