Summary: Are things like horoscopes and astrology ok? Are things like Ouija boards and holding séances just harmless fun? What does God think about psychics and fortune tellers? Let's find out.
I watched a crime show recently that featured a palm reader who was taking advantage of people and manipulating them out of their money. In one case she ended up getting over a million dollars from this elderly woman. It's sad. But unfortunately it's not uncommon for people to spend a lot of money on psychic hotlines, fortune tellers and things like that.
I'd say probably everyone has at least been curious about the future or the afterlife. And it's natural to miss our loved ones who have passed on and want to connect with them again. I think that's why things like fortune tellers, mediums and horoscopes are popular. There are even TV shows and events that focus on psychics and making contact with the spirit world.
What do we make of all this? Are things like horoscopes and astrology ok? Are things like Ouija boards and holding séances just harmless fun? What does God think about all this?
1) God calls it evil.
In Deut. 3 Moses explains to Joshua that he will not be going to the promised land. But he was to commission and encourage Joshua to lead the people. Much of what follows are instructions for the Israelites in preparation for when that time came. Some of that preparation came in warning them to avoid the evil practices that were going on there.
Deut. 18:9-15, "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."
The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so. The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him."
We see the word detestable multiple times here so God wanted this reality to be emphasized. Detestable means vile, disgusting, wicked, shameful; you get the picture.
Moses lists many practices here. What do they all mean? Medium: a person who works as a mediator between a person and a spirit. Spiritist: Hebrew-soothsayer. This would be a fortune teller. One who casts spells calls upon the power of spirits for evil purposes.
Divination: to find something out by interpreting signs and through astrology and even by examining animal organs. Sorcerer: someone who combines any of the other practices mentioned. Witchcraft: similar to a sorcerer. But in the Hebrew it describes it as "often with the associative meanings of rebellion and seduction into false religion". All of the things listed here are what the pagans would've cherished and held in high honor. But in reality they are evil.
And God is making his main point with the last verse. All the people in these lands are practicing these things because they don't have God with them. But you do. So there's no reason for you to do these detestable practices because I am speaking through Moses and I will be raising up prophets for you to listen to. So it's foolish, rebellious and evil if you turn to these worthless things instead of listening to me.
There's the crux of the matter. The reason all of these things are evil is because they draw us away from God. These practices rely on the power of evil to accomplish things, not God. If you want answers, don't go to God, go to the fortune teller. If a witch casts a spell on you you're doomed; not even God can help you. My horoscope will tell me what my future holds; I'll trust that, not God.
God knew the damage all this caused so he wanted his people to understand that they needed to take this very seriously. Exodus 22:18, "Do not allow a sorceress to live."
That's pretty cut and dry. You may think God is being too severe but he knows human nature. If someone who practiced this was allowed to continue it would be a yeast that would work its way through the rest of the dough. Lev. 19:31, "Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God."
Notice it doesn't say, 'you might be defiled', it says 'will be defiled'. If we think we can go to fortune tellers or call psychic hotlines and not be affected we're wrong. If God says it will corrupt us then it will whether we think so or not. In Lev. 20:27 God commanded that mediums and spiritists be put to death.