Saturday, January 23, 2010

What's Wrong with Reading the Horoscope?

Julie started reading the daily horoscope a few months ago. She thought it was interesting that on some days, the guidance she found there seemed exactly relevant to her situation. She didn't really believe in it, mind you.

At least, she didn't believe in it at first. But as the days wore on and Julie continued to read her daily horoscope, she found that while she still didn't really believe in what she read, she still told friends, "It's amazing how often it seems to be true." Julie had become a horoscope "evangelist."

Julie also started wearing clothing using the horoscope's colors of the day. If the horoscope said that thirteen was her number for the day, she would order a baker's dozen of goodies at the pastry shop on her way to work.

The thing is that Julie is a Christian. She should know better. We all should know better.

In my daily devotional reading this morning, a passage from 1 Chronicles came up; it contains the Bible's epitaph for Israel's first king, Saul, a man who started out strong in faith, but who in his impatience, had come to depend not on God, but on himself....and other things. The passage says:
So Saul died for his unfaithfulness; he was unfaithful to the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord; moreover, he had consulted a medium, seeking guidance, and did not seek guidance from the Lord...(1 Chronicles 10:13-14)
There's nothing innocent or harmless about reading horoscopes, messing with Ouija boards, playing with Tarot cards, or going to a spiritual "advisor" who claims to know your future.

As much as you tell yourself and others that you don't really believe in that stuff, consulting them will inevitably diminish your dependence on God for guidance and "daily bread." You will, as mentioned in last Sunday's sermon, "hedge your bets" when it comes to trusting wholly in the God revealed to all the world in Jesus Christ.

Martin Luther, pointing to Jesus as God in flesh, was fond of saying that any time our faith, the things in which we trust, can be termed as "Christ-and-somehing else," we have fallen out of relationship with Christ. Christ will not share His throne or His eminence with anyone or anything. Not horoscopes. Not Ouija boards. Nor, for that matter, with the wisdom of the world, your country, your political party, your life philosophy, piety, or good religious works.

Christ is the way and the truth and the life. Christ alone.

If I had the chance, I would tell Julie to throw out the horoscopes and simply pray, "Today, Lord, your will be done in my life."

UPDATE: I just found this prayer while re-reading Prayer Power Unlimited: Achieving Intimacy with God Through Prayer by J. Oswald Sanders. It's a prayer composed by Erasmus:
O Lord Jesus Christ, who hast said that Thou art the way, the truth, and the life; suffer us not at any time to stray from Thee, who art the way; nor to distrust the promises, who art the truth; nor to rest in any other thing but Thee, who art life; beyond which there is nothing to be desired, neither in heaven nor on earth; for Thy Name's sake.


Ivy said...

Well said. It does seem to be an issue too among some Lutherans who tend to say that we're interpreting the OT texts out of their cultural context. Thank you.

Ivy said...

BTW, now the Google Ads at the top of your post are about horoscopes and sources to get your horoscope. Thought you should know.

Mark Daniels said...

When I clicked on just now, there was an ad for Holy Land pilgrimages.

Occasionally, I consider getting rid of Google ads at the top of the page. Maybe I will.

As to your original comment, for me the issue has always been the subtle idolatry that results from seemingly innocent consultation of horoscopes. That, I think, is what the Old Testament proscriptions against consulting mediums were all about.

God bless.