"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." (1 Kings 8:23)
The incomparable nature and excellence of God is an ancient refrain in worship. God's people throughout history have been marked by their acknowledgment of this essential truth - no one is like God. Solomon's opening words in his dedication prayer for the first temple lauded God as the 'one and only' of His kind in heaven and earth. The prophets of Israel had this on their lips as well, reminding and rebuking God's people when their eyes and hearts turned from the one true God to idols - mute, dumb and powerless idols - who could not compare with the Creator all-knowing, all powerful, ever present and ever faithful to His word.
The God of the Bible who is "wholly other" truly is the "Holy Other" whom we as Christians center our worship upon. And although the Lord is one (Deut. 6:4), we rightly give praise to God in all His fullness, namely the fullness of God in the persons of the Father, the Son and the Spirit. For God's ultimate demonstration of His holy and divine attributes culminates in His love for sinners. When we behold Jesus Christ the God-Man, we behold something Holy Other. When we behold the spotless Lamb carrying the sins of His enemies, we behold something Holy Other. When we see the Spirit of God giving eternal life to the dead, we behold something Holy Other.
In the words of John Wesley, God's love is a "love divine, all loves excelling." In other words, this is a love above all other loves. Wesley wrote songs of such things in his day and the practice has continued into ours. City Alight, a group of songwriters from Saint Paul's Church in Sydney have recently penned "Only a Holy God", one more of many in a heritage of songs that give expression to the unrivaled object of our affections.
As we learn this song together in our services, take time to consider and meditate on each line, focused on a particular attribute of God. Power, authority, beauty, love - these are but a few of the many characteristics that beckon our worship. God does not simply possess these, He is the greatest in each, and to this we can rightly say, "Who else but God...?"
Who else commands all the hosts of heaven
Who else could make every king bow down
Who else can whisper and darkness trembles
Only a Holy God
What other beauty demands such praises
What other splendor outshines the sun
What other majesty rules with justice
Only a Holy God
Come and behold Him, the One and the Only
Cry out, sing holy, forever a Holy God
Come and worship the Holy God
What other glory consumes like fire
What other power can raise the dead
What other name remains undefeated
Only a Holy God
Who else could rescue me from my failing
Who else would offer His only Son
Who else invites me to call Him Father
Only a Holy God, only my Holy God
Dustin R. Smith | Jonny Robinson | Michael Farren | Rich Thompson © 2016 Farren Love And War Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (Integrity Music)),
Integrity's Alleluia! Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (Integrity Music)),
Integrity's Praise! Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (Integrity Music)) Jonny Robinson, CityAlight Music (Admin. by Jonathan Robinson), Rich Thompson, CityAlight Music (Admin. by Rich Thompson)