“O God!”

“O God”

“O God!”

Richard Hollerman

How often have you heard someone speaking and in the midst of their conversation, they utter the following words: “O God!” We even hesitate to write these words in an article like this for generally they are expressed with a complete disregard for God’s holiness, supremacy, and purity. But we admit that the words can be used in a legitimate and good way.

Suppose a repentant man falls on his knees, with tearful face buried in his hands, and cries out, “O God, be merciful to me and cleanse me of sin” (see Luke 18:13). This would be entirely appropriate and would express this contrite man’s penitent attitude. Or suppose a man steps outside at night and lifts his eyes to the starry heavens. As he does this, he spontaneously and appropriately cries out, “O God, You are so great and majestic! Your creative hand is seen in countless ways!” Again, this would be right and proper.

On the other hand, we probably all know that this utterance is usually found on the lips of the profane, the worldly, and the sacrilegious to express surprise, to manifest disappointment, to convey anger, or to emphasize disbelief. With a desire to emphasize some attitude or thought with more than a usual verbal expression, even the most worldly will use this utterance, sometimes loudly and at other times as merely part of his or her manner of speaking. It seems like this term is a favorite one of event those who claim to not believe in God or perhaps those who hardly ever give God a passing thought!

Have you ever considered how utterly evil this way of talking is! This is what the Bible calls, “Blasphemy!” This term means, “impious utterance or action concerning God or sacred things” (Random House Webster’s College Dictionary). It may also be defined as “a contemptuous or profane act, utterance, or writing concerning God or a sacred entity” (The American Heritage College Dictionary). Obviously, the term we have been considering does fit this description.

“O God”

What does Scripture say? Our Lord Jesus said, “Every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37). Surely this term is a “careless word” and those who commit this blasphemy will give an account before God Himself on the day of Judgment! How would you like to have to answer God for the way you have defiled His Holy Name in this way!

Paul the apostle wrote, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29). We will agree that using God’s name in this way would be an “unwholesome word” and it surely would not “give grace” to those who hear such a word uttered! We would need to conclude that it is part of the “abusive speech from your mouth” mentioned in Colossians 3:8b).

Even the third commandment of Moses states, “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7). As we read this warning, surely it should cause some of our readers to shake in terror as they recall the times they have taken God’s name in vain in this trite, careless, and even blasphemous way! And take note that God will not leave such a person “unpunished” for his impious utterance!

Sadly, we have often heard preachers and other religious church-going people to use a variation of these words. They either say, “O God!” or “Dear God!” or merely “God!” Sometimes we even read the same idea expressed in the letters, “OMG!” Variations would use “Lord” or “Jesus Christ” in such expressions. However, these days it seems that “God” is the preferred profanity.

How sad! How shocking! How blasphemous and dishonoring to the Creator and Ruler of heaven and earth! If this describes you, we urge you to repent and express your sorrow to God for misusing his name in this way! Instead, use His name in praise and thanksgiving! “Give thanks to Him, bless His name” (Psalm 100:4b).

What about you? Do you need to repent of this superficial use of God’s own name? Even though God’s personal name, “Yahweh,” may not be used, to use “God” in a superficial and disrespectful way like this is wrong—and sinful. Begin to use His name in a respectful, honorable, and reverent way—for His glory!



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