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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

A living dog is better than a dead lion
Date Posted: July 11, 2021

Well that is certainly true. Did you know it's in the bible? Solomon writes that as a proof of hope for the living in the ninth chapter of Ecclesiastes. Actually, he says, For one who is chosen to be among all the living, there is hope. For a living dog is better than a dead lion. While there is breath, there is hope. Even in hopeless situations, there is hope that the situation changes for the better.

While there is life, there is hope. No where in scripture is this exhibited better than when David fasted and prostrated himself before the LORD when his son was sick and lay dying. When news of his son’s death reached him, he stood, and bathed, and combed his hair, and ate heartily. His servants were amazed and shocked.

Can’t you just see David sitting at table, “What? You look at me as if I’m crazy!”

Servant, “You do not mourn. You eat heartily. Your son just died. What up with that?”

David, “While my son lived, there was hope that God might relent and bless me with healing him. He has gone to be with God. So. I go to him one day, he cannot come to me again.”

Hope is an absolute must for healthy living. Without hope, there is despair. Without hope there is depression. Without hope, faith cannot survive. Without hope, love gasps for breath. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13 that these three things remain: faith, hope and love. The greatest of these is Love.

Notice something with me. Hope. Help. One letter difference, but what a difference that letter instills. In the center of Help is El—God. I believe that is by divine design.

Hope and Faith are not designed to last forever. We hope and we put faith in the Everlasting Father. But Love is the Everlasting Father. I am quite satisfied with the hope and the faith that God gives me... I could not live without it. While we have breath, there is hope. While we have breath we have faith, but once breath leaves us, we either have Love, and love lasts eternally; or we do not have Love, and a soul without love is tortured where there is darkness and gnashing of teeth.

Help does not come to the dead. Solomon elaborates on this, 2 All happens alike to all; one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good, and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him who sacrifices, and to him who does not sacrifice. I think it was Mark Twain who said there are two things assured to mankind, death and taxes. Those who are filthy when they die will remain so. Those who are clean will be eternally clean.

5 The living know they shall die. The Hebrew for that word is חיּהנפשׁ, nepheshḥayyāh, or החיּהנפשׁ, nepheshhaḥayyāh (nephesh, “breath” or “living things”; ḥayyāh, “living”) Say that out loud. It is almost like breathing. It is translated living creature, and it has that meaning of a physically living and breathing creature. So, the people who are living know they have a date with death. It has happened since the beginning and will continue until Jesus shouts for us to come up there with Him. The dead don’t know a thing of the things of this physical world: The hatreds, prejudices, loves, the heat, the cold, fancy houses, rich clothes, gold, silver, no more rewards for the sweat and hard work. Matthew Henry says there is a reward for the spiritual actions, but not for the worldly ones. Those who have died no longer partake with us who are physically alive under the sun. We that are among the Spiritually alive know this yet, we still grieve and yearn for those who have gone. It is that part in us that was created for eternity which cries out at the separation from our loved ones. We will be reunited with them in the LORD, but we must sojourn here a little longer.

Hope is for the living, breathing physical beings that we are. It is a blessing that is poured out to us from God. Therefore, 7 Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God now is pleased with your works. So, indeed, a living dog is better than a dead lion. How can it not be so?

Psalm 121:1 A Song of Ascents. I will lift up my eyes to the hills; from where shall my help come? 2My help comes from Jehovah, the Maker of the heavens and the earth. 3He will not give your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. 4Behold, He who keeps Israel will not slumber nor sleep. 5 Jehovah is the One keeping you; Jehovah is your shade on your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night; 7 Jehovah shall keep you from all evil; He shall keep your soul. 8 Jehovah shall keep your going out, and your coming in, from now on and till forever.

In Him is our greatest hope, for He most assuredly keeps His promises.

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Biography Information:
Gina Burgess has taught Sunday School and Discipleship Training for almost three decades. (Don't tell her that makes her old.) She earned her Master's in Communication in 2013.

She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.

If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection

Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and eBookChristian.com
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