Saturday, October 21, 2017

Shepherd: magic

Saturday, October 21, 2017
    When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his 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. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God.
    —Deuteronomy 18:9-13 (NIV)
    [Magic] is not mere superstition. It can corrupt people who otherwise carry on their daily duties with apparent reasonableness and common sense... It exploits man’s urgent desire for all the material good things of life—health, prosperity, success, “good luck”—and at times, it may even descend to aggressive acts against one’s competitors and supposed enemies and rivals. It rests upon an assumption, not always explicit, that divine power can be manipulated and used for human ends. And it is the more dangerous among people who assume that since God is love, He will do whatever they ask, provided they use the right formula in asking.
    Magic mocks God’s freedom no less than His purpose. For it binds men more and more in a prison of fear and selfishness. Far from liberating divine power, it shuts out the free and creative forces of love and self-sacrifice that alone ennoble life and rem ove the alienation of men one from another. Love, not compulsion, casts out fear.
    ... Massey H. Shepherd, Jr. (1913-1990), Far and Near
    See also Deut. 18:9-13; Isa. 8:19-20; Acts 19:19; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 5:19-22; 2 Tim. 1:7; Heb. 12:28-29; 1 John 4:18
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, make my heart to fear nothing but You.
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