Monday, February 05, 2018

The lure of the occult

Divination - fortune telling cards, palmistry
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Leviticus 19-20; Psalm 36

TO CHEW ON: "Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God." Leviticus 19:31

What do we make of such a prohibition in our time of occult popularity? The paranormal is a movie and book genre of its own with a huge following. Many look at getting their palms or tea leaves read, or following their horoscope as a lark and entirely harmless. What about hanging onto objects that are supposed to ward off bad luck or attract good luck?

The Bible is very clear in its prohibition of witchcraft and related occultic activities.

  • God is against it - Leviticus 20:6, 27; Exodus 22:18.
The story of King Saul illustrates this. 1 Samuel 28:1-24 tells the story of his desperate seeking out of a woman with connections to the spirit world when he no longer heard from God. 1 Chronicles 10:13 gives us God's perspective on what he did.
The story of Manasseh is another example. His avid pursuit of the occult brought calamity on the nation (2 Kings 21:1-17).
  • Witchcraft defined: What exactly are we talking about? Deuteronomy 8:10-11 lists the activities that are called an "abomination" to God:
"For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead" (NLT).
Isaiah describes the speech of a medium in these spooky words:
"You will speak out of the ground; your speech shall be low, out of the dust; your voice shall be like a medium's, out of the ground; and your speech shall whisper out of the dust" - Isaiah 29:4. 
  • Sorcery is also condemned in the New Testament - Galatians 5:20; Revelation 21:8.
  • Witchcraft's root: The sobering words I will end with, though, are Samuel's words to King Saul after he had committed blatant disobedience:
"For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry" - 1 Samuel 15:23.

If we follow the lure of the occult to its source, we find a familiar and perhaps not-so-foreign-to-us root: REBELLION. So even though we've avoided practicing blatant forms of occultism, we may not be as lily white as we'd like to think!

PRAYER: Dear God, I confess that I have been rebellious. Help me to see any heart rebellion for the serious issue that it is. Amen.


Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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