Today’s reading includes Deuteronomy 18:1-20:20, Luke 9:28-50, Psalm 73:1-28, Proverbs 12:10.
In today’s reading we find a passage that may seem innocuous to us, but it is one we should pay attention to, nonetheless. Here is what I am thinking about:
9 “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. 10 For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering.[a] And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft,11 or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. 12 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. 13 But you must be blameless before the Lord your God.14 The nations you are about to displace consult sorcerers and fortune-tellers, but the Lord your God forbids you to do such things.”
Of course, none of us would consider offering our children as a burnt offering. But what about the second part of this passage? It may feel innocent to read your horoscope or phone a psychic hotline just for the fun of it. Or what about those slumber party games as a child? Or what about all the children’s programs and games that have an innocent-looking witch casting spells?
First, let me say: Take these things to Lord and ask Him what of those are dishonoring to Him. Are they really so innocent if God forbids His people to do them? And why would He forbid them? Because the source of the inquiry is not of the Lord. And if it’s not of the Lord, I really don’t want another spirit-being’s opinion. Yes, there is a spiritual realm, and no, it is not always beautiful or holy.
10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we[d] are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.[e] 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.[f] 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Recently, I asked one of my older kids what they learned growing up in our home. One of the first responses was, “I learned that evil is real and you don’t need to mess with it.” I believe that is good advice.