“Who is like you – majestic in holiness, awesome in glory” Exodus 15.11
Awesome has taken on a new meaning in recent years and is commonly understood by many to mean ‘amazing’. However, at the root of the original word is the concept of ‘fear’; the kind of feeling that can root you to the spot and over which you have little control. This is what is being conveyed when God is described as “awesome in glory”. It is more than the fact that simply seeing God would be an amazing sight, but that it would also root us the spot and render us helpless.
When we think of the presence of God within us, we might think of it in terms of a sense of peace or the ability to do something we might otherwise be unable to do. This may well be God’s kindness to us, for if we could sense the ‘awesomeness’ of his glory and presence within us we would probably be unable to move or do anything at all!
When the Bible calls on us to ‘fear’ the Lord, it is this sense that we are encouraged to capture. It is not about fearing to go near him, but is recognising the truth of what we do not necessarily experience – just how awesome God really is, whether we feel it or not. Capturing the wonder of how awesome he is – the fear of the Lord – is what will feed your worship, guide your path and give focus to your prayers.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission