People often say, “God is awesome,” or, “Our God is an awesome God.” There’s even a song with that title. But what does it mean to be in awe of God? I don’t know the origins of the term aha moment, but I believe it must be connected with the word awe. Merriam-Webster defines the word awe as “an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime.”
Leviticus 9:22–24 describes Aaron and the priests during a time of worship when they fell on their faces out of fear, reverence, respect, awe, and wonder from the knowledge that God was in their midst. Biblical references to the fear of God often also mean deep respect and reverential awe of realizing who He really is!
An Awe-Ha Moment
Merriam-Webster defines awe in its verb form to mean “inspired and filled with awe,”3 as in being awed by the beauty of the mountains. I think a more accurate term for an aha moment would be an awe-ha moment! As pastors, Larry and I have seen these aha moments pass over our people’s faces or show up in their words and body language as they hear the Word of God and experience an epiphany. Often someone will say, “Pastor, I finally get it!”
There are Bible terms that refer to this same concept. The Greek word logos refers to the written Word of God. The Greek word rhema is also based upon the written Word of God but refers to the Word being spoken and brought to life and its significance as it applies to a specific person or circumstance. We often refer to these as revelations that can cause a turning point, open new opportunities, or expand our limited perspective of our lives and futures.
This is the type of knowing that Jesus referred to in John 8:32 when He stated, “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free” (emphasis added). Larry and I can look back and point to every time we experienced one of these dynamic rhema, knowing, epiphany, wake-up, revelation, or aha moments that hit us in our hearts. As we owned the realities of His promises and truths, they have dynamically impacted us, set us free, and changed the course of our lives forever. We have experienced these points since we were both born-again decades ago. We’ve joyfully experienced these aha moments when God called us to ministry and we sur- rendered our futures to His will. Look at some of the revelations we’ve received in our aha moments: God is a good, loving, kind Father, not a mean, hard taskmaster. God is not a taker; He is a giver. God does not require us to take a vow of poverty but to take a vow of priorities.
You know, those eight thousand promises in the Bible belong to you. They belong to us too. We know today that God is Jehovah Rapha: the God who heals Lion and who heals me! To recap, the word awe has three different aspects of meaning: the power to inspire fear or dread (this is where the word awful originated) to be inspired or awestruck, such as by the beauty of creation respect, reverence, amazement, astonishment, or wonder inspired by authority or the sacred The type of awe we have for the Lord becomes our point of reference to how we see God. The type of awe we have for God impacts how we see God, how we respond to Him, how we relate to Him, and how we expect to receive things from Him.
Consider this. If we see God as vengeful, filled with the awe of fear and dread. We don’t want to be close to someone we fear or dread. Our response to knowing God will be one of apprehension. If we see God as good and pleasant and appreciate Him, that is good but it’s not really personal or a priority or relevant in our hearts. This kind of awe produces thoughts that God is there, but He is irrelevant in our lives, so we become indifferent to His presence and person.
If we see God as magnificent, all-powerful, sacred, and our loving Father, then our perspective of Him will be filled with the awe of sacred reverence, respect, amazement, astonishment, wonder, personal intimacy, hope, faith, confidence, inspiration, and expectation. What are your everyday “God thoughts”? What perspective of awe do you have for the Lord? Fearful, indifferent, casual, cautiously hopeful, intimate, faith-filled, expectant? An awe-ha moment with God and His promises can take us from awful and hopeless to awesome and hopeful. That awe-ha moment leaves us awestruck and assured of the fullness of His promises, blessings, and miracles to come in our own lives and futures!
Be Still and Know He Is God
These same awe-ha and aha moments are here for you too. No matter what you’re facing, let the Spirit of God bring the promises of God to life within your heart right now. Take a moment to close your eyes, calm your mind, be still and “know” that He is God. (See Psalm 46:10.) Pause and let it sink in deeply how much God loves you and how awesome He is. Own these truths personally. Let these biblical truths bring a moment of truth to your heart and life. But above all, try to grasp the reality and awe that God is real and that you are in His presence!