A computer game that my husband and I enjoy has an irritating habit of describing our every success as “Awesome!” This word seems to be the current version of what what used to be neat, cool, or groovy (hate that one!). But wait a minute! What is really awesome?
Awe: an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like. (Dictionary definition)
From this word comes “awesome,” which should describe things that produce that feeling of awe. Truly awesome things leave us speechless, weak-kneed, overwhelmed by a grandeur far beyond the ordinary, beyond human comprehension. My husband uses “awe” to describe the feeling he had when he first saw the Grand Canyon. It’s how I feel when viewing a particularly beautiful sunset. When examining the intricate detail of a flower. Or even when watching the miracle of a huge jetliner soaring gracefully through the sky. It’s other-worldly, evidence of Someone far wiser and more powerful than we are who is showing us a taste of super-human majesty.
If we dumb down the word “awesome” to a mere expression of approval (e.g. the taste of your sandwich), what other word is left to express the feeling inspired by God’s wonderful works that bedazzle our eyes, minds, and imagination? Or do we have our eyes so glued to our mirrors, menus, and manmade gadgets that we no longer lift them up to see what is truly awesome?
Click below to enjoy a stirring rendition of “Our God is an Awesome God”—with pictures of His breathtaking creation. NOW, THIS IS REALLY AWESOME!
Last night we admired that beautiful big orange moon. And again this morning as I sat on the deck and gazed up in amazement at the giant trees lining the back yard, my knees almost felt shaky. Gazing at our awesome God and His incredible artwork brings a thrill far beyond anything else in the world. Then I opened my Bible to Psalm 8:
When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—
the moon and the stars you set in place—
what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
human beings that you should care for them? …
O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
Then, in response, this song wells up in my heart:
Who am I that a King would bleed and die for?
Who am I that He would pray, “Not my will, Thine,” for?
The answer I may never know
Why He ever loved me so
That to that old rugged cross He’d go
For who am I? (by Charles Goodman)
Is fire good? It’s good under my cooking pot (I like a gas, rather than electric, stove) but not inside a pan of grease. It’s great to have as a campfire, but not loose in the forest. Fire is awesome, powerful, purifying, destructive, fearful, enlightening….
In Exodus, God appeared as fire several times. First to Moses in a burning bush (Exodus 3), commanding his attention and obedience as He commissioned him to go to Egypt to rescue his people. Imagine listening to a fire and even arguing with it, as Moses did!
The next time Moses encountered God as fire was when the Israelites left Egypt (13:21-22). God led them in the form of a pillar of cloud by day which turned into a pillar of fire at night. This fire guided them and gave them light, comfort and protection. God’s presence was actually visible to them.
Thirdly, God appeared as a fearsome, blazing fire that came down onto Mount Sinai (19:16-18) producing thick, black smoke and causing the whole mountain to quake. The terrified people were forbidden to come near, nor did they want to.
Is God a tame God whom we can control like a campfire or a flame under our cooking pans? As the writer of Hebrews says, “Our God is a consuming fire.” No, I can’t control God, nor would I want to. My prayer is that He will control me!
Here’s an article that has more on this topic: http://www.gotquestions.org/consuming-fire.html
Stay tuned for another post on the other side of God’s character which was revealed on top of that fiery mountain.