Sermons

Summary: A warning against mixing the beliefs of the pagan world--like luck and superstition--along with our precious Christian beliefs. Superstition is idolatry!

A pastor was in line at McDonald’s when the woman ahead of him became very upset. “Quick,” she told the clerk in an upset voice, “Add something to my order.”

Usually, when someone wants another sandwich or extra order of fries, they are much calmer about it. So, I craned my head around to see what the problem was. The cash register told the whole story: her food bill came to six dollars and sixty-six cents. The clerk suggested an apple pie, and the woman blurted, “Fine, fine.”

By the bible case she carried, I assumed her to be a believer. I thought, “Does she really think a six dollar and sixty-six cent purchase will put her in hell?” Then she said: “Whew, that was close! I don’t want any bad luck. My cousin once bought something for six dollars and sixty-six cents, and she got awful sick and had the worst luck.”

Perhaps you’ve never thought about it, but we live in a very superstitious world. Eighty per cent of high rise buildings have no “13th” floor. Hospitals and hotels regularly have no room number 13. And, there is no 13th row of seats on major airlines.

Some common superstitions are:

• A rabbit’s foot or 4 leaf clover brings good luck.

• The number 13 is very unlucky—especially Friday the 13th.

• If a black cat crosses your path it is bad luck.

• Breaking a mirror brings 7 years of bad luck.

• Cross your fingers to avoid bad luck and help a wish come true.

The key to understanding a superstition is its origin. In ancient times, a mirror used to cost 7 years wages. To ensure that people didn’t handle it carelessly, someone invented the story that anyone who breaks a mirror gets 7 years of bad luck. That seems innocent enough—providing people don’t really believe it. Unfortunately, some believers, like the woman ordering lunch at McDonald’s, actually believe that superstitions are true.

Ever hear someone say, “Knock on Wood?” People use this expression to avoid "tempting fate" after saying something positive.

For example, suppose someone who’s been sick is asked how they are feeling. If they respond, “I'm better now, they should immediately add, “Knock on Wood." Otherwise, they might start getting sick again.

Origin: Pagan religions believed that all living things, including trees, had their own spirit. When a tree was cut down, the “tree spirit” would die and evil spirits would take up residence inside the wood. These evil spirits would devise ways of ruining the plans and hopes of people in the area. But, if someone knocked on the wood, it would drive the evil spirits away and prevent misfortune from occurring.

Really? Superstition is believing in something that you know is impossible—yet you believe it anyways. According to a 2009 poll, 23% of Christians read horoscopes and believe in astrology. Other polls claim 25% of church-goers are superstitious—although fewer Evangelical Christians are superstitious.

Most of these people aren’t aware that the Bible forbids Christ-followers from practicing superstition:

Isaiah 2:6 says: "You, Lord, have abandoned your people, the descendants of Jacob. They are full of superstitions from the East;

they practice divination like the Philistines and embrace pagan customs." [NIV]

Zephaniah 1:9 says: “In the same day I will punish all those who leap over the threshold, Who fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit.” [NKJV]

Ancient peoples believed that evil spirits hovered just outside a building’s doorway. If you stepped on the threshold, you might bring these evil spirits into the building. This is where the ancient custom of carrying a bride over the threshold originated. The bride was lifted to ensure that these evil spirits couldn’t enter her body through the soles of her feet.

Different cultures believed that a bride who tripped over the threshold of her new home (or entered the house with her left foot first) would bring many years of bad luck to her home and marriage. The husband was thought immune to such happenstance, so carrying the bride across the threshold proved a good way to avoid such misfortune.

Besides superstition, the bible also warns against the gods of luck and fate.

Isaiah 65:11-12

“But it will be different for you that forsake Me, who ignore Zion, My sacred hill, and worship Gad and Meni, the gods of luck and fate. [12] It will be your fate to die a violent death, because you did not answer when I called you or listen when I spoke. You chose to disobey Me and do evil.” [Good News T.]

Gad, a pagan deity, was called the god of good fortune. He was worshipped by a number of Hebrews during the Babylonian captivity.

All ancient cultures had at least one god or goddess of luck or good fortune. Ever hear of “Lady Luck?” She is thought to be the Roman goddess Fortuna—the goddess of luck and good fortune.

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