“My flesh,” the psalmist admits, “trembles in fear of You; I stand in awe of your laws.” So Psalm 119:120. I could have said God “intimidates” but that normally means intent to scare. What the psalmist has in mind is this:
God’s utterly baffling and terrifying and overwhelming transcendent holiness and love confronts a sinful human being in his or her own finitude and it makes the human being’s flesh bristle and the hair to stand up in utter awesome fear of God’s utter majesty.
Like Moses before God on Mount Sinai, like Isaiah when he was high and lifted up, like the apostles before Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, like the apostle Paul when he encountered the Lord of glory on the road to Damascus and like the seer of Revelation when he saw the little Lamb on the throne.
Awe is normally used as a noun — as in “we stand in awe.” But “awe” is also a transitive verb — God awe’s and we are awed. Moutains quake and the strom clouds break and the valleys rise up to greet the coming of our great God — and when we stand before such a God, we know what awe is.
There are no human analogies: all pale before the kind of “awe” we are describing. Before God we fall flat in worship. And in that position we find we are most human, thoroughly Eikonic, and full of pleasure.