Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven, and said, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart; you have kept with your servant David my father what you declared to him. You spoke with your mouth, and with your hand have fulfilled it this day.” – 1 Kings 8:22-24 ESV
1 Kings 8:22-53
Solomon had just finished the construction of the temple, a long-term building project, and the fulfillment of a dream of his father, David. But while the temple was complete, Solomon knew it would not be truly ready for use until it had been dedicated or set apart for God. The prayer Solomon prayed at this occasion is the longest recorded in the Bible. It was a public prayer of dedication that honored God for who He was and all that He had done in the lives of the people of Israel, including allowing them to finish this massive building project. Solomon stood before the people as their king and addressed God on their behalf. One of the first things he did was to acknowledge God’s incomparable nature. He said, “There is no God like you.” God was one of a kind. He was unequaled and in a class by Himself. It is important to remember that the Israelites lived in a context and time when false gods were a dime a dozen. Every nation that surrounded Israel had its own god or gods. The Israelites themselves had long struggled with a propensity to worship other gods. While they had been exiled in Egypt, they had developed a habit of worshiping idols, and that temptation was always alive and well for them. False gods were an everyday reality for the people of Israel, but Solomon knew and acknowledged that there was no god that could ever compare to the one true God.
And one of the things that set God apart was His character. Solomon described Him as the covenant-keeping God. Unlike the false gods of the other nations, Yahweh was one who kept His word. He wasn’t fickle or untrustworthy. What He promised, He would do. He could be counted on to be consistent in His interactions with those who worshiped Him. While God’s moods could change, He was always consistent in His behavior. He would not tolerate sin. He hated pride. He blessed those who were obedient. He punished the disobedient. With the God of Israel, you always knew what to expect. His ways were always righteous and His character was immutable or unchanging. Solomon knew from personal experience that God had been faithful, because He had seen God fulfill His promise to David that his son would build the temple. Solomon was that son. He had personally experienced the blessings of God and knew that his success as king was God-ordained so that he might build the temple. He knew that his wisdom and wealth were both provided by God – all so he could accomplish God’s will and complete the construction of the temple. Even though Solomon knew that he and others had done the actual planning and construction, he acknowledged God’s non-debatable role: “You spoke with your mouth, and with your hand have fulfilled it this day.” God had said it and He had accomplished it.
There is a certain sense in which we, as Christians, fail to appreciate the uniqueness of God. We tend to take for granted who He is and all that He has done for us. While we would never think to compare God with other gods, because we don’t believe in them, it might help us appreciate Him more if we better understood just how unique and incomparable He really is. Our God is faithful, just, always righteous in all that He does, and never fails to keep His word. What was true in Solomon’s day is just as true today. We worship the same God. We benefit from the same unchanging characteristics that He displayed in those days. Moses wrote in the book of Numbers, “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” (Numbers 23:19 ESV). He is faithful, true and constantly consistent in His character. He can always be trusted. There is no god like our God. The character of God is what defines the nature of God. We don’t get to add to or alter His character. We don’t get to create a God of our own making. While we might prefer an all-loving, never-angry version of God, that is not up to us. We don’t get to recreate Him or reimagine Him as what we would like Him to be. But the more we understand just exactly who He is, the greater our appreciation for Him will be. He deserves our praise, appreciation, worship, and faithful obedience, because there is no god like our God.