Question:

For some time I have been struggling with omens, things happening at the right time in the right way and I apply meaning to them that is not there. I might sin or think I sinned and then I happen to read a passage about Hell, see a sign that says "only 5 days left," I hear my house creak when I sin, or a cloud blocks the sun when I sin, etc.

When is an omen a sin? When these omens happen, I get anxious because they usually mean something bad to me. While I do not truly believe that God caused it necessarily, most of the time (maybe all the time), I wonder if God did it, which scares me. Then I eventually calm down and reason that it is probably not from God or something like this. Deuteronomy 18:10 in the NAS95 says "interprets omens", so when is it a sin? I think this interpretation is maybe explaining an omen to someone or telling someone what an omen means if one occurs, I do not think that it means that just because I assign meaning to a strange event or thing that I am sinning.

What are your thoughts?


Answer:

Omens are supposed to be events that predict a future event. There were real omens sent by God in the Bible, generally called "signs." "Hear, O Joshua, the high priest, You and your companions who sit before you, For they are a wondrous sign; For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the Branch" (Zechariah 3:8). But the declaring and interpreting omens in general are condemned in the Bible because the process is fake. "There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer" (Deuteronomy 18:10).

You can see this in your own examples. You don't only read a passage about hell when you sin. You read it at other times, but it doesn't make as big of an impact then because the talk of hell reminds you that you did wrong. I'm positive that your house creaks all the time, but you only pay attention to it when you have a guilty conscience. Clouds block the sun all the time, but again, it is only because you know you sinned that you pay attention to it at that moment in time. In other words, you don't need an omen to know you sinned, you already know that.

But what it does mean is that you need to fix the problem. You need to make changes in your life so that sin doesn't trap you so often. "For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter" (II Corinthians 7:10-11).

Instead of looking for vague omens that basically mean whatever you decide they should mean, open up your Bible and pay attention to what God said, and then do it. "Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does" (James 1:21-25).