TLK 18

A Living Dog is Better than a Dead Lion

• Jun, 23 2024

In this episode of "The Last Kingdom," titled "A Living Dog is Better Than a Dead Lion," host Jeremy Walker delves into the Christian perspective on living a purposeful and optimistic life. Drawing from the book of Ecclesiastes, he emphasizes the value of focusing on the present and future rather than dwelling on the past. Walker discusses the importance of small, meaningful actions, encouraging listeners to cherish their relationships and live joyfully. He also stresses the significance of living according to God's commandments and positively influencing one's immediate surroundings, making the most of the time we have.

Hosted by
Rev. Jeremy Walker

Husband, Father, Pastor, Teacher, Podcaster, and Christian Education Advocate

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Jeremy Walker (00:21):

And welcome back to another episode of The Last Kingdom. I am your host, Jeremy Walker. This is Episode Number 17 for June 21st, 2024, and this episode is entitled, A Living Dog is Better Than a Dead Lion. Today we're going to be discussing about Christians, our perspective, and how we are supposed to live our lives now, not in the shadow of the past but in the current present and in the glorious future before us.


I'm going to be touching on some topics as well that came up this week and things that I want to talk about, good things, bad things and everything in between, but mostly here, on The Last Kingdom, my primary, primary focus and primary goal with this podcast is to talk to my fellow Christians and tell them why, oh, why they should not wake up and be pessimistic. In fact, far from it, pessimism as a Christian in fact is a grievous, grievous sin.


Why is that the case? Because our Lord, if you're a Christian, you claim the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, but many people don't even understand what that means. It means this is the person you have dedicated your life to and every moment is spent in service to Him, to God, to the Lord, and our God is very much alive. I was talking with somebody recently and they were mentioning how people like to follow living leaders, in their words, men who are alive, who can kind of be the focus or the leader of a movement, you could say. And I remember joyfully and gleefully and playfully mentioning, "Well, we do too, and his name is Jesus and he's still very much alive." And, of course, the person I was talking to understood this. We both understood the joke, but the point remains the same. We have a living Lord, not one who is dead and buried but one who is alive and on the throne, and we now have a part to play in the mission that is his kingdom. That's right, the kingdom of God.


I want to start this episode of The Last Kingdom, and it is entitled A Living Dog is Better Than a Dead Lion. There's a reason why I kind of picked that. Because so many people like to idolize others and there's nothing wrong with idolizing great men, men of God, men of renown. We have many stories in the Bible of men that were used to tremendous effort by God in the Bible and we know of many men maybe in history or in our own lives who have been used by God in so many wonderful ways. These would be the lions, the wonderful men of renown of the past and present possibly.


But what about the little dogs out there? What about the yappers? What about those guys out there? Most of us do not fit in the category of the lions among men. Most of us are going to be the little yapping dogs that we see that don't hold any real enjoyment for most people besides a little trinket to be carried around or, in our modern day, pushed even in a baby carriage, I guess, a play thing of some sorts, a little chihuahua that's out there. I want to start with our scripture passage, which kind of brings this all together of why is it I picked this concept that a living dog is better than a dead lion. Well, this comes from one of my favorite books in the Bible. I think most people have not read it. It is the book of Ecclesiastes. A lot of people know of Psalms and Proverbs, but they've never really read through the book of Ecclesiastes and it shows. Your theology shows. It really does.


But I encourage you to read through the entire book of Ecclesiastes, most of which was written of course by Solomon, same as Proverbs. What are my favorite verses? If I was going to have a verse that was my cornerstone, it was from Proverbs 12, Verses 13 and 14. Those read, quote, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil," unquote. And that is the end of the book of Proverbs and it puts into perspective many things. Many things when we ask ourselves questions, we're looking at the world of reality and trying to understand it. What does this mean? What's going on here? Why is that happening? Why does God do this?


Well, most of the times you don't get an answer. That's right. God does not share his plan with you. It's above your pay grade and, sorry, he does not consult you on what he does or his plan. You kind of have to learn to live with it and to accept it and to be thankful for it. See, people don't understand. They think for some reason there is a struggle. They think of it like arm wrestling and for some reason Satan's going over the top and he is going to win. He's going to beat Christ, he's going to beat God, and somehow the future is unsettled. We don't know what's going to happen. What's the future going to look like? Sadly, that's how Christians talk and it's because they suffer from poor theology.


Now, at no point in time does the Bible ever seem to waver on the fact that there is a battle going on that doesn't have an already predetermined conclusion and victory for God. That just doesn't happen. There is a real battle. There are real losses or real sorrows that happen in the world, but there is no question about the eventual culmination and victory of God in time and in history over mankind, over evil, over sin, over death, and the joyful conclusion that is the end. That's why I started this podcast actually, to begin with, because I named it The Last Kingdom because we are living in the last kingdom of God. Now, the last kingdom is a reference from the book of Daniel where he gave a dream to Daniel and all the different ages of men represented, and then the kingdom of God comes, the stone that was cut without hands, it begins to grow, covers the world and takes over. It never stops. This is the last kingdom, the one that belongs to Christ.


Now, I want to read Ecclesiastes Nine because you might be asking yourself a question. "Okay, fine. We get that we understand these subject matters, but what about me? I don't seem to be very important." I mean I'm not a major theologian. There are a lot of morons out there and if you want to find them, go on the internet. I've seen a bunch of them. They all believe that they are God's gift to theology. They believe that they are wise and wisdom and no doubt will die with them. Kind of like the friends of Job, they had wisdom and without them there was no wisdom. Well, turns out most of us are not lions. Most of us are not going to be doing the big massive things that we would call change the direction of history and society and many other things. When you think of these things, think of like a Martin Luther, Reformation, many other historical events we could all sit down and name as we go, ad nauseum, but that's not the point.


The point is that's not most people, okay? It's just not most people. It's probably not you, and I can tell you it's definitely not me. We all have our places, we all have our purposes. We all have the people and spheres that we can and cannot influence. We like to focus on the things that we can't fix or can't affect. Because why? It's something we can't fix and can't affect and therefore we like to focus on and it leaves us in a point where it goes, "Well, we should fix the economy and we should fix the police and we should fix the White House. We should fix whatever."


You get the idea. But the point is we like to focus on the things that we can't affect because it leaves us free from thinking about the things that we're supposed to be doing that we're not doing. Yeah, we're lazy, we're losers, and we don't really want to think about it, and that's kind of most men and women and children, and everyone really. And because we can't be lions and because we can't affect, then it's like, "Well, I would if I had the power of God for a day, if I was in charge, if I was in the White House, this is what I would do."


Well, wonderful, you have a grand plan but you can't do anything. You are going to sit back on your couch and fix the world in your mind. Well, go clap for yourself but you've done yourself and the world no good whatsoever. There's no reward for that kind of stupidity. But if we jump back in the book of Ecclesiastes, Chapter Nine, and I do encourage it, read the whole thing, you will find it enlightening. You'll find it inspiring. You'll find it very revelatory of the world and why it is we see what we see and how we see it, and I just think that most people have never read it before. So anyways, go back and read it. So let's jump into Ecclesiastes, Chapter Nine, Verses Four through Ten.


Quote, "For him that is joined to all the living, there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything. Neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in any thing that is done under the sun. Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment. Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of thy life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity; for that is thy portion in this life and in thy labor which thou takest under the sun. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, wither thou egoist." Unquote.


This is a very somber passage. I think, as I've gotten older, I've now reached my early 40s and that happens in the blink of an eye. I have 11 children now, been married for about 24 years now and I have three grandchildren with a fourth on the way, which is amazing, but it all happened in the snap. In the time it took to flick your fingers, that all took place. You look back at your life and you think, "What have I done with my life? What can I do today? What can I do tomorrow? What's my purpose?" Well, God gives us some perspective here and so does Solomon.


A living dog is better than a dead lion. Why? Because a dead lion can't do anything. No one is scared of a dead lion. There is nothing about a dead lion that affects the world. Nothing at all. They are forgotten. Think of every person that you've ever thought of before and then think of how much they're currently affecting your life or someone else's. For the most part, they're not. How many people do you know from more than 50 years ago? How many do you know from a hundred years ago? How many do you know from a thousand years ago? How are they currently affecting things today? How are they affecting your life? How are they affecting your children's lives? How are they affecting your decision making process? The answer is probably not at all. That's right. There'll be a few and far between people that are still affecting you based on how they influenced you and whatnot. That is a thing.


What we're talking about is how can Martin Luther currently affect the world today and he can't. I mean his influence has its ripples, you could say, but he's not getting any more reward. Martin Luther is dead and gone until, of course, the resurrection, but his ability to earn reward is done. Anything that he was going to get rewarded for, his time has passed. Your time is now. You are alive. If you're listening to this, you have a chance for reward. That's right. You know you're going to die. You can't deny this. This is a statement of fact. Your life is short. You're going to die. It might be today, it might be tomorrow, and it might be in the next 75 years to a hundred, however old you are at the time of listening to this broadcast, but you're going to die. That's right, and the dead, they are not paying attention to what is going on in your life. They're not.


Their portion is done. Their ability to earn reward, it's done and, for the most part, the memory of those people are forgotten. There are a few people which stand out in history, which we go, "Oh, I know this person. I know that name," but what about the other 99.9% of people in the world that are dead and gone up until now? What about all the normal people? Right? They're dead and gone. Their memory is completely forgotten. Even if you have loved ones, I've heard that you start to forget their faces. I have a teacher which greatly impacted me, but he and his memory start to fade over time. And when I'm gone, my children don't even remember this person. It's important to know that if you are seeking fame amongst people, this is not going to work. People don't care. You're going to get your five minutes of fame, as they called it, and then nobody's going to care anything about you.


The things you love, the things you hate, the things that you envy, when you're gone, they're gone. It doesn't matter what you've loved. You can't affect it anymore. The things you hated, you can't suppress those things, you can't fight those things. It's over. The things that you envied, the sins you may have committed out of covetousness and otherwise, or maybe you envied and coveted a good thing, it doesn't matter. You can't have it anymore. You're dead. You're gone. Your time is up. That's it. You need to focus on today. You can't be past bound and you can't be too future oriented because your future is not a guarantee. Your life is, as the Bible says, thinks the Apostle Paul, like a vapor in a bottle. Pop the top and it quickly evaporates. It's important for us to know these things because now you are alive.


Right now, you do have a chance for reward. Right now, the things you love can be fought for. The things that you hate can be fought against. The things that you are hoping for, the envies, the good and the bad, can be affected now, before you're dead and gone, before your memory is dead and gone. What are you supposed to do, says Solomon, says God to you, you little living dog like myself? Well, what you're supposed to do is you're supposed to go, eat your bread with joy, drink your wine with a merry heart, for God now accepteth thy works. The whole point, and I grew up as a Christian in the church, works were a bad thing. Don't talk about works. We're saved by grace through faith in Christ and nothing else. Well, that's all true, moron. That's not what we're talking about. What we're talking about is the reward you get for service to your Lord and all you morons out there who refuse to teach this subject are getting nothing.


That's right. And when you're dead, your chance for reward's gone. You squandered the little bit of life and time that you had and you end up, if you do with salvation, only by the skin of your teeth, says the Bible. But no reward, not for you. Solomon says, "Let your garments always be white and let your head lack no ointment." We are supposed to live our lives in obedience to God, trying our best to live godly lives in the body we now possess. "Live joyfully with your wife and/or with your husband whom thou lovest all the days of thy life of thy vanity." You're not going to live forever with your spouse. You're going to die. They're going to die. So you better enjoy it now, every single moment. Don't take them for granted, you idiot. Every moment, cherish your spouse because your time is short. Their time is short. Did you not think it was?


Solomon continues to say that, "All your days are vanity." This is the point that he makes throughout Ecclesiastes because your life is short. The portion that you have, labor under the sun, God's given you a purpose in life and you're supposed to find it and you're supposed to affect the things that you can affect. Stop thinking constantly about things that you can't connect with, can't change, can't affect at all, and just work on the things that are yours to work on. You do have something to work on. You do have a job. You do have people around you that need your help, comfort, assistance, whatever. It says, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, wither thou egoist." Spend your time wisely because you don't have much of it and, when you're dead and gone, when you're dead and gone, your chance for reward also has come to an end.


You don't want to end up in eternity, right, you don't want to end up in eternity and end up with no reward. That's right. You don't want that. You have a short time. You might be a little yapping dog that can't affect much in life, but you can affect certain things and those things will be what you are judged on. Not the fact you didn't change the world, but did you affect positively the things that were yours to affect. Did you live a godly life yourself? Did you affect those around you in a godly way? These things are important.


I didn't intend to spend this entire episode on this subject matter, but it is an important one, one that I think most people forget. You don't need to be a lion to be important in someone's life, right? You are important. We're all important. How do we know? God gave us life. God gave you that life. God gave you that spouse. God gave you those children. God gave you that family. God gave you that church. God gave you that community. Whatever it might be. God has given you all of those things. I did another episode on my podcast, Preschool Pioneers, called O is For Opportunity, and this kind of runs right into that concept. You can't help but have overlap. You can look that up too, Preschool Pioneers, if you want to. It's also a podcast that I do. It's also on as well.


But there was a lot in the media, because I think we'll jump to some more things here just briefly here at the end, where people were talking about right now their children. And there was a girl that was on the media and she was asked about how to get over a relationship and then, as she was answering her questions, she became a viral meme mostly for her vulgarity and disgustingness, but the point I wanted to make was the fact that the first thing she said was, "You get over a bad relationship by getting under the next one." See, this young lady is going to be using her life for immoral purposes in breaking God's commandments and that, sadly, is not how we want our lives to turn out.


We have to ask ourselves that question is, "What is it we want in life?" Somebody asked the question, "What's the father of that girl thinking right now that she is everywhere on the internet about her immoral comments and disgusting behaviors? What's he thinking right now?" Well, I hope he's ashamed of her. It may not be his fault that she turned out that way, but that is the life she is choosing. We have to choose our lives and our children also have to choose theirs. Spend your time, even if you are a yapping dog, living a godly life and especially teaching your children to live godly lives. You don't want them to be a viral meme for immorality.


Well, thank you again for joining me. This is Jeremy Walker for The Last Kingdom. Talk to you again real soon. Thank you for joining me. God bless.

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