The Occult

the oc·cult

noun
 
Which ones are alike?
 
O you who love the Lord, hate evil! Psa 97:10a

What does playing with a Ouija board, asking questions of the toy Magic 8-ball, peering into a crystal ball to see the future, reading tea leaves, having your palm read, using tarot cards, going to a séance, using a dowsing stick, and even reading your horoscope have in common?  Wait for it… they all have their roots in the occult. Seriously, deep down you already knew that, didn’t you?
 
Should Christians be going to a fortune-teller, a medium, a psychic, an astrologer, or a wizard and/or witch? What if it’s just for fun? Isn’t it okay if we just watch movies or television shows, read books, or play games that are based on occult themes? After all, that’s not the same thing as actually participating in evil deeds; it’s just “dabbling” in it. That’s okay, isn’t it? 

Can you imagine?
 
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 1 Pt 2:21

Now, we all know we’re supposed to be following Jesus. The simple (and fashion-fading) question here is, “What would Jesus do?”  Can anyone even imagine Jesus and his disciples going to an open-air market in Samaria, finding a psychic, and sitting down and asking her what their future would be? Can we conceive that Jesus got up every morning and opened the Jerusalem Gazette, to find his horoscope – because he needed to know what the day would bring? Can we picture Jesus asking his disciples on a Saturday night if they wanted to “clear their minds,” be entertained and relax by going to watch a movie about witches and wizards…even if a good guy wins in the end?

  • Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. 1 Cor 11:1
  • Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Phil 4:8
  • For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Rom 8:5
  • But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Pt 1:15-16

 
Just how bad is it? 

For you have rejected your people, the house of Jacob, because they are full of things from the east and of fortune-tellers like the Philistines, and they strike hands with the children of foreigners. Isa 2:6
 
The occult is something that has deeply ingrained and embedded itself into our American culture. It seems that we can’t escape it (it can be found in movie theaters, newspapers, magazines, books, cartoons, video games, radio programs, television programs, and sadly, at our carnivals, amusement parks, and on our main streets), so we unexplainably (knowingly or unknowingly) embrace it. We acclimate ourselves to it by watching it, reading about it, and generally being amused by it. For some reason, we innocently (?) pay money to somehow or someway be a part of it. It makes us uncomfortable; but sadly and deceptively, it also grips our minds and emotions as we are entertained by it.

 
Relatively speaking…

How serious is the evil of the occult? It’s not harmless and it’s not a joke. In the Old Testament, God made it very clear that those who engaged in occult practices were committing an abomination. The punishment was death. At one point in its history, the entire nation of Israel was rejected by God, due (in part) because they accepted and practiced matters of the occult. God made it clear by his commandments that this was serious stuff you just didn’t mess with!
  • You shall not permit a sorceress to live. Ex 22:18
  • You shall not interpret omens or tell fortunes. Lev 19:26
  • Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God. Lev 19:31
  • If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people. Lev 20:6
  • A man or a woman who is a medium or a necromancer shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones; their blood shall be upon them. Lev 20:27
  • There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, or these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this. Dt 18.10-14

 
The root of the problem

And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? Isa 8:19
 
God has given us a wonderful and exciting way to communicate with him; a way to develop a personal and intimate relationship with him; a way to voice all of our cares, concerns, and questions. This amazing thing is simply called… prayer. By praying to him, and him alone, we can find what the occult deceptively promises but in reality cannot give (guidance, assurance, and the revelation of truth).
 
While seeking out the answers to life’s questions is to be commended, we need to keep in mind that God and God alone is the One we should seek for those answers. When we look to someone or something other than God, we are really saying that God does not have the wisdom, the knowledge, the truth or the caring love we so desperately need, so we must look for it elsewhere. By doing so we actually diminish and degrade his sovereignty and rule and end up bringing dishonor on his name and character. 
 
God’s plan is for us to call on him to find out all that we need to know. He beckons us to pray to him so he can show us his love and power.
  • When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. Psa 91:15
  • Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jer 33:3
  • Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Mt 7:7-8

We three kings…

Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 1 Cor 10:11-12
 
The Bible records three examples of God dealing with people (all in leadership positions) who dealt with mediums and spiritists.  All three happened to be Old Testament kings.  Two encouraged these evil practices and were subsequently judged for it.  One got rid of these evil practices in the land and was commended for it.  Which king can you most relate to?

1. Saul Succumbs to a Séance    

  • King Saul initially obeyed God by removing from the land those who were mediums and necromancers. One day when he was greatly distressed, he decided to seek out a medium in direct violation of God’s commandment. The Bible records that Saul had “broken faith” with God because, at least in part, he inquired of this medium. 
  • And Saul had put the mediums and the necromancers out of the land. 1 Sam 28:3b
  • When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets. Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, there is a medium at En-dor.” So Saul disguised himself and put on other garments and went, he and two men with him. And they came to the woman by night. And he said, “Divine for me by a spirit and bring up for me whomever I shall name to you.” 1 Sam 28:5-8
  • So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. 1 Chr 10:13-14

 
2. Manasseh Messes with Mediums

King Manasseh is said to have greatly angered God by using fortune-telling and allowing and promoting the use of mediums and necromancers among the people.  The Bible records that what he did was flat-out evil.  In fact, by encouraging mediums and necromancers in the land, he is said to have led astray the people into doing evil.
  • And he burned his son as an offering and used fortune-telling and omens and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. 2 Kgs 21:6
  • But they did not listen, and Manasseh led them astray to do more evil than the nations had done whom the Lord destroyed before the people of Israel. 2 Kgs 21:9

 
3. Josiah Turns the Tables

King Josiah was a good king who knew and followed the commands of the Lord.  He was opposed to the evil and abomination of mediums and necromancers.  The Bible records that as a result of removing them from the land, he and his kingdom were blessed by God.
  • Moreover, Josiah put away the mediums and the necromancers and the household gods and the idols and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might establish the words of the law that were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord. Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him.  2 Kgs 23:24-25

 
Time’s up!

For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do… 1 Pt 4:3
 
To review, the occult (and everything shiny and enticing that surrounds it), is evil and leads one away from God. It’s time to check your involvement in the occult – you may be surprised to find that you’re more involved (or tangled) in it than you once thought.  Could this be the time to throw away toys, games, books, and movies that are based on the occult? Could this be the time for you to delete the psychic’s phone number from your speed dial and his/her address from your GPS? Could this finally be the time when you stop reading your horoscope and instead start reading your Bible and praying to God?

 
1. Admit to yourself that the occult is evil

  • If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. Psa 66:18 (NLT)
  • There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. Prv 14:12

2. Ask God for forgiveness for your participation in the occult

  • If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 Jn 1:9

3. Stop doing anything that is involved with or influenced by the occult. 

  • Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.  Act 3:19-20a
  • Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. Acts 19:18-19 

4. Fill your mind with the love of God through the Word of God 

  • Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Phil 4:8 

5. Determine to seek the Lord, and him alone, for guidance in your life.

  • When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you! The wind will carry them all off, a breath will take them away. But he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land and shall inherit my holy mountain. Isa 57:13
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Prv 3:5-6 
  • I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words. Psa 17:6
  • Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. Psa 116.2

 
***Bonus: Extra verses that deal with the occult:
 

So disaster will overtake you, and you won’t be able to charm it away. Calamity will fall upon you, and you won’t be able to buy your way out. A catastrophe will strike you suddenly, one for which you are not prepared.
 
“Now use your magical charms!Use the spells you have worked at all these years! Maybe they will do you some good. Maybe they can make someone afraid of you. All the advice you receive has made you tired. Where are all your astrologers, those stargazers who make predictions each month? Let them stand up and save you from what the future holds.
 
But they are like straw burning in a fire; they cannot save themselves from the flame. You will get no help from them at all; their hearth is no place to sit for warmth. And all your friends, those with whom you’ve done business since childhood, will go their own ways, turning a deaf ear to your cries.  Isa 47:11-14 (NLT)
 
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death." Rev 21:8
 
Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. Rev 22:15

 

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