March 21: Sins of Omission

Numbers 24–25; 1 Corinthians 7:17–40; Psalm 21:1–13

There’s that moment when you’re asked to do something you know is wrong, but you feel like you should respond. It’s almost as fleeting as the decision to not stand up for what is right, even when no one asks for your opinion. Many wrongdoings occur in these moments—these chances for sins of omission. Being silent is as bad as committing the wrong action, which is why the American court system prosecutes all the people committing an armed robbery for murder when only one gunman pulls the trigger.

Balaam, the prophet from Moab, had such an opportunity. After he was asked by Yahweh to bless the people of Israel—in opposition to his own king’s request (Num 22:1–6)—he could have done nothing at all. Or he could have made Yahweh like the gods of Moab—subjecting them to his will instead of their own—but he instead follows the orders of Yahweh and blesses the people of Israel (Num 24:3–9).

The psalmist addresses what can happen when things go differently: “Though they have plotted evil against you [Yahweh], though they have planned a scheme, they will not prevail. For you will turn them to flight, you will aim arrows on your bowstrings at their faces” (Psa 21:11–12).

We can hinder or help the work of God. Often this work can be done by much subtler means. Consider how you act or choose not to act in key moments, whether big or small. Today, choose to do the work that God has called you to do.

What sins of omission are currently in your life?

John D. Barry[1]


[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

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