We turn now to a consideration of the present relation of this Personal God presented to us in the Bible, to the world He has created and to the men whom He has created.
1. In the first place we find that God sustains, governs and cares for the world He has created. He shapes the whole present history of the world. This comes out again and again. A few illustrations must suffice. We read in Ps. 104:27-30: “These wait all for thee, that thou mayest give them their food in due season. (28) Thou givest unto them, they gather; thou openest thy hand, they are satisfied with good. (29) Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled; thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. (30) Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created; and thou renewest the face of the ground.” And again in Ps. 75:6, 7: “For neither from the east, nor from the west, nor yet from the south, cometh lifting up. (7) But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and lifteth up another.” All these passages and others that could be cited, set forth the same conception of God’s present relation to the world which He has created. They show, as we have said, that God sustains, governs and cares for the work He has created; that He shapes the whole present history of the world.
2. Now let us look at His relation to the affairs of men. We will find that God has a present, personal interest and an active hand in the affairs of men; that He makes a path for His people and leads them; that He delivers, saves and punishes. Here four illustrations from the Bible must suffice. First of all Joshua 3:10: “And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Hivite, and the Perizzite, and the Girgashite, and the Amorite, and the Jebusite.” Now turn to Dan. 6:20-22, 26, 27. “And when he came near unto the den to Daniel, he cried with a lamentable voice: the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? (21) Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. (22) My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.” . . . “(26) I make a decree, that in all the dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel; for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed and his dominion shall be even unto the end. (27) He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.” Now turn to 1 Tim. 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 that believe,” and now turn to Heb. 10:28-31: “A man that hath set at nought Moses’ law dieth without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses: (29) Of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God? and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? (30) For we know him that said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. (31) It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” In all of these passages we have this same conception of God in His relation to man, viz., that God has a personal interest and an active hand in the affairs of men; that He makes a path for His people and leads them; that He delivers, saves and punishes them.
The God of the Bible is to be clearly distinguished not merely from the God of the Pantheists who has no existence separate from His creation, but also from the God of the Deists who has created the world and put into it all the necessary powers of self-government and development and set it going and left it to go of itself. The God of the Bible is a God who is personally and actively present in the affairs of the universe to-day. He sustains, governs, cares for the world He has created, He shapes the whole present history of the world. He has a present personal interest and an active hand in the affairs of men and He it is that is back of all the events that are occurring to-day. He reigns and makes even the wrath of men to praise Him, and the remainder of wrath doth He restrain. The Kaiser may rage, armies may clash, force and violence and outrage may seem triumphant for the passing hour, but God stands back of all; and through all the confusion and the discord and the turmoil and the agony and the ruin, through all the outrageous atrocities that are making men’s hearts stand still with horror, He is carrying out His own purposes of love and making all things work together for good to those who love Him.