This past week our Life Group (church Bible study small group) was discussing Psalm 96 (to read the whole Psalm click here) as we talked about being in awe of God. We started our conversation sharing stories of times we had stepped into awe; standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon, driving down into Zion National Park, witnessing the birth of a child, taking in a sunset or sunrise, feeling the spray of Niagara Falls…and I’m sure you could add yours to the list; gazing at the dazzling night sky from the mountains, taking in the grandeur of a majestic mountain, peering through your diving goggles at the sea life just below the surface of the crystal blue ocean, taking us to that place of awe.
To be in awe is to choose to be amazed, to be in wonder, to let go of self and control and worry and productivity and pause and take in something way bigger than ourselves. To step into awe is to take a moment and acknowledge the greatness around us. And as Psalm 33:8 says, we are to be in awe of God
Psalm 33:8 Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him!
This word ‘awe’ in Hebrew means to stand in reverence, to stop for a moment, turn aside from what you are doing, and journey into the greatness of God with a reverent fear of His immenseness.
Psalm 95:6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
Psalm 96:4 For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.
Psalm 96:6-9 6 Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. 7 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength! 8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come into His courts! 9 Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness, tremble before Him, all the earth!
As we step into awe of God the Holy Spirit expands our understanding of Him. Like we talked last week, it’s not that God needs continual assurance of His greatness like we humans tend to desire, or that He needs our awe, but as we acknowledge His awesomeness, we grow in our knowledge and experience of Him. As well, our stepping into awe moves faith from the brain to the heart, bringing in those emotions of wonder, amazement, reverence, and fear.
Psalm 2:11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
Have you ever had in such a sense of the awesomeness of God you trembled? Felt so taken by His grandeur, majesty, power, might, or love that you were so struck with amazement your whole being shuttered? I would have to say those times are uncomfortably rare. Not because God is hiding His magnificence, more because I have not taken that pause to step into awe. Psalm 46:10 says ‘Be still, and know that I am God…”
Yes the awe of God can sneak up on you, but most of the time it takes of us to stop for a moment and step into dwelling on God.
Jeremiah 10:6 There is none like you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is great in might.
1 Chronicles 29:11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is Yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and You are exalted as head above all.
So here is a challenge! Try to take a moment and step into awe of God today. It will make a difference. You may even start to make a habit of it. Why not try?
Stepping into awe of God with you,
PS This summer we are going through a teaching series entitled, “Wrestling with God in Prayer: Intense Internal Interactions with God’s Holy Spirit about Life,” and stepping into awe of God is part of the wrestling. We would love for you to either join us at one of our branch churches or listen on line. Here is our web site to help you connect: www.cypresschurch.net