Omission and Commission

Isaiah makes another run at the sins of God's people.

God’s Eternal Covenant: Isaiah 59 (2)

Pray Psalm 102.1, 2.

Hear my prayer, O LORD,
And let my cry come to You.
Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble;
Incline Your ear to me;
In the day that I call, answer me speedily.

Read Isaiah 59.4, 5.

1. God indicts His people for sins of commission and omission. How do you see that?

2. What was the cause of their sins?

It can seem as if Isaiah is overworking this theme of sin. He keeps returning to it and looking at it from different angles. Here he calls out the people for their sins of omission– things they should have done, but failed to do (v. 4). There is counsel for us here: Whenever injustice is occurring, or truth is being ignored, God expects His people to step up, speak out, and lead the way to justice and truth. The people of Judah and Jerusalem did not, and the nation slid down the slippery slope into idolatry and sin.

The people of God had put their trust in lies and empty words (v. 4), rather than the sure and unchanging Word of God. Winds of false teaching are always blowing through the Lord’s camp (Eph. 4.14, 15). We need to test every spirit by the Word of God (1 Jn. 4.1), and believe only what is in line with Scripture. Here again, Israel failed in this most fundamental calling, and evil and iniquity abounded as a result. Their sins of commissionwere as evil as their sins of omission.

And we never sin alone; that is, our sins never affect us only. They are like snake’s eggs, releasing vipers into the souls of those around us. Or they’re like spider’s webs that ensnare (v. 5). When we sin – whether by omission or commission – we fail to love God and our neighbors, and we also fail to love ourselves with the love God has for us, since we turn away from His truth and prefer lies instead.

Isaiah understood the destructive power of sin, so he kept coming at the subject, trying to lead the people to repent and return to the Lord. We should expect the same from those who minister the Word of God in our day.

1. What would be some examples of lies that people trust in today? How can we recognize when we’re being tempted to believe a lie?

2. How can believers prepare themselves to stand for justice and truth?

3. What can we expect if we fail to deal with the sin in our lives? In our churches?

It is not enough that we abstain from violence, if we do not, as far as lies in our power, hinder it from being committed by others. And, indeed, whoever permits what he is able to hinder does in some sense command it; so that silence is a sort of consent. John Calvin (1509-1564 AD), Commentary on Isaiah 59.4

Let no sin grip my soul, O Lord; instead, help me to deal with my sins as You convict me of it, then by…

Pray Psalm 102.

This psalm leads us to admit our weakness before the Lord, to acknowledge, confess, and repent of our sins, and to seek His renewing grace for ourselves and all His children.

Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 102 (Leominster: Not What My Hands Have Done)
Lord, hear my prayer and cry; hide not Your face from me!
In my distress and tears I sigh – Lord, hear my earnest plea!
My days like smoke blow past; my bones are scorched with sin.
My heart, like wilted, withered grass bends low to earth again.

With loudest groans and cries, and leanness in my soul,
No shelt’ring place arrests my eyes, no rest to make me whole.
My enemies grow strong; I weep with bitter tears;
My days are like a shadow, long; God’s face is no more near.

But You, O Lord, abide forever in Your place.
Arise and stand on Zion’s side and lavish us with grace!
Revive Your Church, O Lord! Let all her dust and stones
be strengthened by Your mighty Word, and compact be as one.

Then let the nations fear the glory of the Lord!
For He shall in His Church appear to heed our sighing words.
Then let our children learn to praise the Lord above.
He hears their groans and knows they yearn to dwell within His love.

Yet let us tell God’s Name and praise His glorious grace;
Let all as one His love proclaim together in this place. 
Though now our strength is low; though shortened grow our days,
Our God will not forsake us so, but keep us in His ways!

Of old You made the earth and heavens by Your hand.
Though they shall perish You endure; forever shall You stand.
They change, yet You remain the same, without an end. 
Our children shall Your favor gain, and theirs shall be Your friend.

T. M. Moore

How great is the salvation which is ours in Jesus Christ? Download the three installments of our free study, Such a Great Salvation, and learn for yourself (click here).

Forward today’s lesson to some friends, and challenge them to study with you through this series on Isaiah. Each week’s lessons will be available as a free PDF download at the end of the week. Get a copy for yourself and send the link for the download to your friends. Plan to meet weekly to study Isaiah’s important message.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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