[Jan 19]--Useless Whispers

Isaiah 8:19-22

People claim that this nation is becoming more and more secular, but I have some reasons to doubt that. Modernism, with its stringent materialism (matter is the only thing that matters) holds sway over some people, especially scientists and intellectuals. But really I think today the winner seems to be Post-Modernism.

Keep in mind that Post-Modernism doesn’t have a problem acknowledging the spiritual realm. See how many popular movies out there which show life beyond the grave (Ghost and all its imitators). The main test for me is the use of a word that is so overused to the point of irrelevance: Spiritual. People love to tell you that they’re “spiritual.” As Dennis Prager has pointed out several times, this word has such a flexible meaning that it really doesn’t mean anything at all. It certainly doesn’t refer to a personal relationship with a God who has certain expectations, who loves certain things and hates other things. Often people use it to refer to the fact that they are open to seeking other sources of wisdom outside the normal human experience.

That’s the pattern you’ll see with a lot of “spirituality,” which C. S. Lewis caught on to a long time ago. If you’re watching a beautiful sunrise and don’t want to believe that this whole universe is just a random dance of atoms, then the vague notion that there’s “something” out there can be quite comforting. But if you’re involved in a shady business that you wouldn’t like the public to know about, well, this idol can be safely put back into your pocket until you feel like pulling it back out.

That’s what you’ll see in all the different manifestations of extra-biblical spirituality: There’s no moral standards attached to any of this. Whether you go see a palm reader, a fortune teller, a tarot card reader, a medium or any other person like this, you’ll never see them lay out a list of moral rules that someone--an actual Person--wants you to obey.

That’s one of the reasons why this stuff is off-limits. Can we be clear about this? The Bible is abundantly clear: Any attempt to contact the spiritual realm outside of communicating directly with God is strictly off limits. You don’t try to talk to your grandma from beyond the grave. You don’t go to a fortune teller for any reason. You don’t go to your horoscope. Here are some Scriptures if you have any doubts about how God feels about it.

Why not? Why are there such stiff penalties attached to this sort of activity? Why does he take it so seriously?

Well, obviously if God tells us to avoid something, that really should settle the issue. But here are two very good reasons from Scripture:

1) It's very spiritually dangerous. The O.T. doesn’t go into this issue as much, but the N.T. is very clear that there's such a person as Satan, and he and his minions can attach themselves to people through certain practices. I personally think that most of the practitioners of this are just fakes and charlatans, but you wouldn’t want to have any contact with the spiritual realm except as God directs, would you?

2) Quite frankly, I think that this reason is actually better than the first one, since the Bible harps on it so much, including today’s reading: To inquire of any spiritual resources outside of God is showing a profound lack of trust in him. He’s our Father. He's sent his Son to bleed and die for us. He’s provided his“instruction and the testimony of warning,”--or in our case—the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures, and they provide all the guidance we’ll ever need. They provide access to the very mind of the omniscient God, and they tell us everything we need to know, both for this life and to prepare us for the next one.

3) The last reason is really just the flip-side of #2: It’s really foolish to consult these bad sources. My friend, the best-case scenario is that the fortune-teller you’re consulting is a fake. Why listen to someone who mutters and can’t give you a straight answer about what you need to know? Not that I recommend it, but most everybody has read a horoscope at one time or another, right? If you’ve read them, you know what I’m talking about: “Today you will make a very important decision!” You want to risk angering God over something so foolish?

Father God, I haven’t read a horoscope lately or consulted a medium, but I tend to trust my own judgment and wisdom, which is just as foolish. Help me to trust you--and only you--to tell me what I need to know.

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