Christians speak of an ‘awesome God’, even write praise songs about him. I wonder if we really understand what that means. The word awesome gets thrown around to describe many things in our modern culture, everything from a cup of coffee, to better than average experiences, to a relationship with that special girl or boy. The word has been mangled and misused so as to lack any meaning, and we have no concept of real awe and what inspires it.
The dictionary defines awesome as “extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear”. We think of God as loving, tender and gracious, and he is. If that’s the limits of our perception of Him, then we don’t really know God. If we don’t experience at least a little apprehension at the thought of approaching God, then we need to go back and learn who He is.
God is. Genesis 1:1 we are told, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Consider what that’s saying. Before there was a beginning, God was already there. He has always existed and will always exist even after the creation we know has disappeared. When asked His name by Moses, He said, “I AM”. No matter where you look at the timeline of human history God was there and is already present in what we call the future. The Psalmist described it this way: “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born or you gave birth to earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Psalm 90:1-2).
God exists everywhere. “Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your right hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night, Even the darkness is not dark to You. And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You” (Psalm 139:7-12) . This should either terrorize you or give you immense comfort. If you’re trying to run from God or think you can hide from Him it should scare you to death. On the other hand, if are trying to draw closer to God you can enjoy peace knowing that you can never be in any place or situation where God is not there.
God is immensely powerful. As you read the creation account in the first chapter of Genesis, pay attention to what the words actually say. Over and over the Bible tells us, “Then God said”. The earth, the universe as we know it, sprang into existence at God’s spoken word. It was literally thought into existence by a God who has power we can’t even begin to comprehend. At Mount Sinai the Israelites experienced the power of God firsthand, seen in fire and earthquakes, and “all the people who were in the camp trembled” (Exodus 19:16). Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God”. The Old Testament speaks of God destroying armies and leveling nations. It tells how mankind became so totally sinful it caused God to grieve their creation and destroy all life except Noah, his family, and a few select animals, with a flood. If you are a Christian, why are you so timid in your prayers, when you know God is able to do great things? And if you are not a Christian, why on earth would you believe you can stand against or live without Him?
God knows everything. “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down. And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.” (Psalm 139:1-6) Consider this: God knows everything about you, right down to the number of cells, molecules and atoms that compose you. He knows what you’re thinking, even before you think it. He knows everything you’ve ever done. Nothing escapes God’s attention. When you think you’ve got God figured out, you need to go back to Isaiah and remind yourself, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts. Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55: 8-9) Just as you can never run away from God, you can never hide your thoughts from Him, and you are foolish to think you can always know what He’s thinking and planning. God had a plan for creation from before its beginning and for after its end, and He remains firmly in control of it-all of it. Men and women dedicated to evil make their plans, but God has already defeated them through Christ’s death on the cross. While it may seem that evil has the upper hand, the final victory has already been won. God’s delay in declaring, “Enough”, is for the purpose of every man and woman to have the opportunity to come to Him through Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:9). But there will come a time when time is no more. Then it will be too late.
Our pride and arrogance are breathtaking, a result of living in a world controlled by sin and being blinded by the lie that we can somehow be our own gods. Being consumed by our pride, we fail to see God in all His glory, and so we fail to be awed by Him. Only when we see ourselves clearly and God fully will we finally realize how awesome He truly is. He wishes to be sought and found. His signature is written on all His creation, and we can see it if we actually look and see it. But His full portrait can only be found in His love letter to humanity, the Bible. He wishes you to find Him; are you willing to seek Him?