“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 he said: ‘Lord God of Israel, there is no God in heaven above or on earth below like You, who keep Your covenant and mercy with Your servants who walk before You with all their hearts’” (1 Kings 8:22-23).
The above words were spoken by Solomon as he and all Israel rejoice as the ark of the covenant is brought into the temple following its completion and God’s glory had filled the Temple (1 Kings 8:6-10). Solomon is filled with awe as he considers and proclaims to God, “How Great Thou Art”.
As Solomon considers God’s greatness, he mentions two things which are unique about God. First, God keeps His covenant. God had made a covenant with Abraham promising him that although Abraham’s descendants would serve another nation (i.e. Egypt) 400 years, God would bring them out to inherit the Promised Land (Genesis 15:13-16). Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph all clung in faith to this promise of God which He had made to them. God fulfilled this land promise as Joshua and the children of Israel conquered the Promised Land (Joshua 21:43-45). Furthermore, God promised Abraham that through one of his descendants (i.e. Christ) all the world would be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3). Through the eye of faith, God servants throughout the following centuries looked forward to the day when this be accomplished. The promise was fulfilled when Christ came to save men from their sins (Galatians 4:4-5). Solomon praises God for His faithfulness to keep His promises!
Secondly, Solomon proclaims that God is unique because God keeps His mercy towards those who serve Him. Although the servants of God strive to serve Him, they do not always serve Him well. For example, both Abraham and Isaac lied on occasions in an attempt to trust in themselves to save their own lives (Genesis 12:11-13; 26:7). Later, Jacob would get Esau to sell him his birthright and conspire with his mother Rebekah to deceive his father Isaac and get Isaac’s blessing (Genesis 25:29-34; 27:1-29). During their wilderness wanderings following God’s deliverance of them from the oppression they endured in the land of Egypt, the children of Israel complained against God and often doubted His ability to lead them into the Promised Land. In spite of all these failures among His people, God kept showing them mercy and forgiving them as they humbled themselves and turned back to God in repentance.
As I consider Solomon’s words as He proclaims God’s faithfulness to keep His covenant and His uniqueness, I can’t help but proclaim to God, “How Great Thou Art”! I can live my life by faith in God because I know that God has been faithful to keep the promises He has made to His people in the past and He will be faithful to keep the promises which He has made to me. I also can trust in His strength and not my own because I realize that in spite of my repeated failures, as I continue to struggle with sin, God will keep continuing to show mercy to me as I turn to Him with a contrite heart and repent.
Today I will rejoice in the great God I serve. Truly, there is no God like Him in heaven above or on the earth below! How wonderful it is to have the privilege of being called His child (1 John 3:1).
“Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!” (Psalm 32:10-11).