What does "awesome" really mean?

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For a while now, the word "awesome" has been used to describe pretty much anything good. "That was awesome, dude!" What was awesome? A meal? A belly flop into a pool? Was it really "awesome"? You tell me.

What does "awesome" mean?

The word "awesome" actually means to inspire awe. Awe is supposed to leave you speechless in wonder. The Bible describes this awe or great wonder as "fear." One place we see this is when God sent the plagues on Egypt. At this point, The land of Egypt had been afflicted with water turned to blood, frogs everywhere (even filling houses), a fog of small gnats or lice, swarms of flies, wide-spread cattle disease, and boils (nasty sores) on people and animals. All of this was done in the name of the Lord (Yahweh), the God of Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Moses, and the children of Israel. By this point, Pharaoh wasn't convinced, but some Egyptians had learned awe, great respect, or fear of the Lord. They had learned that what God said He would do, He was going to do and they had better pay attention. Look what happened next. Moses again spoke to Pharaoh to warn him of what God was going to do.
"'Behold, about this time tomorrow I will cause very heavy hail to fall, such as never has been in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. Now therefore send, get your livestock and all that you have in the field into safe shelter, for every man and beast that is in the field and is not brought home will die when the hail falls on them.’ Then whoever feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh hurried his slaves and his livestock into the houses, but whoever did not pay attention to the word of the Lord left his slaves and his livestock in the field." Exodus 9:18-21 (ESV)

Is God really so scary?

God gave us His Word (the Bible) so we could know Him better and understand our relationship to Him. God told us and has shown us how much He loves us (see this video for more information). But, we also know that God made us. He made everything, including time. That is why God is the one in charge and making the rules, not us. One of my favorite illustrations of this is Job 38-42. Anytime I am in doubt of how great, mighty, and worthy of awe my God is, I read those chapters. It's like being smacked upside the head in a "duh" moment. Guess what? I don't know everything. I don't even come close. But I know the only One who does. Do you? (Learn more here.) Here is a great video I ran across last week by Francis Chan that shows this principle beautifully. So what would you consider "awesome"? A burger or the God of the universe?
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