(June 13, 1990)
My husband once yanked one of our children, who was oblivious to the danger, from the path of a truck. Other tots toy with matches -- fire is “pretty.” Some play in sewer systems - that’s “exciting.” A few teenagers spin the chamber of a loaded gun in a game of roulette - what a “thrill.” A youngster inhales his first snort of cocaine - someone told him it’s “harmless fun.” Danger that is obvious to a parent is not always obvious to a child.
But what if the danger is not obvious, even to an adult? How can we know what is too hot to touch? If we touch it to find out, we may be burned. In such cases, a wise child consults his even wiser heavenly Father. He gives instruction about “poisons” and “fatal toys” of which we may not be aware. For instance, consider this list: “There shall not be found among you any one that... uses divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a counselor with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer...” (Deuteronomy 18:10).
In case anyone thinks witchcraft is a fairy tale and this warning is out of date and related to superstition, take a look at the occult section in a book store. These days, with the New Age movement advocating activities like channeling and consulting spirit guides to discover the “god within,” this Old Testament passage needs to be reconsidered. What does it say for our time?
First of all, God hates this kind of thing. Verse 12 says: “For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD...” Whatever the human reasons for seeking guidance from spirits, conducting seances, even reading a horoscope, God detests it. No doubt His hatred is based on His knowledge that He alone knows what is best for the creatures He created. Certainly a medium or a witch does not. Some may declare that God is either dead, useless, uncaring, or something other than He has revealed Himself to be, but those who reject Him and follow tarot cards and the like are guilty of a form of idolatry, in this case a particularly dangerous form.
Secondly, it was nations in the land of Canaan that practiced these activities and God said “because of these abominations the LORD thy God drives them (those nations) out from before thee.” These people lost their homes and their land because they were dabbling in fortune-telling and other so-called “harmless” activities. It may or may not have been serious stuff in their minds but it was worthy of judgment in God’s mind.
God went on to tell His people (verse 15) that He would give them One to listen to, a prophet that would tell them all they needed to know. He would be from God and like God. This is a definite reference to the One who later came and proclaimed Himself to be God in the flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ.
When Jesus came, He opened the way to the true God; not the god within but the One who would come in, if invited. He also gave those who believe in Him a promise for their future and a faith for right now. God’s people don’t need the vague generalities from a horoscope nor the deception of “spirit guides.” What we do need is the truth of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, with the discernment that only a loving heavenly Father can provide.
“Baby” Christians don’t automatically know which “harmless” fun is really harmless, so we need to watch out for each other, warning and admonishing in love, just as the New Testament says. We also need to pay careful attention to our Parent... who knows the danger and wants to protect us from what might appear to us as “harmless fun.”