One cannot escape from hearing it in the world. Just listen to TV or radio long enough and someone will say it: “Oh, My God!”, or “My God!”, or just “God!” A quick Google search reveals that it even has it's own Wikipedia page. Not only is it a reaction statement said without a second thought, it is also the name of a rock band, the title of a number of albums and songs, the title of some foreign films, and even the name of a video game! It is so common it even has its own abbreviation for texting purposes, “OMG.” It's everywhere, even on the lips of some Christians!
Would you be surprised to know this statement is biblical? It was often on Nehemiah's lips. Three times in one chapter he says, “Remember me, O my God” (Nehemiah 13:14, 22, 31) and once he says, “Remember them, O my God” (Nehemiah 13:29). It is heard often in the Book of Psalms. No less than twelve times the Psalmist sings, “O my God” and goes on to use countless variants of this phrase (Psalms 3:7, 22:2, 25:2, 38:21, 40:8,17, 42:6, 59:1, 71:4,12,22; 83:13, et al). Even Jesus on the cross cried out, “My God, My God, Why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). Yet with every case found in the Bible, not once is it used as an expression of surprise or slang. It is just the opposite! It is used with the utmost respect and reverence. It is a phrase of prayer, of pleading, and of a personal relationship with God.
Therefore, Christian, be careful of what you say! James writes, “Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so” (3:10). One of the greatest pieces of advice ever given is, “Think before you speak.” Neither surprise nor anger is an adequate excuse for taking the Lord's name in vain. So, the next time you use the Lord's name, let it be in prayer.
“O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed” (Psalm 25:2)
Josh Allen (Pikeville, KY)
Josh Allen has been serving the Main Street congregation since 2010.