Thursday, March 25, 2010

Horoscopes and getting the "inside" scoop

This from Bill:

I was chatting with a friend, recently, about horoscopes and fortune tellers. I'd like to share some thoughts here. As most probably know, that sort of practice is offensive to God and strongly rebuked in the Bible (Lev. 20:6; Dt. 18:9-13). I know that a lot of Christians take it lightly or try to explain it away, saying that God made the stars so it’s like watching for what God has done. Nonetheless, since God said it was offensive, even if he made the stars, he knows best. I think the issue for the Lord is whether or not people are pursuing a personal relationship with Him or trying to have another source of “inside” information. Isaiah addresses this, since the Jews were seeking fortune tellers prior to the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem. Isaiah 8:19-22 says,
When people tell you, “Try out the fortunetellers. Consult the spiritualists. Why not tap into the spirit-world, get in touch with the dead?” Tell them, “No, we’re going to study the Scriptures.” People who try the other ways get nowhere—a dead end! Frustrated and famished, they try one thing after another. When nothing works out they get angry, cursing first this god and then that one, Looking this way and that, up, down, and sideways—and seeing nothing, A blank wall, an empty hole. They end up in the dark with nothing. (The Message)

The topic actually extends through chapter 9. The NIV, which is not as pithy as The Message, does a good job of one thing—the contrast between light and dark in the passage. (I put it below, emphasizing the light and dark statements.) The Lord is saying that He will light our path, while those who choose other sources of spiritual information will be walking in darkness. The beauty of this passage is that it is one of the famous messianic passages; that is, God is not just promising to light our path, He is promising to give us One who is light and will walk with us. It is a clear reference to Jesus, but also brings to mind the Holy Spirit who is called the “Paraclete,” which means “counselor” or “one who walks alongside.” For those who want a special blessing or the inside scoop on what they’re going to encounter today, the Holy Spirit is a direct connection. (That’s no-doubt why the gift of prophecy was so highly valued in the early church and is so necessary today.) Isaiah 47 and 48 deal with the same theme; i.e., people seeking secret information from fortune tellers and God promising that he will meet that need by giving the Holy Spirit (listed below).

So, I want to encourage and challenge my friends out there to skip the daily horoscope or online fortune teller and trust in the Lord. If you do, the Holy Spirit will show himself to you in a very special way.

Here are the verses I mentioned above:
Isai 8:19 (NIV) When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. 21 Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. 22 Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness. 9:1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan-- 2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

Isa. 47:13-14a – “All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. 14 Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame.

God picks up the theme a short while later in Isa. 48:16-17 –
Isai 48:16 (NIV) "Come near me and listen to this: "From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret; at the time it happens, I am there." And now the Sovereign LORD has sent me, with his Spirit. 17 This is what the LORD says-- your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”

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