“Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
his majesty is above earth and heaven” (Psalm 148:13)(ESV).
History reveals that the proper name of God, which is written as JHWH, quickly became regarded as so sacred to the ancient Jews that, by the third century BC, the consonants were no longer even articulated! Over time, other names for God developed and were used throughout Hebrew Scripture. These names described certain aspects of God’s nature and/or his relationship to his people.
Because Scripture is the inspired Word of God himself, these different names are God’s own way of revealing himself to us. So for example, when we see Adonai, it tells us that God is Lord, Master; El Shaddai means the Lord God Almighty; El Olam is the Everlasting God; Jehovah Jireh reveals the Lord will Provide; Jehovah Shalom tells us the Lord is Peace.
Regardless of how God’s names were used throughout the history of both the Jews and the early Christians, the terms for God were always treated with the absolute greatest reverence.
So what in the world happened???
I started looking through some Old Testament passages about God. Both the original writers and their audiences would have known and meditated on these passages. They would likely have had most of them committed to memory.
So I started thinking about how God’s people might have used the phrase “Oh my God!” if it had been around some thousands of years ago.
As you read through and reflect on my examples, all developed from passages of Scripture, consider whether Christians today treat God’s name with the same level of reverence. And if we don’t, then consider how likely it is that we can be a people set apart for God’s purpose of drawing others to him if we are using God’s name in the same manner as those He is trying to save.
Oh my God! You are everlasting. You have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! The heavens declare your glory and the sky proclaims your handiwork!
Oh my God! You love me even though I don’t deserve it. Your loving kindness is great above the heavens, and your truth reaches to the skies. Your steadfast love never ceases; your mercies never come to an end!
Oh my God! You are the King of all the earth and I will sing praises to your name!
Oh my God! Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and you exalt yourself as head over all.
Oh my God! There is none like You, O LORD; You are great, and great is your name in might.
Oh my God! Oh, the depth of your riches and wisdom and knowledge! How unsearchable are your judgments and how inscrutable your ways! FROM you and THROUGH you and TO you are ALL THINGS!
Oh my God! Your hands have made and fashioned me; Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them!
Oh my God! My soul longs for your salvation! I hope in your Word!
Oh my God! Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path!
Oh my God! Your law is perfect; your testimony is sure; your precepts are right; your commandment is pure; your rules are true!
This list is but a snapshot of the examples we can very easily find throughout Scripture of why we should and how we can honor God with our words.
So if we as Christians really want to use Oh my God! then why don’t we make it meaningful and use it to truly honor God? Why don’t we use it in ways similar to examples above to really praise and worship the God who saves us, who fixes our brokenness, who completes us?
I leave us with this parting prayer, taken from Psalm 19:
Oh my God! May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.