Oh: Word for the Day

O

In November of last year I posted a blog entry devoted to the Word for the Day, rather than the Verse of the Day. In these entries I examined a particular word or phrase, expounding upon its meaning and personal application. Two such entries were developed last year, and I would like to post an entry today that targets the word “Oh.” Whether spelled with one letter (O) or two (Oh), the word is an interjection, a familiar part of speech that is used to express a wide range of emotions, including pain, sorrow, joy, excitement, hesitation, recognition, and many others.

Throughout the Bible “Oh” or “O,” depending on the translation, is used to express surprise, acknowledgement, or regret, as in the first time that the word is used in the Bible. E.W. Bullinger points out that the first time that a particular word is used in the Bible marks its significance and importance when studying the word. The first usage in Bible is found in Genesis 17:18 (Amplified Bible) in this exchange:

And Abraham said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael [my firstborn] might live before You!”

Throughout the Psalms the term is used 67 times. Here is an instance where a cry out to God is expressed in this way:

Psalm 25: 17

My problems go from bad to worse. Oh, save me from them all!

A number of places in Psalms express wonder, amazement, and absolute awe of God, such as Psalm 31:19 (AMP):

Oh, how great is Your goodness,
Which You have laid up for those who fear You,
Which You have prepared for those who trust in You
In the presence of the sons of men!

Psalm 32:1 in New Living Translation expresses David’s delight in God in light of His forgiveness:

Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight.

In Psalm 34:8 the Psalmist offers an invitation which opens with the interjection:

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

This particular verse was the inspiration behind this this scripture memory song:

Oh, Taste and See

Oh, taste and see, see that the Lord is good, so good.
Blessed is the man that puts his trust in Him.

Partake of the Word of God,
Taste and see that it is good.
It will fill you up
More than any kind of food.

Oh, taste and see, see that the Lord is good, so good.
Blessed is the man that puts his trust in Him.

Partake of the Word of God,
Let it richly dwell within.
It will help you grow.
It’s better than a vitamin.

Oh, taste and see, see that the Lord is good, so good.
Blessed is the man that puts his trust in Him.

Partake of the Word of God,
Read the Word and put God first.
It will feed your soul
And satisfy your thirst.

Oh, taste and see, see that the Lord is good, so good.
Blessed is the man that puts his trust in Him.

In a striking contrast, David calls out to God in desperation. Feeling overwhelmed and beset by his enemies on every hand, David calls out in Psalm 55:6 which introduces another scripture memory song:

Oh, That I Had Wings Like a Dove

And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove!
for then would I fly away, and be at rest.
Psalm 55:6

Oh, that I had wings like a dove,
wings like a dove, wings like a dove.
Oh, that I had wings like a dove,
I would fly away and be at rest.

Then I would fly away to the cleft of the rock
And find my refuge in His secret place.
For there’s safety in the cleft of the rock.
He wraps my soul in His mercy and grace.

Oh, that I had wings like a dove,
wings like a dove, wings like a dove.
Oh, that I had wings like a dove,
I would fly away and be at rest.

There’s safety from confusion and strife
Where all fears dissolve and all worries cease.
Resting and nesting to bring forth new life,
He surrounds me with His love and peace.

Oh, that I had wings like a dove,
wings like a dove, wings like a dove.
Oh, that I had wings like a dove,
then I would fly away and be at rest.

Psalm 107 opens with this exclamatory statement:

Psalm 107:1

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

A similar expression is repeated as refrain throughout the psalm in verses 8, 15, 21

Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

This refrain from Psalm 107:8, 15, and 21 is rendered in song:

In addition to the various places in the Psalms and in other books of the Old Testament, the expression “Oh” is used sparingly throughout the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, as well as some of the epistles of Paul: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, and Galatians, with the last use of the word found in 1 Timothy 1:14 (NLT):

Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.

At times we are so overcome with gratitude to God for His goodness and for His graciousness, and all we can say is “Oh, my goodness, Oh my gracious. . . Oh, my goodness, Oh, my gracious Lord!”

To close out our discussion of the Word of the Day, listen to a song based on Psalm 105:1-5, 7-8a: “Oh, Give Thanks to the LORD” by Esther Mui.

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