In the Bible, the Hebrew word for “awesome” is used over 370 times in the Old Testament—and the majority of the time, it is referring to God. Let's look at some of these verses
Who is like you among the gods, O Lord—glorious in holiness, awesome in splendor, performing great wonders? ~ Exodus 15:11 (NLT)
No, do not be afraid of those nations, for the Lord your God is among you, and he is a great and awesome God. ~ Deuteronomy 7:21 (NLT)
For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed. ~ Deuteronomy 10:17 (NLT)
For the Lord Most High is awesome. He is the great King of all the earth. ~ Psalm 47:2 (NLT)
God is awesome in his sanctuary. The God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God! ~ Psalm 68:35 (NLT)
The highest angelic powers stand in awe of God. He is far more awesome than all who surround his throne. ~ Psalm 89:7 (NLT)
I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “O Lord, you are a great and awesome God! You always fulfill your covenant and keep your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and obey your commands. ~ Daniel 9:4 (NLT)
Again and again, the Bible emphasizes there is only that is the bomb or the boss. There is only one that is off the hizzle and redonkulous. There is only one that is Sic, Righteous, and stupid-fresh. There is only one that is awesome—the Lord God Almighty.
Yet, we find an “awesome song,” and sing the song in our heads again and again, yet we don’t sing the praises of God at all outside of church. We play this “awesome video game” for hours and hours, yet can’t find the time to study Scripture for thirty minutes and follow that up with twenty minutes of prayer. We talk incessantly about an “awesome movie” and wonder what part two (or three or four) might bring, yet don’t talk about the Lord and hardly wonder about what He wants to do in and through our lives.
In short, we trade the awesomeness of God for such little things. But we’ve convinced ourselves that these little things are awesome as well, and so we never think about this poor trade that we have made.
If I can do just one thing for you through this blog entry, I hope that one thing is to burst the fake bubble that many in our culture are living in…this bubble where you actually believe that this world offers things that are awesome—because this world does not.
If you were to turn to Jeremiah 2 in your Bible, you would know that it was not going to be a pleasant read just by the chapter heading! Depending on your translation, you might read titles like, “The Results of Israel’s Sin,” “Israel Forsakes God,” and “Judah’s Apostasy.” Not good!
Once in the chapter itself, you quickly find that the Lord is quite annoyed with the Israelites for repeatedly trading in the awesomeness of God for what the world offers. After listing off the many ways He has cared for them and watched over them, God laments:
“For my people have done two evil things: They have forsaken me -- the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!” (Verse 13)
Keeping with this theme, a few verses later, God questions, “What have you gained by your alliances with Egypt and Assyria? What good to you are the waters of the Nile and the Euphrates?” (Verse 18)
To fully appreciate what the Lord is saying here, we have to understand a few things. In our day and age, with water taps in all our kitchens and bathrooms, we struggle to appreciate just how vital water is to our survival.
In Bible times, however, rivers were life. All major cities and towns were near rivers. All agriculture occurred near rivers. The heart of any ancient civilization beat by a river. The Nile and the Euphrates were especially important because both were in arid environments. The Egyptians and Babylonians relied on these respective rivers for water, for fishing, for irrigation, for everything. These rivers meant life.
So when God asks, "What have you gained by your alliances with Egypt and Assyria? What good to you are the waters of the Nile and the Euphrates?” He is really saying, “You have traded me in in an effort to find life apart from me. You are seeking to center on things other than me, and what has it gotten you?”
The Lord lets them know that He alone is the fountain of life. There is hope, fulfillment, joy, and peace only in Him. Yet, the Israelites had taken their cracked buckets to lesser streams. Trying to fill themselves with all that the world offered, they stubbornly refused to admit that their buckets were empty. The few drops clinging to the bottom of the bucket were their only reward for rejecting the fountain of life.
In our culture, life is not centered on rivers. Rather, it is centered on self. That is, on the selfish pursuit of our own pleasure and dream fulfillment. We leave the fountain of life because the rivers of Hollywood promise us “awesome” movies and TV shows that will supposedly bring us a measure of pleasure and happiness.
We forsake the fountain of life because streaming from the internet is one dalliance after another that we hope will satiate us. We turn our back on the fountain of life because God’s plans seem dull and boring and the world seems to offer so much awesome stuff.
We flee the fountain of life for the drying creek beds of porn, money, fame, sports, music, entertainment, possessions, and more. Yet, in spite of all our effort, the cracked buckets we carry cannot satisfy our thirst—no matter how much we label them as awesome.
Trading in God never delivers. Crossing over to dip our buckets in lesser rivers leaves us feeling dry and empty. We must continually work hard to remember this. We must constantly fight the temptations of the culture and the bent of our own nature.
Movies, TV shows, websites, bands, actors, tech gadgets, sports’ stars, or whatever else, won’t be there for you when your battling depression, dealing with cancer, struggling with sin, feeling alone, fighting pain, or looking for answers…but there is One who will be there for you through all of that in more.
Don’t trade Him away for lesser things—seek to experience just how awesome the Lord is. If you do, then you will finally understand what this word "awesome" really, truly means.