“For the Lord your
God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who
shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.” (Deuteronomy 10:17, NIV)
names have been associated with greatness. There was Alexander the Great. The
Great Gatsby. Boxer Muhammad Ali was known as “the Greatest,” and hockey legend
Wayne Gretzky as “the Great One.”
typically reserve this word to describe a unique accomplishment or status. To
call someone “great” is to say there is only one—there has never been, nor will
there ever be, another like him or her.
People who heard Moses speak the words of Deuteronomy 10:17 had heard often of Yahweh,
the God of their forefather Abraham. But by that time, they had also lived for four
hundred years in Egypt, where multiple gods were worshiped. And now God was
leading them to a land where they would be surrounded by other polytheistic peoples.
What made Israel’s God unique from the rest? What, if anything, caused Him to
stand out from all the others?
argued that God deserved the Hebrews’ full devotion because He is “the great God.”
The Hebrew word “great” is gadol. It
means distinguished, important, large, grand, magnificent. And why is God
uniquely deserving of this title? Because, Moses says, He’s mighty. He’s
powerful and awesome. There’s nothing too hard for Him. Not only this, but unlike
the petty gods of the surrounding cultures, the God of Israel is just—He is
fair and gracious. That’s another reason He’s great: He doesn’t play favorites or
accept bribes, like a crooked earthly judge.
great, Moses says elsewhere in this same chapter, because He owns the universe
(14). He’s great because He graciously set His affection on the Hebrew people
(15). He’s great because He cares about the helpless (18). He’s great because He
alone does awesome wonders (21). He’s great because He blesses undeserving
god does such things? Only Yahweh, Israel’s God, the one true God is able to hold
the title of “great.”
blasphemous and tragic to treat anything
as being greater than God. Do people give their hearts to other gods? Of
course. But there is no god like “the great God” of Israel.
identifying their God as “great,” notice the response Moses urged from the
people: "Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him."
Because of God's unique position, He is worthy of reverential fear and faithful