Please – awesome only applies to God!

Sometimes for me it takes a plane flight or a trip away…other times it can happen at the shore of Lake Michigan…or when I view a web page such as this one.

Such a picture brings to mind several verses or chapters of the Bible: Psalm 8: “Yahweh, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth, who has set your glory above the heavens! From the lips of babes and infants you have established strength, because of your adversaries, that you might silence the enemy and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained; what is man, that you think of him? What is the son of man, that you care for him?”

Or how about Job 38 when God begins to give Job perspective about who Job was addressing by asking questions that reveal God’s unimaginable majesty, power, and creativity? For example verse 4: “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” It is the overwhelming existence and power of God that leads David to exclaim in Psalm 139:6 “Such knowledge is a wonder greater than my powers; it is so high that I may not come near it.”

How do we begin to comprehend such an awesome God? (A mini-rant: my bias on the word “awesome” – I think that the word awesome is overused in a casual way today and only appropriately can be used as an adjective for God! Who or what besides God truly qualifies as awesome? Who or what else even comes close? Is my recent trip to Disney, my pet cat, a recent restaurant experience, a concert or movie I attended really in the same category of description as the divine Creator of all things?) How can we not tell of his mighty acts in our work and life? How do we help our students to understand God as both incomprehensibly all-powerful yet interested in a personal relationship with us through Jesus Christ?

“Yahweh, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”


Filed under worship

12 responses to “Please – awesome only applies to God!

  1. Rebecca Vander Wilt

    Indeed, God is awesome, and he is most definitely the most awsome thing in the universe. But I don’t have a big problem with using that word to describe parts of his creation, including people and the things that people make. This attitude is partly because some of these things really do inspire awe in me, and partly because if I get annoyed by people’s use of “awesome,” I will also have to be annoyed by their use of “holy” (Holy guacamole!), “divine” (This chocolate is divine!) and even “good” (What a good friend!). Jesus himself said that no one is good except God alone.

    Humans tend to exagerrate how we feel about everything (One exception might be our feelings toward God, which we tend to suppress in fear of being too radical or drawing to much attention to our own spiritual journey). We say that we love food and toys and cars, but God’s love is so powerful that it is never in danger of beng weakened, no matter how weak we make the word. The same is true for his awesomeness.

  2. Kevin Potts

    Perhaps modern day terms have “watered down” to strip them of their string meanings but there are other ways to get the idea of God’s awesomeness across. For most people words can be relatively meaningless until they experience an event that gives the word meaning. It is hard to be lonely when you never have experienced it, it is hard to be elated when you have never experienced it, therefore it is hard to know the true meaning of awesome until you have experienced it. God gave us his creation as one part of His revelation to us and after experiencing it I realize how great and glorious He is. For some the learning and experiencing time may be longer but the only thing we can do is point people in a direction that will lead them to Christ. As teachers we are called to educate and direct and I feel that this realization of God’s awesomeness falls under the directing criteria.

  3. Ashley

    I also think that the term ‘awesome’ is overused. How can someone say that “wow this movie is awesome!” and then later on say that “our God is an awesome God”? Its the same word, but perhaps in the years since it has taken on an entirely different meaning. Maybe it is the same a how there are words out there that have two different meanings in two different contexts…it is the same with the word “awesome”. In a general sense it is saying that something is cool, or that time was well spent with this subject…just because society has warped its meaning of the word “awesome” does not take away the meaning of saying that God is AWESOME; for he is…he is amazing and unchanging. His works are the only truly AWESOME things on this earth. So no matter how society warps biblical text…God will always be an AWESOME GOD!

  4. Ashley

    just a little addition to my previous post. As educators, we need to educate our students in the true meaning of the term “awesome”…we need to show our students just as awesome our God is…even if we do not work in a private Christian school, we can show the awesomeness of GOd through our actions and attitudes.

  5. Yes! He is an awesome God. Giving us joy as we focus on His character toward us. With this joy people around us beiing attracted to us that give us the opportunity to share the favor we have in Christ two thousan years ago.
    God is Awesome To Every Nations.
    Teddy Cruz

  6. Patrick Biglane

    In Exodus 34:10, Yahweh uses the word “awesome” to describe something He is going to do with Moses and the people he was among.

    No doubt, these words must have brought tremdous comfort to Moses. Moses had just previously stood in the gap for his brethren (in chapter 33), and averted Yahweh’s intentions to destroy them (they had been bowing down to a golden calf) In the aftermath of all of this, perhaps Moses was wondering whether Yahweh was still intending to honor His (blood) covenant He had recently made with this nation of people in Exodus chapter 24.

    However, in Exodus 34:10, there’s no emphasis in the wording of the text that this particular covenant (already made in Chapter 24:6 & ff) was being renewed. The text of Exodus 34 reads: “Behold, I will make a covenant” (future tense used).

    Whatever this future covenant is, it is described as being accompanied by an awesome work; indeed, marvels that have “never been done in all the earth, nor in any of the nations”. (Gee, I guess that leaves out Egypt, and the parting of the Red Sea, because all that happened previously as well)

    Reading verse 10 of Exodus 34, this covenant is described as a future work that Yahweh is going to do with His people. Could this be a reference that projects not only to the marvels more recent to Israel’s history (that is, from that time onward, i.e., the sun standind still, poisonous bees going into the nations to drive out the inhabitants, etc,), but also projecting to the future resurrection of Israel: the valley of the dry bones (Ezekial 37), and the bringing of His people into the (promised) land inhertance forever? (Perhaps this is the reason the rest of Exodus chapter 34 contains warnings and instructions about how Israel was to conduct themselves as they entered into the lands that God was giving to them….READ IT!

    • susan

      The Great-Exhange MIracle: Jesus radiant life for our dead and dreary life is the greatest and the most awesome miracle God performed of all times. Jesus Christ, whom we have believed and received in our hearts by faith.; whose Name is above all names: Savior; Immanuel; Son of God; the Mighty God; the Everlasting Father; the Prince of Peace; the Wonderful Counselor,
      He is the great and AWESOME GOD and lives within us and among us.

  7. Patrick Biglane

    If a internationally promiment medical researcher comes up with the public announcement: “My team of scientists have truly come up with an awesome breakthrough in cancer research”, that statement would cause me to sit up and take notice of what this awesome discovery is, especially, if I had cancer.

    When the Creator of the heavens and the earth uses the word “awesome”, should it not also cause us to sit up – maybe jump up – and take notice from the scriptures what it is that is associated with this word? I think this is the bigger issue in this case for arguing about the importance of the usage of the word “awesome”, that is, in seeing and glorifying God for Who He is, and what He does and will do on behalf of HIs people.

  8. jessica

    Regardless of how much we try to defend our point of view of the word Awesome the truth is, the only One who deserve to be called Awesome or the word to be used to describe His works/ways is GOD YAHWEH. for everything that is good or awesome HE HAS HIS HAND on it, whether supernatural or natural whether we aknowledge Him or not YAHWEH will remain AWESOME! HE IS TRUELY UNMISTAKEBLY AWESOME GOD! WHO’S WAYS ARE AWESOME and DOES AWESOME THINGS from eternety to eternety Hallowed be HIS HOLY NAME forever and ever Amen.

  9. Kinyua githinji

    Great word indeed!

    • Tim

      While I agree completely that our God is an awesome God and I praise Him with all my heart, please show me in Gods Word where it says not to use the word awesome. We have to go by what Gods Word is, and when you start throwing spins on things and doing it your own way you end up messing it all up. If we go by what you are all saying, then we can’t use other words in the Bible. We can’t use Gods name, we can’t say Jesus, we can’t say holy, we can’t say wonderful since Jesus is called the Wonderful Counselor, we can’t say divine and on and on. I fully appreciate what you are trying to say, we should be reverent and respectful and have a supremely high appreciation for God but we can’t start making up rules on particular words like that.

  10. George Affeldt

    NIV 10 The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you.
    BBE 10 ¶ all the people among whom thou art shall see the work of the LORD, for it is a fearsome thing that I will do with thee.
    KJ21 10 for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.
    Webster 10: and all the people among which thou art, shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.
    YLV10 all the people in whose midst thou art have seen the work of Jehovah, for it is fearful that which I am doing with thee.
    AKJV 10 all the people among which thou art shall see the work of Jehovah; for it is a terrible thing that I do with thee.
    AV10 ¶ all the people in whose midst thou art have seen the work of Jehovah, for it is fearful that which I am doing with thee.
    You can see only the NIV uses the word awesome. This is the word the translators of the NIV choose to use. It was the word that would best convey their understanding of what God was going to do.
    Our God is terrible, our God is fearsome, our God is fearful, and our God is awesome. There are many other adjectives that could be used to describe God, but all of them would fall miserably short of describing the Almighty God
    There’s another one, Our God is the Almighty

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