A brightly shining sun filtered in to the screened porch where a group of us had gathered on a nice spring afternoon. As we were sipping our sweet tea, one of the women was sharing some special things which had happened to her recently. It was a normal conversation, but it didn’t take long for another lady to say, “That’s awesome!” Hearing that phrase bothered me, and I quietly cringed.
We speak words carelessly these days, tossing them around lightly. While describing a vacation, a new purchase, or an event someone witnessed, often the typical response is, “Awesome!” I find my spirit disturbed, as
Awesome is a word we should reserve for God.
Merriam-Webster.com defines awesome as, “Causing feelings of fear and wonder; extremely good.” If we unpack it further, the definition of awe is, “An emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime.” This tells me our sacred living God who reigns with authority is awesome.
One of the first Biblical uses of the word awesome occurs in Exodus 15:11 when Moses and the Israelites were singing praises to God for their deliverance from Pharaoh and his army. “Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” (NIV) This praise paints a picture of God’s attributes, and gives us a glimpse of His awesomeness.
Everything about God is awesome, and several distinctions which stand out are:
First, God’s deeds or works are awesome. God created the heavens and the earth; He orchestrates events and accomplishes miracles. I stand amazed at his workmanship. “Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man’s behalf!” (Psalm 66:5, NIV) Even in today’s crazy world, God’s mighty hand is evident as we view His creation and witness what He does in our lives.
Second, God’s love is awesome. God’s love for us is complete and perfect, and we see in the Old Testament the prophet Nehemiah praying, “O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands.” (Nehemiah 1:5, NIV) God’s love is perfectly demonstrated when He came to earth as Jesus Christ to die for our sins. “He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever—holy and awesome is his name.” (Psalm 111:9, NIV) God’s gift of salvation to each of us who believe in Him epitomizes His love for us. Now that is awesome.
Third, God’s name is awesome. We are to hold His name in high regard, treat it with respect, and cherish it in our heart. “Let them praise your great and awesome name—he is holy.” (Psalm 99:3, NIV) As I go about my day, I praise God’s sacred name for He alone is holy. Nothing else comes close.
God’s works, love, and name are important considerations when we choose our words and form our conversations. I pray I will select my words carefully, and remember awesome is a word reserved for God.
Father God, You alone are awesome. Your deeds are magnificent, your love is complete and perfect, and your name is Holy. Please help me to treat your name with the esteem it deserves. You are mighty and awesome, and I thank you for your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Exodus 34:10b (NIV): “The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you.”
Psalm 65:5 (NIV): “You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas.”
Psalm 68:35 (NIV): “You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.”
Psalm 47:2 (NIV): “How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth!”
Deuteronomy 10:17 (NIV): “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.”
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