My soul yearns, yes, even pines and is homesick for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out and sing
for joy to the living God.
Psalms 84:2 (AMP)
In her book, Praying the Names of God, Ann Spangler writes, “This title sets Israel’s God apart from the false gods of the surrounding nations. Unlike idols of wood and stone, made by human hands, the Living God is himself Maker of heaven and earth. He alone is the source of life. We live because he lives.” (p. 228)
She further explains this attribute of our God in this way: “Scripture constantly warns against the worship of false gods. The first of the then commandments is itself a proscription against idol worship. The title El Chay, the Living God, empahsize’s god’s role as Creator of all that is, in contrast with idols made of metal, wood, or stone, which are merely the creations of human hands.” (p. 230)
From Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionary we find this definition:
El – See my post on El as the name of God we studied here. (Strong’s Number 410)
Hebrew Strong’s Number: 2416
Hebrew Word: חַי
Cross Reference: TWOT – 644a
Part of Speech:
Vine’s Words: Live (To)
English Words used in KJV: live 197, life 144, beast 76, alive 31, creature 15, running 7, living thing 6, raw 6, misc 19 [Total Count: 501]
from(chayah); alive; hence raw (flesh); fresh (plant, water, year), strong; also (as noun, especially in the feminine singular and masculine plural) life (or living thing), whether literal or figurative :- + age, alive, appetite, (wild) beast, company, congregation, life (-time), live (-ly), living (creature, thing), maintenance, + merry, multitude, + (be) old, quick, raw, running, springing, troop.—Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary
From the Lexical Aids of the Old Testament, Complete Word Study Old Testament (AMG Publishers):
2416. Chay; this adj. come from chāyāh (2421). Some of its meanings are: living, alive, have life, remain alive, sustain life, live prosperously, live forever, be quickened, revive from sickness, discouragement, or even death; vigorous; fresh, running (water); by the life of, as one lives (as used in oaths and exclamations), livelihood, life, refreshment. The OT places a high value on life and views it as being good. It came from God (Gen. 2:7), but death ensued because of sin. Man was no longer allowed to partake of the tree of life (Gen. 3:22). God is the Source of life (Ps. 36:9, 129:13ff.) and the Lord of life and death (Job 12:10). Chay is a set of experiences, not an abstract principal of vitality which is separate from the body. The Hebrews viewed man holistically, i.e. body, mind [soul, empahsis mine] and spirit were a unified whole. Life was associated with health, prosperity, vitality, etc., while death was the very opposite.
In the Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament (Victor Books), (p. 821)
(36:8) Moreover, Eden and Creation are suffested in the next blessings – drink for the river of delights (“delights” is “Eden” in Heb.), and life and light (i.e., understanding, joy, and life) come from God, their Source. So in contrast with the corruptions of the wicked, and obedient believer’s life is characterized by security int he Lord, abundant provisioins, life, and understanding in God’s presence.
Now to our Scriptures:
But the LORD is the true God;
he is the living God, the eternal King.
Jeremiah 10:10a (NIV)
Our living, true, eternal God. He is the source of life, the very breath we breathe and the heartbeat that vibrantly pounds out each footstep, each heartache and each moment of our lives. He is eternal – the source of life, all life is eternal. In Genesis, as we watch the creation of the world unfold one by one, God created and breathes life into each of the living creatures. He crowns His creation with the man and his bride – we are the crown of creation – the finishing touch of life as God created it on earth. He is our source of life, if we are breathing we have a purpose given to us by the Creator of Heaven and Earth.
“I issue a decree that in every
part of my kingdom
people must fear and
reverence the God of Daniel.
“For he is the living God
and he endures forever;
his kingdom will not be destroyed,
his dominion will never end.”
Daniel 6:26 (NIV)
Even pagan kings saw the Living God’s hand upon His people. As Daniel was sent into the Lion’s Den to be slain, the Living God came and shut up the Lion’s mouth. When King Darius returned and found Daniel alive, He declared Daniel’s God the Living God, the God who endures forever whose Kingdom will not be destroyed and whose dominion will never end. The God who not only gives life, but preserves and prospers life even in times of great peril. He proves Himself, El Chay, the Living God.
“Jesus replied, ‘Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? 25When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 26Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account of the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!'” Mark 12:24-37 (NIV)
Here Jesus is answering the Saducees who question Him about life after the resurrection. He tells them, you read the Scriptures and are learned in “Spiritual” matters, but you concern yourself with temporary conditions. Marriage is not necessary once we are raptured up in the resurrection of the dead. It is not necessary because as a whole, we are the Bride of Christ… We will serve one husband, be united with our Bridegroom – Jesus Christ. He is not the God of the dead, but the living. We are mistaken if we think these earthly concerns and temporary things we contend with on earth are all there is to life. Tonight at my group for bereaved mothers we were talking about our children and one of the mothers looked at pictures and said, “I know that I may be way off here, but that is not your son anymore…. That is not how he is now…”
I said, “I know. He is better now. He is his best self. All the bad is gone and only the good remains and it is better than it ever would have been here.”
We should not hold onto life here on earth as it is the temporary trappings that distract us from our purpose and the life God has given us to live. How much freer would we be if we simply followed God in a surrendered life rather than running around trying to make our lives work out as we plan hoping God will bless it? Much to ponder here… I’ll leave you to your thoughts.
I want to leave you today with the ultimate expression of our Living God – Emmanuel, God with Us. We will read a chapter from the book of John this day. Note anything the Spirit reveals to you through this passage about our God, El Chay, the Living God. Jesus, that’s His name.
As you weigh the Word you might consider what John is saying about the Jesus He met. Examine carefully what John the Baptist says about Him and then consider what Jesus’ interaction with those He first called shows us about His life giving nature! Blessings sweet friends… This is a special treat – A Time in the presence of El Chay (The Living God).
John: Chapter One
1 In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
2 He was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made through Him,
and without Him nothing was made
that was made.
4 In Him was life,
and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness did not comprehend it.
6 There was a man sent from God,
whose name was John.
7 This man came for a witness,
to bear witness of the Light,
that all through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light,
but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light
which gives light to every man
coming into the world.
10 He was in the world,
and the world was made through Him,
and the world did not know Him.
11 He came to His own,
and His own did not receive Him.
12 But as many as received Him,
to them He gave the right to become children of God,
to those who believe in His name:
13 who were born,
not of blood,
nor of the will of the flesh,
nor of the will of man,
but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
and we beheld His glory,
the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,
full of grace and truth.
15 John bore witness of Him
and cried out, saying,
“This was He of whom I said,
‘He who comes after me is preferred before me,
for He was before me.’ ”
16 And of His fullness we have all received,
and grace for grace.
17 For the law was given through Moses,
but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
18 No one has seen God at any time.
The only begotten Son,
who is in the bosom of the Father,
He has declared Him.
19 Now this is the testimony of John,
when the Jews sent priests and
Levites from Jerusalem to ask him,
“Who are you?”
20 He confessed,
and did not deny,
“I am not the Christ.”
21 And they asked him,
“What then? Are you Elijah?”
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
And he answered, “No.”
22 Then they said to him,
“Who are you,
that we may give an answer to those who sent us?
What do you say about yourself?”
23 He said:
“I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Make straight the way of the Lord,”
‘ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
24 Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees.
25 And they asked him, saying,
“Why then do you baptize
if you are not the Christ,
nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
26 John answered them, saying,
“I baptize with water, but there stands
One among you whom you do not know.
27 It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.”
28 These things were done in Bethabara
beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him,
and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away
the sin of the world!
30 This is He of whom I said,
‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me,
for He was before me.’
31 I did not know Him;
but that He should be revealed to Israel,
therefore I came baptizing with water.”
32 And John bore witness, saying,
“I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove,
and He remained upon Him.
33 I did not know Him,
but He who sent me to baptize
with water said to me,
‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending,
and remaining on Him,
this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’
34 And I have seen and testified
that this is the Son of God.”
35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples.
36 And looking at Jesus as He walked,
he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”
37 The two disciples heard him speak,
and they followed Jesus.
38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following,
said to them,
“What do you seek?”
They said to Him,
“Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher),
“where are You staying?”
39 He said to them, “Come and see.”
They came and saw where He was staying,
and remained with Him that day
(now it was about the tenth hour).
40 One of the two who heard John speak,
and followed Him, was Andrew,
Simon Peter’s brother.
41 He first found his own brother Simon,
and said to him, “We have found the Messiah”
(which is translated, the Christ).
42 And he brought him to Jesus.
Now when Jesus looked at him, He said,
“You are Simon the son of Jonah.
You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone).
43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee,
and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.”
44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida,
the city of Andrew and Peter.
45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him,
“We have found Him of whom Moses in the law,
and also the prophets, wrote–Jesus of Nazareth,
the son of Joseph.”
46 And Nathanael said to him,
“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him,
and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed,
in whom is no deceit!”
48 Nathanael said to Him,
“How do You know me?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree,
I saw you.”
49 Nathanael answered and said to Him,
“Rabbi, You are the Son of God!
You are the King of Israel!”
50 Jesus answered and said to him,
“Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’
do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”
51 And He said to him,
“Most assuredly, I say to you,
hereafter you shall see heaven open,
and the angels of God ascending and descending
upon the Son of Man.”