LISTEN TO HIM
Lord, You alone are our source of information.
Read DEUTERONOMY 18:9–22
9 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. 13 You must be blameless before the Lord your God.
14 The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so. 15 The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. 16 For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.”
17 The Lord said to me: “What they say is good. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. 19 I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name. 20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.”
21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?” 22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Do you lean towards either of these errors that C.S. Lewis identified in The Screwtape Letters: disbelieving in the existence of devils, or believing but feeling an unhealthy interest in them?
Deuteronomy repeatedly revisits the subject of boundaries and choices. In today’s passage, the boundaries concern knowledge and power. Occult, from the Latin word occultus, refers to what is hidden or secret. The occult practices listed (10,11) involve attempts to obtain supernatural knowledge through unauthorized dealings with the spirit world. “Knowledge is power” (attributed to Francis Bacon, 1561–1626), and underlying the quest for knowledge is the desire for power, recalling that age-old temptation to “be like God” (Gen. 3:5).
Once God’s people cross over to Canaan (9), they must choose whose voice they would hear (14,15). Although God’s boundary lines are tightly drawn, they are designed for blessing. Satan is the deceiver and the destroyer. He denied God’s word in the very beginning, cast doubt on God’s goodness, and deceived Eve with an empty promise (Gen. 3:1–5). The occult practices that God deems “detestable” (9,12) are also deceptive, offering an illusion of control but in reality giving Satan a foothold to seize control of hearts and destroy lives. The “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12) are frighteningly real and equally as powerful. We flirt with them at our own peril (12).
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law” (Deut. 29:29). God alone is the real deal, the true source of knowledge. Through his prophets—and ultimately through Jesus—he reveals not necessarily what we want to know but what we need to know, for both salvation and information. The command “listen to him” (15) is echoed by the Father at the transfiguration of his son, Jesus (Matt. 17:5). His words are all we need, and his voice only we must heed.
Where do you think the boundary lines of our faith need to be made clearer? What issues need to be addressed? By whom? How? What can you do?
Lord, Your people fully understand how abominable occultic practices are in Your sight, and we purpose in our hearts to refrain from any and all involvement therein.
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