Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Who is on God’s bandwagon? ............ Parables 150

Two preachers were on their way to a prayer meeting. They encountered a young woman who suddenly turned around and began following them, shouting loudly, “These men are servants of the most High God. They are telling you the way to be saved.”

For many days, she followed them everywhere, shouting her message. Sounds like just the sort of PA system the church needs, doesn’t it! She was right on in her assessment of the men and right on in her assessment of their work. She even pegged God correctly.

But the two preachers were troubled in spirit about this woman and sensed something others missed; she wasn’t really on their bandwagon. It turned out, “she had a spirit by which she predicted the future and earned a great deal of money for her owner’s by fortune-telling.”

Paul, one of the preachers, finally turned around and said to the evil spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to come out of her.”

Of course it did and the woman lost her power. Her owners, upset at seeing their hopes of getting rich vanish, managed to have Paul and Silas thrown into jail. Later, God rescued His true servants, but this woman, a walking publicity stunt, was not working for God.

Divination is the “art or practice that seeks to foresee or foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge...” It is strictly forbidden by God. It is not that the predictions are always totally false (although they usually are); the issue is their source. Whether a liar, a false prophet, or one possessed by an evil spirit, the diviner is not from God. The way to tell? Watch for bait and a hook.

A recent advertisement for a “Psychic Fair” in Fort Saskatchewan called divination “spellbinding entertainment” baiting with the hook with, “Gaze into the future...what does 1989 hold for you?” This is similar to the line the serpent fed Eve: “Eat...and be like God...know the future!”

The forbidden fruit looked good to Eve, even pleasant. It was right in the catagory of “spellbinding entertainment.” But that fruit quickly resulted in bondage. The hook was set and her deceived heart was thoroughly exploited.

Ever since then, the temptation to be like God entices people. That serpent wants us to take control over our own destiny. However, we can’t accurately see what lies ahead. To our limited vision, “There is a way that seems right to a man but (God says) the end of our way is death.” He wants us to trust Him because ONLY HE truly knows the end from the beginning.

No wonder God said to the people of Israel: “Do not let diviners who are in your midst deceive you... for they prophesy falsely... l have not sent them... For the diviners envision lies, and tell false dreams; they comfort you in vain... You are afflicted because there are no shepherds.” (Jeremiah 29 and Zechariah 10)

The same warning holds true for us today, with one change. There is a Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. He promises to forgive our sins, save us from God’s wrath, give us eternal life, and lead and guide us in this life. He gives His nature, His righteousness, and His mighty power to anyone who believes in Him. He guides His own on a clear path through life.

Crystal balls, tarot cards, psychic readings, dream interpretation, numerology, and the like are bait. Hidden from view (sometimes even to those sitting behind the table in the booth) is a hook. Taking the bait could cost far more than a few dollars of “entertainment” money.

Jesus taught His followers to be fishers of men, but never to use bait, hooks, or deceit. The future He wants us to know is the certainty that we will spend eternity with Him. It is found in the gospel message, not hidden in some cards, or a hunk of glass. This future hope is plainly revealed to all who will trust Him, and plainly taught by those who do. Best of all, it is free!

“Let his who is thirsty come and drink of the water of life freely...”

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