The Lord said to Moses, “Give the people of Israel these instructions, which apply both to native Israelites and to the foreigners living in Israel.
“If any of them offer their children as a sacrifice to Molech, they must be put to death. The people of the community must stone them to death. I myself will turn against them and cut them off from the community, because they have defiled my sanctuary and brought shame on my holy name by offering their children to Molech. And if the people of the community ignore those who offer their children to Molech and refuse to execute them, I myself will turn against them and their families and will cut them off from the community. This will happen to all who commit spiritual prostitution by worshiping Molech.
“I will also turn against those who commit spiritual prostitution by putting their trust in mediums or in those who consult the spirits of the dead. I will cut them off from the community. So set yourselves apart to be holy, for I am the Lord your God. Keep all my decrees by putting them into practice, for I am the Lord who makes you holy.”
Everyone is interested in what the future holds, and we often look to others for guidance. Some ancient peoples sought to control their destinies by sacrificing to the gods or contacting spirits for advice and guidance. But God prohibited Israel from both.
Sacrificing children to the gods was a common practice in ancient religions. They saw this as the greatest gift they could offer to appease angry gods and ward off evil. God made it clear that this practice was detestable and strictly forbidden. His character makes human sacrifice unthinkable: Unlike the pagan gods, he is a God of love, who does not need to be appeased (Exodus 34:6); he is a God of life, who prohibits murder and encourages practices that lead to health and happiness (Deuteronomy 30:15-16); he is God of the helpless, who shows special concern for children (Psalm 72:4); he is a God of unselfishness, who instead of demanding blood gave his life for others (Isaiah 53:4-5).
Similarly, God warned Israel about looking to the occult for advice. Mediums and psychics were outlawed because God wanted the people to trust in him instead. At best, occult practitioners are fakes whose predictions cannot be trusted. At worst, they are in contact with evil spirits and are thus extremely dangerous. We don’t need to look to the occult for information about the future. God has given us his word in the Bible and his Spirit in our lives so that we may obtain all the guidance we need.
While we might not be tempted to participate in occult practices, we often look for other ways to control our lives. But just like the Israelites, God calls us to turn from fear and the desire to be in control and to live by faith, trusting in a God who loves and gives of himself. What are you trying to control today? God is calling you to live by faith instead.