Through the Word in 2020 / March 20 – Interpreters of omens

We are reading the Bible through together this year, using the Discipleship Journal Reading Plan published by the Navigators. You can download it free of charge from:

Today’s 4 readings are: Matthew 27:11-26; Romans 12:9-21; Psalm 67, Deuteronomy 18-21.

While it is always true, when something like the Covid-19 pandemic breaks out – we suddenly realize how fragile our way of life is, and how helpless we are apart from God. These are troubling notions. And people, even Christians, seek relief virtually anywhere they might find it. We want comfort and reassurance. We want answers. Why did this happen? How long will it last? What measures are being taken to resolve it? Will we ever get back to normal? Can we prevent the like of it from ever happening again? And – the million-dollar question: What does it mean?

And it is to that last question even more than the rest – our text in Deuteronomy speaks. Specifically: Deuteronomy 18:10–14 (ESV) — 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer 11 or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, 12 for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. 13 You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, 14 for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this.

The internet right now is bristling with prognosticators of all kinds trying to interpret the “omen” of Covid-19. Trying to attach its arrival to one specific sin, or that it is the absolute harbinger of an eschatological event of cosmic importance. And I am amazed, truly amazed at how many are doing this in the name of Christ. The Corona virus is a sign of this or that or the other thing.

Which sin in particular might we cite here as the culprit? Which nation is the one to really blame? There are so many to choose from. Abortion? Unrestrained sexuality (which Romans tells us is already a judgment, not something which is awaiting judgment)? Greed? Violence? Self-sufficiency? The list is endless. But as our text notes, it is the very activity of trying to read an event like this as an omen that is the problem.

How wrapped up God’s people are, listening to the political pundits and prognosticators. They are NOT to be the source of our information in this regard. Forget what they think they can divine – even if right at times. Skip it. Listen to God’s Word and be about THAT business.

Even more, God Himself tells us the better course: Deuteronomy 18:15 (ESV) — 15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—Which Acts 3:22 and 7:27 tells us Jesus. LISTEN TO CHRIST! Beloved, don’t run to other sources that portend or pretend to be able to interpret the omen(s) – occupy yourself with knowing what The Christ has said and revealed. Master that. Know that intimately. Fill your heart and mind with the One who is the very Word of God Himself. And rest there. He is our hope and salvation. He is the truth. Look to Jesus. Plug your ears to the omen interpreters. For as our text also notes, this is the way of the pagan nations, and an abomination in God’s eyes.

Matthew 17:5 (ESV) — He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

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