What a weekend in Boston sports! Papa John’s pizza commercials, dramatic-ending victories for the New England Patriots over the New Orleans Saints and the Red Sox over my Tigers in the 9th inning, and God references all mixed together. All three were described as “awesome,” but let’s be honest. As my friend Brady Bobbink says, “AWESOME is a word that only should be used to describe the Creator and Author of life.”
I would define the word awesome as, “to show the proper respect and wonder that is inspired and demanded by an encounter with the impressive character and activity of God.” Moses had such a transforming encounter with God on Mount Sinai.
Read Exodus 3:1-6.
God got Moses’ attention one day with the sign of a bush engulfed in flames but that did not burn up or out. Not only was that an incredulous sight, but God stunned Moses further by calling out his name from the bush (v 4).
Scripture and history attest to the reality that God often does something unique in order to communicate who He is and get our attention (i.e., see nature and the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus). God would not permit Moses to treat Him as common or ordinary. He instructed him to maintain his distance and to remove his shoes because he was standing on holy ground (v 5). Then the Lord introduced Himself and Moses responded by kneeling, showing the awe and respect demanded by interaction with such a Being (v 6). God’s awesome presence calls for a response of quiet reverence that should be reserved exclusively for Almighty God. Abraham, Noah, Samson’s parents, Mary, and Paul experienced the same thing. Visions of God lead to reverence before God, right?
Consider a test that you could take yourself and your friends through this week: Take time to listen to and record how and when the word “awesome” is used over the next seven days. How often do you use it normal conversation? When is it used at the gym, in a sitcom, a song on the radio, by a sportscaster, or even by folks at church?
I know that the name of Jesus Christ is often used as a swear word, and/or in a heated and negative context. Wouldn’t it be great to say the word awesome and have people around you realize that you are referring solely and exclusively to God? Then follow your lead?
I enjoy pizza very much, but even having Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning promote Papa John’s pies does not inspire reverence in my mind. Sporting events are fun and exhilarating, but they hardly equal or demand the wonder and respect due to God.
When was the last time you trembled at the awesomeness of God? How will you cultivate your knowledge of God in a way that transforms your life this week? It may start with recognizing how you have made the “sacred” common and the “holy” familiar.
Grow devotionally. The One True God made the entire world from nothing, created all of us from the dust of the ground, and provided salvation freely for undeserving sinners like us through His Son, and our Savior, Jesus. Now that’s awesome.
Love is a verb,
©2013 by Mike Olejarz