“LORD, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.1 Kings 8:23 NIV
This is a portion of the prayer that Solomon offered during the dedication of the temple he had built at the beginning of his reign. This temple had been built as a place for Israel to encounter God. It was, in a sense, his dwelling on earth. Solomon went on to acknowledge that this building could not contain God. But it was, for Israel, a place where heaven and earth intersected.
In this prayer Solomon acknowledged the uniqueness of the God of Israel, there was none other like him. That may seem strange to us today, since we tend toward not believing that other gods exist. But Solomon lived in a time when each nation had their own gods. And few denied the existence of these gods. And indeed there was a reality behind the gods worshipped by the nations. It seems that fallen nations had become the gods worshipped by the rest of the world.
The other nations had their gods. But they did not compare with the LORD. They were but a pale imitation of Israel’s God. God had entered into a covenant with Israel. And he was faithful to keep his side of that covenant. A covenant of love. This would have been unique among the gods of the nations. They demanded obedience and loyalty from the people. But there was no real commitment from the gods to the people. The idea that they might have entered into a covenant of love with humanity was a foreign concept.
Today we understand that there is but one God. Many others worship gods. But they are not what they claim. But even among these imitation gods, there are none who have entered into a covenant relationship with their followers. Our God is unique. Not only in his existence. But also in the love he has for the world. And especially for those who are his.