“When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, be very careful not to imitate the detestable customs of the nations living there. For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord. It is because the other nations have done these detestable things that the Lord your God will drive them out ahead of you. But you must be blameless before the Lord your God. The nations you are about to displace consult sorcerers and fortune-tellers, but the Lord your God forbids you to do such things.”
Child sacrifice and occult practices were strictly forbidden by God. These practices were common among pagan religions. Israel’s own neighbors actually sacrificed their children to the god Molech (Leviticus 20:2-5). Other neighboring religions used supernatural means, such as contacting the spirit world, to foretell the future and gain guidance. Because of these wicked practices, God would drive out the pagan nations (Deuteronomy 18:12). The Israelites were to replace their evil practices with the worship of the one true God.
The Israelites were naturally curious about the occult practices of the Canaanite religions. But Satan is behind the occult, and God flatly forbade Israel to have anything to do with it. Today people are still fascinated by horoscopes, fortune-telling, witchcraft, and bizarre cults. Often their interest comes from a desire to know and control the future. But God tells us all we need to know about what is going to happen. With the trustworthy guidance of the Holy Spirit through the Bible and the church, we don’t need to turn to occult sources for faulty information. Instead we can live by faith in God who knows the future and controls it all.
Are you worried about the future? Are there uncertainties in your life that you’re trying to gain control over? The ancients tried to manage it through sorcery and appeasing the gods. Today we have different strategies. But instead, God calls us to pray for his help and trust in his power. Are you trusting God for the future or are you trusting your own strategies?