Tim Riordan, pastor
SonRise Baptist Church, Newnan
I have never met anyone who chose to be stuck in a bad habit, yet our society is filled with people experiencing the consequences of harmful choices. Like Brer Rabbit confronting the Tar Baby, we can find ourselves caught up in practices that may enslave us. Even as Brer Rabbit’s first punch to the figure of tar made him captive, experimenting with paranormal activity can hold us fast in bondage.
As Brer Fox chuckled to himself while watching Brer Rabbit get stuck in the Tar Baby, Satan finds great pleasure in seeing people fall victim to paranormal activity. One writer defined paranormal activity as “the occurrence, or perception of, an event without scientific explanation, or other purportedly supernatural phenomena.” This phenomenon is typically reserved for supernatural activity, or the perception of such activity, that comes from a demonic source.
Paranormal activity in today’s society
Although we may confine supernatural phenomenon to scripts produced by Hollywood, the Bible addresses this activity as a normal part of a society left to its own devices. When the Israelites received the law from God at the foot of Mt. Sinai, God instructed them about the dangers of spiritism.
In our modern age, we may find it hard to believe that we could ever participate in anything included in Moses’ list. Satan, however, is quite clever. Although he may not be able to entice you to burn your child as a sacrifice or cast a spell on someone, he may draw your attention to other practices you deem harmless, such as Ouija Boards or following your horoscope. Although many people see no harm in playing around with something like a Ouija Board or visiting a palm reader, it is clear that these people are opening up their lives to demonic activity.
It is amazing that in our sophisticated and educated society, paranormal activity is growing in popularity. Astrology, for example, has moved from a joke on the back page of a newspaper to what half of Americans consider to be somewhat scientific. The United Press International wrote about the growing interest in this form of paranormal activity and reported that especially young adults are being drawn into this practice. A publication from the Smithsonian Institution reported that as many as 70 million Americans read their horoscope every day, which is about 23 percent of the population.
Detestable to the Lord
What does God think of this growing trend? Moses announced that the practices of the Canaanite people were detestable. What a strong word! It means “arousing or meriting intense dislike.” What comes to your mind when you think of something detestable?
The things God lists in the Bible as being detestable to Him are usually those practices that keep us from experiencing a close relationship with Him. Is it possible that God abhors paranormal activity because He loves us so much? Absolutely! He knows that when we dabble around with activities that ease us into the underworld of demonic activity, we are taking the first steps on a journey from which it is difficult to return.
God hates anything that can potentially destroy His children and challenge our love for Him. Any practice that leads people to seek guidance from anything other than God is a practice that opens hearts up to evil influence. Ephesians 4:27 warns us of things that may “give the devil a foothold.” Something like reading a horoscope every day could be viewed as an entry level practice to satanic influence that offers him a beachhead into our lives.
Psalm 32:8 states, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” We should always look to God for counsel. Anything that takes God’s place as our source for guidance is detestable.
Entry level practices into demonic activity can lead us further away from the Lord and deeper into an evil underworld. Satan is a thief and bent on destruction. He will use anything to wreck our lives and cause us to miss God’s abundance.
God offers direction to His children
Instead of experimenting with practices that seek guidance from another supernatural source, we should always seek direction from God. God said He would raise up a prophet for Israel and said, I will put My words in his mouth. God wants to lead us to do His will. Not only did He give prophets to Israel, but He inspired people to write His word so it would be for us a “lamp to our feet and a light to our path” (Ps 119:105).
Scripture says that if we lack wisdom, we should ask of God (Jas 1:5). We are admonished not to lean on our own understanding but rather to trust in the Lord (Prv 3:5-6). Only God can make our paths straight. God wants us to be blameless before the Lord (Dt 18:13), so we must seek His leadership while abandoning anything that usurps His place as the Sovereign of our hearts.
In Uncle Remus’ story, Brer Rabbit eventually outsmarted Brer Fox and escaped. It was a close call, however, because the rabbit could not deliver himself from the Tar Baby. For those who get pulled into paranormal activity and find themselves trapped, Jesus Christ is always our deliverer. He can rescue us from the “snare of the trapper” (Ps 124:7), and He can help us to overcome Satan’s cleverest schemes.