by Wayne S. Walker
“He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever: Holy and awesome is His name” (Psalm 111.9). Instead of “awesome” the familiar KJV had “reverend.” Some versions use the word “aweful” which literally means “full of awe but which is used today in our colloquial speech to mean nasty. We hear the word “awesome” quite frequently from the lips of young people today to refer to anything that is nice or great. What in previous generations was “the bees knees” or “the cat’s pajamas,” and when I was growing up was called “cool,” today is “awesome.” Sometimes words lose their significance by overuse.
Though I am not nearly so well travelled as some, I have seen many nice, even great, things in my life. I have seen the beauty of the Florida tropics. I have seen the quietness of the Arizona desert. I have seen the majesty of the Rocky Mountains and the lesser but still spectacular grandeur of the Great Smokies. I have seen the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean from the North Carolina shore, and of the Pacific Ocean from a beach in California. I even appreciate the simplicity of the midwest prairie landscape. I am sure that there are other breathtaking things in this world, but the only thing that I have ever seen which even comes close to “awesome” is the Grand Canyon.
Yet, He who made the Grand Canyon and all these other things must be far more “awesome” than they. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1.1). In contrast to the awesome physical creation, we wonder with David, “What is man, that you are mindful of him and the son of man that You visit him?” (Psalm 8:3). Yet we know that God is mindful of man, not only in making material provisions for physical life here on earth, but making spiritual provisions for our eternal souls. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Yes, when we consider all that God has done for us, truly we can say, “Holy and awesome is Your name.”