Awesome? Is it Really???

Last week I led a Bible Conference in North Carolina on the theme of “The Eclipse of God.” The general idea is that we allow things, or stuff, to come between us and God thus making Him appear to not be present.  Much like in a solar eclipse, when the moon gets between the earth and the sun and casts a shadow across the earth, it appears that the sun disappears or loses its power.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  The sun remains just as bright, just as hot and just as powerful as when it is shining at noon day.  But it just doesn’t appear to be so.

In our lives we allow “stuff” to cast a shadow on our lives that makes God seem to be weaker or not as glorious.  Who at times hasn’t made a comment to the effect, it just seems my prayers don’t get past the ceiling and seems as if God is not there or doesn’t care.  Again, nothing could be further from the truth.

Now, there are obvious things that can “eclipse” God in your life.  Known purposeful sin is the most obvious, and so are the things that David, in Psalm 19, called, “presumptive sins” which are those we tend to excuse as only being “little sins.”

One of the things that I mentioned in one of the sessions was that we can also “eclipse” God with the language we use.  I was speaking with someone this week who was told that a friend’s dog had just had puppies.  This person responded, “that’s awesome.”  I was walking down the street with someone and they saw a new corvette parked on the curb and again their response was, “wow, that’s awesome.”  I was even eating with someone the other day, we were having burgers (and good ones no doubt) and my friend said, “this hamburger is awesome.”  Do you see where I am going?

The word “awesome” is a word that means to see something and stand in awe of it.  It is a word that when applied to something means that it causes me to want to fall down and worship it, I am so struck by it.  I don’t know about you but I have never seen a car (even a vette) or a puppy (even a litter) or a food product (though I love to eat) that made me want to fall down and worship it.

It just appears to me that we do serve an awesome God.  When I think of His character and attributes and glory I want to fall down and worship Him.  But when we speak in the same way about everything else in the world, do we not lessen His glory in the eyes of those who know we are Christians?  If the same word is used to describe God and a car, or a dog, or food . . . well, you get my picture.

I know I am probably going to be viewed as out of step with this post-modern culture we live in.  But that’s OK.  I once had a staff member who accused me of trying to be controlling of other people, simply because I thought this word ought to be reserved for God, and I said so in a sermon.

I don’t want my language eclipsing God in my life or in other’s lives. It just seems to me to be prudent that we reserve one descriptive word for God alone.  Awesome seems to be that word, in my humble opinion.  What do you think?

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4 Responses

  1. Good thoughts……something to think about. The word awesome is used so often today to apply to just about anything you think is “cool” in the kids generation. I’m going to show this to Alex and see what her response is.
    Sure do miss you being our Pastor and spiritual leader.

  2. God is all “awesome” and the only one who can be referred to with this word.

    Keep on preaching my brother.

  3. I’m so glad I finally heard about this word. This has been my fav. word. It just sounds like such a great word for describing something profoundly great and cool. I had no idea. But in S.S., Sandy Wright was saying how she now didn’t use the word “awesome” the way she had previously since she heard you preach on it. All the other ladies agreed. Since I hadn’t heard the sermon, I didn’t know the argument, but felt I needed to be careful nonetheless. So I have been trying to quit using it for everyday usage that is not holy. Thank you for posting this, because now I know and I’m with you. God is awesome and deserves the word wholly as His own.

  4. Good points and well taken. In the most literal sense that something/someone is worthy of worship (Awesome) is reserved for God alone. At the same time, there are things on this earth… some made by man… that result in awe that does NOT lead to worship of the creature. Maybe a better word would be, “breathtaking,” or “grand,” or “remarkable.” But those words also… in their strictest sense… should be reserved for God.

    Is it wrong to describe the beauty and grandeur of something without infringing upon God’s greatness? I think so. Personally, it is rare I use the word awesome and I reserve it for those things which make me stop and take in what I’m seeing as way above the normal sights and sounds of life.

    Is the Grand Canyon awesome? Is a sunset awesome? Is the colors of the trees in the fall as they change awesome? Of course… mainly because they drive me to worship of the One who made them!

    Recently I visited the Biltmore House and Estate. Viewing those things caused me to step back… in awe… and think, “That is a shack compared to what it will be like in heaven!” The awe I experienced of a human being’s accomplishment drove me to contemplate the awesome (Properly used here) nature of what God is preparing in heaven for those He loves.

    Maybe there is a place for awesome (Little “a”) and Awesome (Capital “A”) and AWESOME (In reference to God). But then again… maybe I’m the one splitting hairs!

    Thanks Bill. As always you bring a perspective that is thoughtful… insightful… and worth contemplating!

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