Eastern Ways

by Joe Slater
crystal-ball.jpg“For You have forsaken Your people, the house of Jacob, because they are filled with eastern ways” (Isaiah 2:6)
God had warned Israel: “When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations” (Deuteronomy 18:9).
Despite His warnings, God’s people adopted many of the pagan practices of their Gentile neighbors. During Isaiah’s time, the Israelites had soothsayers (fortune tellers), worshiped idols, were materialistic and self-reliant, and had formed close ties with pagan foreigners (Isaiah 2:6-9). Truly, they were “filled with eastern ways.”
Surely the Lord’s church, especially in this enlightened age, is free from such silly superstition, isn’t it? If we think so, we had better think again!
While I’ve never known of members of the body of Christ gazing into crystal balls or lining up to have their palms read, the sad fact remains that a few brethren dabble in less obvious forms of occult fortune-telling like astrology (horoscopes and the like).
It is an “eastern way,” having originated in Babylon (Chaldea — what we call Iraq). By assigning influences to the sun/moon/stars/etc., that rightly belong to God, astrology becomes a form of idolatry. Some may claim that they read their horoscope just for fun, but are occultism an idolatry appropriate toys for God’s children to play with?
According to a new poll by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, some 13+ percent of so-called “Evangelicals” believe in astrology, while 10+ percent believe in reincarnation (another “eastern way”). (I realize that we are not Evangelicals, but for polling purposes, that is where we would be pigeonholed)./1
While the percentages are small, they are still significant and alarming. We would be foolish and presumptuous to think that we are immune from falling into “eastern ways.” God has made Himself clear on the matter, mocking astrologers as “stargazers” and “monthly prognosticators” (Isaiah 47:13).
Let us firmly and plainly hold to God’s word, which is truth, while rejecting any and all “eastern ways.”

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1/ Pew poll information via www.yahoo.com/s/nm/20091210/lf_nm_life/us_usa_religion

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Joe has preached for 32 years and has written tracts and various other Biblical materials. He preaches in Justin, Texas.

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