“When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, be very careful not to imitate the detestable customs of the nations living there. 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. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord. It is because the other nations have done these detestable things that the Lord your God will drive them out ahead of you. But you must be blameless before the Lord your God. The nations you are about to displace consult sorcerers and fortune-tellers, but the Lord your God forbids you to do such things.”Deuteronomy 18:9-14
Back in my personal “Dark Ages” – before I knew anything about being a Christian – I was fascinated with all things spiritual. My library was mostly popular mystery novels, with heavy emphasis on the paranormal. I could make the planchette on a Quija Board fly through the letters, answering any question I chose to ask. I bragged about a sort of sixth sense, that I referred to as ‘fey’ – partly because of my Celtic ancestry and partly because it got the attention I was seeking when I went out for a drink after work with the girls.
At the time I was working in a large insurance office surrounded by women of varying belief systems. many who were also fascinated with the paranormal. Some were so involved they were spending coffee breaks and personal time charting their Horoscopes and making plans to attend a “parapsychology course” at the local University as a group.
One of these women thought of herself as an astrologer. Her library included many volumes on the paranormal, plus one huge book of instructions on “how to chart your own horoscope.” This was the book she loaned to me over a long holiday weekend so I could “chart” my horoscope.
I took the book and the charts home and spent most of my three days off trying to accomplish a horoscope that would foretell my future. From where I stood, my future was grim at best. Somewhere in all that reading one sentence jumped off the page and seared itself into my conscience as if highlighted with a bright florescent marker.
Do not become involved in the occult.
On Tuesday morning I gave the book back to Penny and told her what I had accomplished, mentioning the warning I had been given. She looked at me as though I’d lost my mind and stated flatly, “Ellen, that is NOT possible. Those words are NOT in my book! I’ll re-chart your horoscope myself and prove it to you.”
Early the following Monday she handed me her version of my “correct” horoscope with these words: “Like I said, there is nothing anywhere in any of my books that warns against becoming involved in the occult. Nothing!”
But I know what I saw! I can close my eyes and see it to this day.
Hindsight is 20/20.
Today I know if I had continued along the path I was following, deeper and deeper into the occult, my life would be very, very different from what it is now. God has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to the occult. I now realize that He showed me how He feels about it before I ever cried out to Him for help; asking Him to guide and protect me.
Earlier this week, I was reminded of the warning God gave me so many years ago. And this morning in our Bible study time D read from this devotional:
“The lure of the occult is almost always on the basis of acquiring knowledge or power. We desire the power that comes from unusual insight and a knowledge of the unknown. We want to experience a power that is spiritual and supernatural in origin. In a sense these are God-given desires, but they are intended to be fulfilled by the knowledge and power which comes from God. However, Satan is busy trying to pass off his counterfeits for God’s knowledge and power as the real thing. If he can get you to accept his versions of knowledge and power, he has a foothold in your life.
“The lure of satanic knowledge and power is nothing new. God’s people have been warned against it from the earliest times. The command in Deuteronomy 18:9-12 is as viable for us today as it was for the Israelites under Moses’ leadership. We live in a contemporary Canaan where it is socially acceptable to consult spiritists, mediums, palm-readers, psychic counselors and horoscopes for supernatural insights and abilities.
“This was clearly brought home to me while I was finishing my doctorate in a class I took on business forecasting. One of the men in the class presented a paper describing a scenario of the future he had researched. He excitedly explained that we were on the threshold of new frontiers in the mind: astral projection, telepathic images, levitation, etc. This public school principal was promoting New Age and the occult and the other class members were eating it up.
“After the class had enjoyed several minutes of lively discussion I asked, “In all your exploration of your subject, did you ever ask yourself if it is right for people to get involved in it?’
“’Oh, I’m not interested in whether it’s right or not,” he replied. “I just know it works.’
“’I have no question that it works,” I argued. “The question we need to answer is not whether or not it works, but whether or not it’s right. What you are presenting is as old as Bible history.’
Prayer: Create in me a constant thirst for knowing You, Lord, and a readiness to recognize and reject Satan’s counterfeits.”
After agreeing with this and closing in prayer we opened the Word to Deuteronomy 18 and read the whole chapter again. And at this point I have to say – I know it works, too. And I know why it works! It works because the enemy knows how gullible human beings can be; he also knows how God feels about having His kids play around in the satanic. God’s Word tells me he [satan] prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
We live in a world where thousands upon thousand of “Christians” are being devoured by seemingly innocent practices. These innocent practices have their roots firmly planted in satan’s realm and will eventually lead those who follow them deeper and deeper into enemy territory, cutting off the flow of grace and favor God offers every one of His kids.
I am reminded that satan counterfeiting God’s power is not a new problem. The first century church dealt with it, too. In Acts we are told:
“Many who became believers confessed their sinful practices. A number of them who had been practicing sorcery brought their incantation books and burned them at a public bonfire. The value of the books was several million dollars. So the message about the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect.Acts 19:18-20 (New Living Translation)
My personal prayer today is for the “Christians” among my family and friends who are being deceived and devoured by the occult. I believe the Word that tells me, “if the Son shall set you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36) And I ask God for freedom for every Christian falling deeper and deeper into seemingly innocent occult practices. I ask, in Jesus name, set them free, Lord. Set them free.