“Therefore you are great, O Lord God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
David speaks to a truth here that is absolutely essential to understanding if someone is going to be a faithful, consistent follower of Jesus. It is what makes Him stand out as someone worth following in the first place. In fact, he proclaims three truths here along with a piece of evidence that is a whole lot more convincing when you really think about it. What David said here was true and important in his own time, and more than 3,000 years of history since has allowed us to understand that he spoke even better than he could have known then.
The first truth is that God is great. What does it mean that God is great? Philosophers of the Middle Ages and beyond would later put helpful language to this. God is the maximally greatest being. He is not only great in every way we can imagine, but He is as great as He could possibly be in each of those ways (and more!). He is the pinnacle of perfection in every category. For every characteristic He has, He has it absolutely to the fullest measure possible. Such a being as this is worthy of our worship.
The third truth is that He is the only God. While the various authors of the ancient documents that we collectively call the Bible occasionally spoke about “gods,” this was a helpful linguistic device in a particular context. They knew that God alone is God. There are no other gods or goddesses or divine beings of any kind. He’s in a category all to Himself. This is the heart of what it means to be monotheistic. Now, this doesn’t mean there aren’t other spiritual creatures. The Scriptures are clear that both angels and demons are real, but they aren’t gods.
So then, what about all the other “gods” that are worshiped as such around the world? Well, they aren’t. Gods, that is. They are little more than ideas invented by people and ascribed divine abilities. There is nothing to them. They don’t have any displays of power. They don’t have evidence of their activity. They don’t have evidence of their activity beyond what people have made up. Or worse, they are representations of the demonic that people have been deceived into worshiping. Either way, they aren’t really gods.
The second truth (I took them out of order on purpose) is that there is no one like our God. This flows naturally from the first and third truths here, but it’s worth giving its own consideration. What is it that makes God so different from everything and everyone else? What makes Him holy, in other words? Certainly His moral perfection makes Him stand out. His divine attributes rank on that list as well. It is worth some reflection sometime to ponder through the list of God’s “omni’s” (omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, omnibenevolence, omnisapience, and etc.).
I think what makes Him so supremely different most of all, though, is His perfect and ultimate balance of transcendence and immanence. God is totally different from us. He is great and we are not. He is eternal and we are not. He is good and we are not. He is everything we are not and He is so all of the time. We could not reach Him if we wanted to, so isolated is He in His perfections. And, because He is a triune God, existing in perfect harmony as Father, Son, and Spirit, He doesn’t need us to reach Him. He is perfectly relationally satisfied among Himself.
At the same time, He is near us. He longs for a relationship with us. Through His Spirit He takes up residence in the very heart of the one who is with Him through His Son. He came as the Son and made Himself like us so He could save us. He knows us intimately. He designs each of us individually. He plans out our days carefully. He has numbered the very hairs on our heads. He is near us.
The juxtaposition of these two traits is sharp and it is mind-blowing. The God who created the universe and reigns over it in holy perfection also wants to be in a relationship with us. No other “god” is like this. None. They may approach or even embody one or the other, but not both.
David’s evidence of this? He’s never heard of anything else to be true. Now, our first reaction to this as his evidence may be something like, “Well, you haven’t been around very long.” Or perhaps, “You’ve got too small of a sample size.” But think about it for a second. We live in a world where secularism is daily trying to tell us that there aren’t any gods. David lived in a day when there were many, many gods. Every nation had its own national deity and followed its own pantheon. There were Egyptian gods, Babylonian gods, Assyrian gods, Philistine gods, Moabite gods, and so on and so forth. The sample size David had to work with was huge. And God still stood out in a class all to Himself.
Today, with 3,000 years of history to offer additional perspective, God still stands out in a class all to Himself. There is nothing new under the sun. Our God is singularly worthy of our worship and devotion. We can have confidence that we are giving our devotion to someone who deserves it entirely. This is a God who is worthy of our devotion. He is worthy of our worship. He is worthy of our lives. I wonder, then, have you given Him yours?