The Living God
The writers of Scripture often referred to God as “the living God.” What did they mean by this phrase? Was the idea merely that God is alive, that God exists. No. The meaning is much deeper than that.
In the biblical mindset, to speak of “the living God” communicates the idea that God is present and active. God is not an aloof deity, removed from our struggles, indifferent to our needs. As writer Chris Poblete explains, “God does not sit back and merely observe a creation which he set in motion millennia ago; he is present and actively participating in His world.”
The psalmists sometimes contrasted this attribute of God with its absence in the idols of the nations. Concerning the idols, they wrote:
They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but cannot see.
They have ears, but cannot hear,
noses, but cannot smell.
They have hands, but cannot feel,
feet, but cannot walk,
nor can they utter a sound with their throats. (Psalm 115:5-7)
Israel’s God was the exact opposite of the idols. The LORD can speak to us. He does see us. He hears us when we cry out to him. He feels what we feel and goes where we go. The LORD is present and active with his people, at work in our world and in our lives. This truth was a great source of comfort and joy for Israel. Moses said, “What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?” (Deut. 4:7).
The New Testament writers celebrated this same truth. In Christ, we are “children of the living God” (Romans 9:26). We are indwelt by “the Spirit of the living God” (2 Cor. 3:3). The church is the household of the living God, and it is in the living God that we have placed our hope (1 Tim. 3:15; 4:10).
The repetition of the phrase “living God” in Scripture is a reminder that God is constantly with us working in our lives. According to Jesus, the Father is “always at his work” (John 5:17). According to the Apostle Paul, we can be confident that God will bring to completion the good work he began in us (Phil. 1:6).
Have you stopped to reflect on the truth that God is present and active in your world today? Though we may be unaware of what God is doing, we are surrounded by his gracious presence everywhere we go. Author John Piper wrote, “God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them.”
He is the living God!
Take a moment to praise the Living God, to thank the Lord that he is with you, that his eyes are on you, that he hears you when you talk with him, and that he is actively at work right now.