“Who is like you … awesome in glory?” Exodus 15.11b
Awesome has taken on a new meaning in recent years and many understand it to mean ‘amazing’. However, at its root the original word contains the concept of ‘fear’. It conveys something of the feeling that can root us to the spot and over which we have little control. When God is described as ‘awesome in glory’, this is what is being conveyed. It is not just that it would be an amazing sight to see God, but that it would root us to 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. Sometimes we may not feel anything at all. God is probably being very good to us in this, for if we could sense the ‘awesomeness’ of his glory and presence within us, then 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 being encouraged to capture. It is not about any fear or anxiety in approaching him, but is about the truth of what we do not necessarily experience – how awesome he really is, whether or not we feel it.
Capturing the wonder of how awesome God is – the fear of the Lord – is what is going to 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
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