The Living God (1961)
One of the supreme distinguishing titles by which God is known in
the Bible is "The Living God". This title not only distinguishes Him
in a general way from the dead gods of the heathen, indeed it does,
but it relates Him in a practical way to many aspects of
human life. There are gods many in this world; philosophic,
aesthetic, artistic, idealistic, deistic, etc., which, if they have
any value at all, never - at best - reach beyond the psychological,
that is, the auto-suggestive effect.
We have only to look at the varied context of the occurrence of the
title - The Living God - to see the uniqueness, the difference, and
the livingness of the God who is our God, and is the only wise and
true God (John 17:3; Rom. 16:27).
1. HE IS THE GOD WHO SPEAKS (Deut. 5:26)
"For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the
living God speaking out of the midst of the fire...?"
This is the most outstanding feature of the Bible, both Old and New
Testaments. Everywhere, in almost every book - the exceptions are very
few - the God of the Bible is a God who speaks. Indeed, it is
largely a record of what God has actually said - "...by divers
portions and in divers manners" (Heb. 1:1). Supremely,
comprehensively, and finally God has spoken in His Son, and in His
Son again and again by His Spirit to this very time, God is known to
speak as personally and intimately as any one human person could
speak to another, and with greater effect. This God speaks livingly
and powerfully, and unnumbered men and women can testify to the fact
that He has spoken - actually spoken - to them.
2. HE IS THE GOD WHO GIVES EVIDENCE OF HIS PRESENCE (Joshua
"And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among
In this piece of history, the evidence of the presence of the Living
God was His making a dry passage in and through a river inundating
all its banks, and a great host of many thousands of people quietly
marching through its deep bed at such a time with dry feet.
Moreover, five strong and terrible nations were successively and
irresistibly subdued and destroyed, not by the natural or trained
superiority of this people, but by the presence and power of the
Living God enabling them. This is history. But how many impossible
situations have been negotiated by the power of God in the lives of
His people and the experience of His Church in all ages
because they trusted in the Living God!
3. HE IS THE GOD WHO CONTROLS THE FORCES OF THE UNIVERSE (Jeremiah
"But the Lord is the true God, He is the living God... at His wrath
the earth trembleth..."
Here, the context relates to cosmic and terrestrial upheavals and
preservations attributed to the Living God, or to the voice of the
Living God. God speaks in phenomena. God can be known in tempests
and in the quelling of them, whether they be in nature, in nations,
or in personal human affairs and experiences. What a record could be
written by many, such as missionaries in wild and dangerous places,
of the hand of God in both raising 'stormy winds' and quelling them
in the interests of His Name and testimony!
4. HE IS THE GOD WHO DELIVERS HIS SERVANTS AT HIS WILL (Daniel
"I make a decree, that in all my dominion of my kingdom men tremble
and fear before the God of Daniel: for He is the living God, and
stedfast for ever..."
This was said, as is seen, when God had closed the mouths of the
lions and delivered Daniel from them right in their den.
This Living God is the God who delivers when He chooses, and
miraculously so. The people of God have known not a few dens of
lions, both in number and variety, and their history is strewn with
miracles of deliverance. There are many books written of these
deliverances, and the facts are unassailable. "He is the living God,
and stedfast for ever", and although that was said by a very fickle
and inconsistent king, he at least spoke the truth then.
5. HE IS THE GOD WHO SAVES THEM THAT BELIEVE (1 Timothy 4:10).
"For to this end we labour and strive, because we have our hope set
on the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of them
Here the Living God is attested as such by His power and grace to
save men, and to save all men, if they will. A library would be
required to house the evidence here. While we ourselves live, a vast
number of souls are the living proof of this truth, and the final
picture is of "a great multitude which no man can number". These
have "washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the
Lamb" (Rev. 7:14). They are the evidence that - unto salvation - He
is "the Living God".
6. HE IS THE GOD OF RECOMPENSE (Hebrews 10:30,31).
"For we know Him that said, Vengeance belongeth unto Me, I will
recompense. And again, The Lord shall judge His people. It is a
fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
We conclude on a sombre note. The Living God will vindicate His own
people and bring to judgment their enemies and persecutors. History
again has a long and vivid record of both of these aspects. There
have been more than a few who have found that "it is a fearful thing
to fall into the hands of the Living God". The Bible has many
instances of this, but even recent history holds very conspicuous
It may be a long-term working of recompense in many connections
because, on the one side, faith and patience have to be perfected,
and on the other side, God is very long-suffering and not willing
that any should perish. His 'vengeance' must have an unquestioned
So, both for the comfort of the Lord's own, and for the warning of
those who work contrary to Him, we say:
'He cannot fail, for He is God.
He is the LIVING GOD!
He cannot fail, He's pledged His word.
He cannot fail, He'll see us through.
'Tis God with whom we have to do.'
First published in "A Witness and A Testimony" magazine, Nov-Dec 1961, Vol 39-6