Every week is an adventure of the mind here in Berryville. Just when you think that you have “seen it all” something happens to make you realize that there are no bounds to which people will go in their minds to justify their own preconceived notions about how they think God works in their lives. What was so shocking about my most recent encounter with one of these minds is that the very thing which was called upon to prove God’s working in one’s life was exactly the kind of thing that has been used in the past by pagans and which the Bible specifically condemns. To what am I referring, you might ask. I am speaking of nothing less than the practice of augury.
I was taken by surprise this past week when a person from the community told me a story regarding the conception of her son. She said that she and her husband had tried for many years to have a child, but without success. When they finally decided to adopt, they conceived. I have heard many stories like this, but never in the context of what I was about to be told. The woman proceeded to tell me that she believed that the conception of her child was a miracle. The evidence that she put forth in regard to proof was that at the time of her conception she saw eagles in the sky. In other words, the eagles were an omen or portent that she was going to be the recipient of a miracle from God. This kind of thinking is no less than what the Bible describes as augury.
Among the ancient pagans, augury was practiced very prominently. The International Bible Encyclopedia entry states that this practice was commonly observed by the Romans and Greeks. Augurers of that day looked at celestial signs, lighting, signs from the flights of birds, movement of animals and snakes, signs from the examination of animal intestines, and the flight of arrows. Often times a sacrifice was made before the omens were examined. This was to propitiate the gods. However, in Leviticus 19:26 God specifically condemns such practices. We read in the ASV, “Ye shall not eat anything with the blood: neither shall ye use enchantments, nor practise augury.” This prohibition is also mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:10,14; 2 Kings 21:6; and 2 Chronicles 33:6. Revelation 21:8 also condemns this practice under the category of sorcery.
How someone who claims to be a Christian can think that God’s approval comes through some ancient pagan practice mystifies me greatly. It just goes to show the extent to which people are willing to believe whatever they want to believe as a justification for their own thoughts and concepts. The Bible still says that faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17). It does not say that faith comes by watching the birds fly in the sky. Herein lies the problem with all such types of thought. It causes an individual to trust something other than the word of God and when we start to put our faith and trust in things other than God’s word, we have already given Satan the green light to control our lives. This is why the practice of sorcery is wrong; this is why the organization WICCA is wrong and sinful; this is why those who claim modern day miracles are wrong as well–because each of these are attempts to replace God’s word with the word of mere men.
Let us keep our mind centered on God’s thoughts as we know them to be revealed through the scriptures. Studying God’s word is the only way to produce faith in our life today. Let us learn it, love it, and live it each and every day of our life.