Well that is certainly true. Did you know it’s in the bible? Solomon wrote it as a proof of hope for the living in the ninth chapter of Ecclesiastes. Actually, he says, “ For him who is joined to all the living there is hope; a living dog is better than a dead lion.”
In other words, while there is breath there is hope. Even in hopeless situations, there is hope that the situation will change for the better; and truly it almost always does.
Nowhere in scripture is the axiom “while there is life there is hope” exhibited better than when David fasted and prostrated himself before the LORD when his son was sick and lay dying. (The story is in 2 Samuel 12.) 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 seeing his servant’s consternation, “What? I’m eating here. You look at me as if I’m crazy!” shrugging his shoulders in perfect Jewish fashion.
Servant: “You do not mourn. You eat heartily. Your son just died. What’s 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 will go to him one day; he cannot come to me again.” David had a deep hope for his dying son as long as his son held on to life. As soon as his son died, he knew the boundary had been crossed. We can take an excellent lesson from King David.
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 of the three things: faith, hope and love. The greatest is Love because it is eternal, but hope is essential to the physically living, and faith feeds both.
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, which 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 in Ecclesiastes 9:2 Because to all there is one event, to the upright man and to the evil, to the clean and to the unclean, to him who makes an offering and to him who makes no offering…
I think it was Mark Twain who said there are two things assured to mankind, death and taxes. Concerning death, there are two Spiritual assurances: Those who are filthy when they die will remain so; and those who are clean will be eternally clean.
I will share with you a few Hebrew words through out this edition, not to teach you Hebrew but to let you know the word and what it means. I never liked it when someone would tell me a word in the Bible was actually a Hebrew word that meant something other than the translated word which is why I like the Amplified Bible because it gives amplified meanings to the translated words.
In verse five The living know they shall die. The Hebrew is חיּה נפשׁ, nephesh ḥayyāh, or החיּה נפשׁ, nephesh haḥayyāh. Nephesh, meaning “breath” or “living things”; and ḥayyāh, meaning “living” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, 1890). Say ḥayyāh, out loud. It is almost like expelling a breath, isn’t it? 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 physically dead don’t know an iota of the things of this physical world such as 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 because of that part in us which was created for eternity. Our eternal soul 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 while 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, 9:7 Come, take your bread with joy, and your wine with a glad heart. God has taken pleasure in your works. So, indeed, a living dog is better than a dead lion. How can it not be so?
Psalm 121 : My eyes are lifted up to the hills: O where will my help come from? 2 Your help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. 3 May he not let your foot be moved: no need of sleep has he who keeps you. 4 See, the eyes of Israel's keeper will not be shut in sleep. 5 The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. 6 You will not be touched by the sun in the day, or by the moon at night. 7 The Lord will keep you safe from all evil; he will take care of your soul. 8 The Lord will keep watch over your going out and your coming in, from this time and for ever.
In Him is our greatest hope, for He most assuredly keeps His promises.