Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Fortune Teller's Demise

A long, long time ago, I went to a fortune teller. It was probably back in the early seventies. I would never go now. My trust and confidence is now in God alone. Back then, my spiritual maturity was pretty much zilch. I went for fun, sort of on a dare, with a skeptical attitude. 

The fortune teller was an elderly lady who lived in an old house on a city street. There was a small sign out front, "Fortune Teller". I don't remember in what city the house was located, but I think maybe Elmira, NY. My wife, Francie, was with me. After being greeted at the door, she agreed to talk with us, brought us into the living room, and charged us a few dollars. Then, one at a time, we met with her, upstairs in a small, plain, empty room with 2 wooden, creaky chairs. There was nothing fancy about the room. It was like a scene out of a haunted house movie. 

Francie was first, while I waited downstairs. Then after about 15 minutes, Francie came down the stairs, looking like she'd seen a ghost (just kidding). It was then my turn to talk to the fortune teller, so I made my way up the staircase. I don't remember much of our conversation. She said some general statement about my grandfather that apparently didn't mean much to me since I can't recall it now. However, I distinctly  remember one thing she said - that I would come into good fortune and be successful in music, but not until late in life.

Well, here I am in my sixties, and yes, I am incredibly blessed at this stage. Not with much money or wealth, but with a loving family, great friends, and an intimate relationship with God, which gives me contentment, peace, joy, and hope. I've been in a full-time music ministry for the past 11 years that gives me purpose and fulfillment, living my passion, and playing music. I didn't have all this early on. I didn't even care about God until I was in my late thirties. So, yes, as I reflect back, the fortune teller's prediction seems to have come true. 

But, there is a warning in all this. Although it may be true that there are some fortune tellers who can actually predict the future, where is their ability coming from? Is it from God, or is it from the dark side? In whom or in what are you putting your trust, your hope, and your confidence? That's the issue. God wants your trust, hope, and confidence in no one or nothing else but Him alone. That's the problem with going to a fortune teller.

God despises divination (the practice of seeking knowledge of the future or the unknown by supernatural means). That's because in God's eyes, it's placing another god before Him. It's turning to some other 'divine' supernatural nature other than Himself. Remember the first of the 10 Commandments....."I am the Lord your shall have no other gods before me." (Exodus 20:2-3)

God does not like the idea of His people, His children, turning to other sources. "Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, 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." (Deuteronomy 18:10-11) And it's not that the other sources are all fake! There is a spiritual reality which includes the devil. That's what's scary.

An interesting event involving a fortune teller is recorded by Luke, the writer of the Book of Acts. Luke was traveling with the Apostle Paul as they encountered a female slave who had an evil spirit. She was possessed, yet was actually proclaiming truth.

Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her. (Acts 16:16-18)

It seems that this incident of a demon possessed person speaking truth about Paul and his fellow workers was something that really annoyed Paul. It just didn't seem right. There seemed to be deception involved. She was speaking what seemed like good news alright, following them around for days, but perhaps her motives were wrong. One thing is for sure - she was gaining credibility for herself, which she could use for evil purposes later.

This section of scripture really got me almost laughing out loud. I could just see Paul getting more and more fed up with her until finally enough was enough. Alright already!! At first she may have seemed harmless, but after a while, she became obnoxious. Maybe I think it's funny because sometimes I can relate to what Paul was feeling when I deal with certain people. And I think you can too. Paul became so aggravated that he turned around and performed a miracle, casting out the evil spirit from the possessed woman. Thus ending her career, to her demise. And her owners weren't too happy with Paul either, as you can see in the rest of chapter 16. But, hey!! Think about was this slave girl's demise as a fortune teller, but it was her release into freedom from being in bondage by an evil spirit! I like to think that she took heed of Paul's message after that incident, and became a believer and follower of Christ.

So I guess the lesson is this.....there are such people as fortune tellers even in today's world. Some are fake, but some may be real. Regardless, stay away from them. If they are real, what source are they tapping into? Certainly not God since He teaches against trusting and confiding in such people. Instead, put all your hope, all your faith, all your confidence in Almighty God, and in Him alone.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

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