Reserving AWESOME For God Alone

Awesome is a word we hear daily in our lives, as children, adults, teenagers and even seniors. We associate the word AWESOME to movies, celebrities, athletes, and so much more. But have we used it so much that it has lost its true value and meaning? I believe so.

I remember as a kid using the word Dude and Dudette when talking with friends. “Hey Dude,” we’d say upon meeting friends. But like many fashions and fads that come and go, it eventually faded away. “Awesome” unfortunately, is a word that has become more and more common in today’s society. And yet in overusing the word, have we lost site of its great importance placed upon things and people?

When we see a good movie, many times the comments that appear in the news include many variations from “It was an awesome movie,” “The final scene was the most awesome part of all,” and “That actor/actress did an awesome job.”

But what truly IS awesome? What exactly does AWESOME mean? Let’s find out.
According to the origins of this word are as follows:

c.1600, “profoundly reverential,” from awe + -some. Meaning “inspiring awe” is from 1670s; weakened colloquial sense of “impressive, very good” is recorded by 1961 and was in vogue from after c.1980.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Its meaning:
awesome definition

1. exclam.
Great!; Excellent! (Usually Awesome! Standard English, but used often in slang.) : You own that gorgeous hog? Awesome!
2. mod.
impressive. : That thing is so awesome!

Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw Hill

As with many things, over time, the English language has acquired a lot of SLANG terminology, and the word Awesome is one.

If you were to try and find other words that are similar to the word AWESOME, known as Synonyms you’d find the following:

alarming, astonishing, awe-inspiring, awful, beautiful, breathtaking, daunting, dreadful, exalted, fearful, fearsome, formidable, frantic, frightening, horrifying, imposing, impressive, intimidating, magnificent, majestic, mind-blowing*, moving, nervous, overwhelming, shocking, something else, striking, stunning, stupefying, terrible, terrifying, wonderful, wondrous, zero cool.

Now, after reading all those synonyms, tell me if any actor, athlete, movie, or anything else on this earth matches ALL of them. The only One worthy of all these words is God, and God alone. Who else can be both terrifying and wonderful in the same sentence? God! Read your Bible and when you do, pay attention to how words are put together in a sentence to describe God. Try putting some of the words together yourself to come up with a way to describe God. For example, God is terrifyingly impressive, wonderful and majestic!

There is no human alive, nor has there been since Jesus lived upon this earth that is worthy of the word Awesome. One of the devotion books I use daily had a devotion on the word Awesome and how it is used. When talking with Moses on Mount Horeb, God told Moses to not come any closer, stay back, keep your distance. Do you realize that the ground you, yourself, walk on is Holy ground? It is said in one of the worship songs sung often that “This is holy ground, we’re standing on holy ground; for the Lord is present, and where He is, is holy.” You, as a child of God, walk on holy ground daily, perhaps without even realizing it other than on Sundays when we gather together to worship the Lord.

Have we become so possibly shameful and accustomed to AWESOME that God and His beautiful creations, one of which is us, is suddenly just part of the normal daily living and not a thought that makes us stop and meditate right where we are at for the moment? Has AWESOME become such a large part of our vocabulary that AWESOME has lost its truest meaning?

In my devotion book, it is written:

“Dare we approach the great I AM with anything less than utter reverence and absolute awe? What respect do we show when “Oh my God” becomes merely a thoughtless exclamation in everyday conversation? Where is the reverence when “traditional” worship so numbs the worshipper that the focus turns to stained glass and steeples, or when “contemporary” worship ends up in exalting self or superstar entertainers rather than the Holy One of Heaven? How often do we come in and out of God’s presence in prayer with hardly a pause before moving on with the conversation? Do we go through entire days without considering that we live our lives on holy ground?” F. LaGard Smith in The DAILY BIBLE Devotional, ISBN# 978-0-7369-2211-1.

There are over 30 references is many Bibles today containing the word AWESOME. In the same passage of the Devotional Bible mentioned earlier, the author continues to ask:

“Could it be the very message of the day – that our familiarity with God has actually robbed us of the respect due to God?” By using the word Awesome for anybody or anything other than God is to make that person or that object equal to God. You may think that is overstating it, but when was the last time you heard of an athlete or movie star creating an awesome Earth while continuing to work on and even more awesome home for us in Heaven? When was the last time a movie in the theater to the point of salvation because the message was awesome? Who really has the right to declare themselves awesome or to declare anybody but the Living God as Awesome? Nobody.

Rich Mullins had it right when he wrote and recorded AWESOME GOD, the song we now sing in churches around the word:

When He rolls up His sleeves
He ain’t just putting on the ritz
(Our God is an awesome God)
There’s thunder in His footsteps
And lightning in His fists
(Our God is an awesome God)
And the Lord wasn’t joking when He kicked ‘em out of Eden
It wasn’t for no reason that He she’d His blood
His return is very close and so you better be believing that
Our God is an awesome God

Our God is an awesome God
He reigns from heaven above
With wisdom, power, and love
Our God is an awesome God
Our God is an awesome God
He reigns from heaven above
With wisdom, power, and love
Our God is an awesome God

And when the sky was starless
In the void of the night
(Our God is an awesome God)
He spoke into the darkness
And created the light
(Our God is an awesome God)
Judgment and wrath He poured out on Sodom
Mercy and grace He gave us at the cross
I hope that we have not too quickly forgotten that
Our God is an awesome God

Our God is an awesome God
He reigns from heaven above
With wisdom, power, and love
Our God is an awesome God
Our God is an awesome God
He reigns from heaven above
With wisdom, power, and love
Our God is an awesome God
Our God is an awesome God (Our God is an awesome God)
He reigns from heaven above (He reigns from heaven above)
With wisdom, power, and love (With wisdom, power, and love)
Our God is an awesome God
Our God is an awesome God
Our God is an awesome God

Who else can take darkness, emptiness and turn it into a world full of seasons and beauty for us to enjoy at our convenience? Who but God can strike down entire cities such as Sodom for the sins they committed? Who else gave up their life, pouring out their blood and breath so that the entire human race could have a chance at atonement, repentance, and salvation and the promise to live in Heaven forevermore, no more to be condemned of sin once we turn to Jesus? Nobody.

So the next time you go to describe something as awesome, stop to think if it really matches what God has done for us in so many wonderful and awe-inspiring ways. Consider the beauty around you daily, the new day for living, a new chance to worship the Almighty Awesome God. Let’s stop putting people and things on the statue of AWESOME and start putting God where He truly belongs – as the only One worthy of the word AWESOME!

My challenge for you is to put the word awesome in places you will see it often to remind you of the importance of reserving it for the One alone who deserves it. And for your convenience, here are the top 34 verses containing AWESOME from the NIV Bible:

1. Genesis 28:17
He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”

2. Exodus 15:11
Who among the gods is like you, LORD? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?

3. Exodus 34:10
Then the LORD said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you.

4. Deuteronomy 4:34
Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?

5. Deuteronomy 7:21
Do not be terrified by them, for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God.

6. Deuteronomy 10:17
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.

7. Deuteronomy 10:21
He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.

8. Deuteronomy 28:58
If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name—the LORD your God—

9. Deuteronomy 34:12
For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.

10. Judges 13:6
Then the woman went to her husband and told him, “A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome. I didn’t ask him where he came from, and he didn’t tell me his name.

11. 2 Samuel 7:23
And who is like your people Israel—the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for himself, and to make a name for himself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations and their gods from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt?

12. 1 Chronicles 17:21
And who is like your people Israel—the one nation on earth whose God went out to redeem a people for himself, and to make a name for yourself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt?

13. Nehemiah 1:5
Then I said: “LORD, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments,

14. Nehemiah 4:14
After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”

15. Nehemiah 9:32
“Now therefore, our God, the great God, mighty and awesome, who keeps his covenant of love, do not let all this hardship seem trifling in your eyes—the hardship that has come on us, on our kings and leaders, on our priests and prophets, on our ancestors and all your people, from the days of the kings of Assyria until today.

16. Job 10:16
If I hold my head high, you stalk me like a lion and again display your awesome power against me.

17. Job 37:22
Out of the north he comes in golden splendor; God comes in awesome majesty.

18. Psalm 45:4
In your majesty ride forth victoriously in the cause of truth, humility and justice; let your right hand achieve awesome deeds.

19. Psalm 47:2
For the LORD Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.

20. Psalm 65:5
You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds, God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas,

21. Psalm 66:3
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you.

22. Psalm 66:5
Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind!

23. Psalm 68:35
You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!

24. Psalm 89:7
In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him.

25. Psalm 99:3
Let them praise your great and awesome name— he is holy.

26. Psalm 106:22
miracles in the land of Ham and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.

27. Psalm 111:9
He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever— holy and awesome is his name.

28. Psalm 145:6
They tell of the power of your awesome works— and I will proclaim your great deeds.

29. Isaiah 64:3
For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.

30. Ezekiel 1:18
Their rims were high and awesome, and all four rims were full of eyes all around.

31. Ezekiel 1:22
Spread out above the heads of the living creatures was what looked something like a vault, sparkling like crystal, and awesome.

32. Daniel 2:31
“Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance.

33. Daniel 9:4
I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments,

34. Zephaniah 2:11
The LORD will be awesome to them when he destroys all the gods of the earth. Distant nations will bow down to him, all of them in their own lands.

Especially look at numbers 2, 6, 7 & 8.

Let’s be careful at how we use the word AWESOME from now on. STOP and think of who REALLY deserves that word associated with their name. No celebrity will come to your rescue when you are in trouble; no athlete will provide for you; no dude/dudette will always be there walking with you or carrying you when you can go no further. Only God is Awesome enough to be the One who will never leave you, despite your sin and flaws as a human. Truly, God is AWESOME and deserves our reverence, attention and praise. Reserve this word for use only when talking of God and how AWESOME He truly is. I challenge you to do this. It is not easy – I’ve done it, but it is sure worth it when all of a sudden the only time ‘awesome’ is used is in reference to God. It puts life back into perspective and brings the reality of God’s omnipotence to the forefront of our ways and our thoughts. May our AWESOME God bless you and keep you all the days of your life.