For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. – Psalm 96:5
“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in the heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them” (Exodus 20:4–5).
When I was in college, one of the girls in my dormitory claimed to be able to foretell someone’s future by reading the lines in that person’s palms. Of course, I had her read my palm.
“You’re going to get married and have four boys,” she told me.
I raised two sons and a daughter.
Who isn’t curious about the future? Who doesn’t want to know what the coming days and years have in store? In high school, a group of us got together one Friday evening and played with a Ouiji board. We were just looking to have some fun. We were clueless that we were on dangerous ground, dabbling in the occult.
The occult – practices that are used to seek supernatural knowledge and power – is expressly forbidden by God Himself: “Let no one be found among you . . . who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD” (Deuteronomy 18:10–12). Why? Because this supernatural power and knowledge doesn’t come from God – it comes from His archenemy: Satan and his demons.
Today we don’t have to look very far to find those who claim to be able to foretell the future. The means they claim to use are many: tarot cards, psychic ability, the stars, séances. They hang out their shingles or advertise their wares on television. Witchcraft and sorcery are the themes of many a television show or movie, even on children’s networks.
Consulting the stars to foretell the future is to bypass the Maker of the stars – the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, infinite, immutable, sovereign, holy, one and only God. And the second commandment forbids us to worship anything but God.
You may not dabble in the occult, but there are other ways God gets nudged out of first place. Matthew Henry, the renowned Bible commentator, gave us insight into how this can happen:
“Pride makes a god of self, covetousness makes a god of money, sensuality makes a god of the belly; whatever is esteemed or loved, feared or served, delighted in or depended on, more than God, that (whatever it is) we do in effect make a god of.”
I may not bow down physically to an idol, but whenever I put anything before God, I am worshipping that thing – giving honor and reverence to it that belongs only to God. I need to examine my life daily and ask God to show me the idols that have crept into my life.
I need to know Him better, love Him more and serve Him with every thought, word, and deed, because the closer I get to God, the more I realize that He and He alone, controls the future, and He and He alone is worthy of my total praise and adoration.
“Their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but they cannot smell; they have hands, but they cannot feel, feet, but they cannot walk; nor can they utter a sound with their throats. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them” (Psalm 115:4–8).
You alone, O God, do I worship. Amen.
Read and meditate on Exodus 20:4–6; Psalm 115
(c) 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.