A dead lion is better than a live dog

A dead lion is better than a live dog

Back in the day, part of the banter I sometimes shared with my late mother was when, after she had returned from church, I would ask her what the preacher preached about that day, and she would draw a blank. In fairness to my mum, the same reaction might be found in many a sermon attendee. Back to this day, part of the banter I share with my sister when talking about attending church is “you need it”.

Sunday, when I returned from church, when I was asked the same question by my wife, I was able to truthfully tell her that it was “a dead lion is better than a live dog”. The sermon was about Uriah the Hittite, a true warrior and a man of honour, who as a result of maintaining his honour, was murdered on the orders of King David, a man, the Bible tells us, after God’s own heart, who had earlier committed adultery with Uriah’s wife and wanted to cover up the fact he had made Uriah’s wife was pregnant, and with it being honourable Uriah the one person who could have exposed his sin (see here for the sermon). As for David, he and those after him paid a heavy price, even though he was to repent of his sin (Psalm 51 relates). My wife made two astute observations: unlike in her own country (India – she was a preacher’s daughter), English preachers are usually too polite to come out with such statements and yet she found many preachers who did, did not practise what they preached.

I later found this verse from the Bible and it got me thinking about my own life (something any good sermon should do). Firstly, the Preacher in Ecclesiastes, the wisest man who ever lived (David’s son, Solomon), seemed to be saying something opposite to what my preacher appeared to be saying, but given the context of his sermon (Solomon’s sermon was a lot to do with life under the sun), I agree with my preacher and, importantly, it caused me to reflect on my own past and coming to a view I have spent too much time living as a dog (operating within my comfort zone, being cowed into needless submission when I should have stood my ground, being satisfied with temporal pleasures) rather than living as a lion (boldly going where no-one has gone before, living the life of faith, doing exploits for the Lord (just as Daniel had prophesied), which as king of the jungle a lion can do). The KJV Bible has 119 references to “lion” and 40 to “dog” and with the relevant verses serving as a useful basis for a study based around a dead lion is better than a live dog theme. That possibility is all too real in this day of whistleblowers, as something that too often happens! When my preacher asked the men especially: “where are the Uriahs?”, he asked an important question and is one I would encourage my readers to think about. 

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