Is there any such thing as white magic? Is it ok for Christians to read their horoscopes or study astrology or numerology? Is there anything wrong with tarot cards, cleansings, Ouija boards, and palm reading?
Have you ever dabbled in those things? Would you know how to talk to someone who has? How do you resist the devil?
Mediums and spiritists
This is one of the more bizarre stories in the Bible and difficult to understand at first glance. The chapter opens by telling us that Samuel has died and that Saul has banished all the mediums and spiritists from the land. Then when God won’t answer Saul, he resorts to seeking out a medium himself.
How about you? How to you respond when answers to prayer are slow in coming? Do you continue to wait on God or resort to your own solutions?
We can’t put God in a box or demand that He do things on our timetable. Just because we have decided to walk in biblical love and forgiveness toward our spouse, doesn’t mean God is, immediately, going to cause him or her to change.
Just because we give financially doesn’t mean all our debt will disappear or we’ll instantly have the job of our dreams. In fact, our expectations are often part of the problem. We are to obey God out of a desire to please Him, not to get some desired result and then trust Him for the right result. It’s not that blessings don’t come as a result of our obedience, but our attitude is not to be one of “giving to get something.”
Back to the story … God had forbidden His people to seek after spiritists and mediums. Deuteronomy 29.29 says, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
In fact, under the law anyone practicing such things was to be put to death! And God’s attitude about such things has not changed. There is no such thing as “white” or harmless magic, witchcraft or spiritism, even if its practitioners claim to believe in God or talk about Jesus. The devil himself can appear as an angel of light, but it’s the bait he throws out to get us “hooked” on something other than God.
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works (2 Cor. 11.13-15).
If you are involved in any such thing, including horoscopes, astrology, numerology, tarot cards, cleansings, Ouija boards, palm reading, seeking to talk to the dead, or have been in the past, go to God, seek His forgiveness, stop those practices completely, and get whole-heartedly focused on seeking wisdom through His Word.
What if some experience leads you (or someone you’re talking to) to believe those things are good, at least harmless? There can be numerous explanations, including our own imaginations. But there is an unseen spiritual world that is just as real as this physical world (2 Ki. 6.8-18). But it’s not something to be played with. Neither is it something to fear, as a Christian.
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 Jn. 4.4).
That doesn’t mean we need to get focused on rebuking or casting out demons.
8 Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. 9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
The answer is confession, repentance, and turning to Christ!
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you (Jas. 4.7).
We resist the devil by submitting to God and His truth.
The Rock that is higher than I
Verse 2b, “When my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Who hasn’t felt overwhelmed at one time or another? How we need something higher than us to which to run!
“In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; and by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil.” If the reason we avoid some sin is only because we might get caught or we might look bad to someone else or because someone is watching, it’s the wrong motivation. We are to live obediently out of a fear of God and desire to please to Him.
Religion isn’t enough
Nicodemus was a religious man. He was devout, a ruler of the Jews, a Pharisee. Yet Jesus told him that religion wasn’t enough. He needed to be “born-again.”
“16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Don’t let familiarity keep you from thinking deeply about those verses.
Have you ever wondered or had someone ask you, “How can all those Muslims or others be wrong? How can they all be going to hell if they don’t believe in the Christian God and in Jesus?”
How can God condemn them just because they don’t know about Jesus? God doesn’t condemn them just because they don’t know about Jesus. We were all already condemned. But God sent us a “life raft” in the form of His Son and He desires that all men get into that “ark of safety” and be saved. Jesus didn’t come to push people off the boat; He’s pulling as many as are willing to safety!
What about you?
Are you in that ark? If you’re not sure, read “How can you know if you’re a Christian?”
Are you sharing your faith so others will come in, too? Is there any past involvement in fortune telling or the like? Have you confessed and completely forsaken it?