On our recent trip home from Florida and Louisiana, Norma Jean commented to me on the frequency of hearing the word “awesome” to describe anything and anyone.
Today everything is awesome. Ice cream. A nice shirt. A fun day at the park. Dunking a basketball. A blog. A sermon. I once had a server in a restaurant tell me “the meatloaf is awesome.”
Of course, there are many awesome people in the world. Good and generous parents are awesome. According to Dick Vitale, there are a lot of awesome basketball players, with a capital “A.” Our kids are awesome. And, of course, our grandchildren are definitely awesome!
Awesome is a Bible word.
The Bible uses the word “awesome” in the NKJV 38 times. About 35 of those refer to God. All but once the word is used in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word means (1) to fear, to be afraid; (2) to stand in awe of, to be awed; (3) To fear, to show reverence, to honor, to respect (4) to cause astonishment and awe, to be held in awe (5) To inspire reverence or godly fear or awe.
Consider just a few “awesome” passages.
“Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? (Ex 15:11)
“God is clothed with awesome majesty.”(Job 37:22)
“Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man”. (Ps 66:5)
“And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments” (Neh. 1:5).
“Awesome is God from his sanctuary; the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God! (Ps 68:35)
“I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments” (Dan 9:4)
God is awesome because only He is omnipotent. Omnipresent. And Omniscient.
God is awesome because He is immutable. Infinite. And Sovereign.
God is awesome. He is to be respected. Reverenced. Venerated. His works are awe-inspiring.
God is awesome in his creative power. In his blessings to His people. In His ability to refine us.
God is awesome because of character. His nature. His qualities. He is merciful. Kind. Loving. Strong.
God is awesome for his ability to help. Defend. Protect. Avenge. Deliver.
Because God is awesome I will praise His mighty works. Extol his virtues . Sing of His greatness. Magnify His name.
ThePreachersWord is not the religious word police. We are not saying it is a sin to ever use the word “awesome” to describe an awe-inspiring person, place or event. But we might want to think a bit more about who is the epitome of awesomeness. All the great and wonderful things we enjoy in this life are because of the Awesome God.
God is unparalleled. Unequaled. And unsurpassed. We exclaim with the Psalmist, “Holy and awesome is His name.” (Ps 111:9).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman