Showing posts with label Happiness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Happiness. Show all posts

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Happiness is Somewhere Out There! – Lies of the Enemy #30– Purity 1042

Happiness is Somewhere Out There!  – Lies of the Enemy #30– Purity 1042

Purity 1042 05/13/2023 Purity 1042 Podcast

Purity 1042 on YouTube:

Good morning,

Today’s photo of “Morning at Cherokee Lake” comes to us from Fred Dimmick who shared this scene on social media back on April 18th.  I love the boardwalk pathway and the perfect tranquil reflection of the surrounding landscape on the surface of the lake, and all under a cloudless blue sky! Fred’s photo makes me want to get out there and see something!

Well, it’s Saturday and while I have been working outdoors, digging ditches, literally, this week the tranquility of Fred’s photo encourages me to spend some time appreciating God’s creation, albeit with some balance.   We only have so many hours on the weekends, and we have to be wise when we plan things and count the costs. We have to ask ourselves what exactly it is we are looking for, or trying to accomplish, and to consider how much time and effort accomplishing it will take, and whether there is a simpler way to meet our needs that won’t cost us everything.   

For example, last year my wife and I and some friends went on a “white water rafting trip” on the Hudson River.  If you have never gone, I would highly recommend giving it a try. It was fun!  However, before you book your trip with a rafting company, you need to count the costs.  The rafting trip required financial costs, more or less 8 hours of you day, and some physical costs to your body (from rowing, being jostled around in the rapids, from swimming (you’ve got to get out of the boat – brothers and sister – as far as I am concerned -for the full experience), and from being out in the elements for most of the day. While you will have your evening free after the trip, you may be “spent” from the experience.   

Similarly, we, like Fred, can go to nearby nature trails, state parks, lakes, or mountains to get out in God’s creation to experience the glory of the great outdoors but we are wise to figure out the “drive time”  and assess the lay of the land to accurately determine the time and physical costs for our excursions – long hikes cost more than short hikes, mountain hikes cost more than hikes on relatively flat terrain.  

And all of these considerations are being mentioned today because each of us have different likes and dislikes and different capacities and as I seek to encourage people to “do something” to fully appreciate their lives, and to find peace and joy in the process, I also want people to be wise and discerning and to seek to know themselves and their limitations because if they aren’t their attempts to find peace and joy can turn into frustration, angst, and bitterness.  

The sense of peace we will experience will be within us no matter where we go, so it’s good to remember that wherever we go, we take ourselves with us and we should seek to accurately assess what we can handle and what we can’t.   If our journey of life turns into some desperate pursuit of finding peace “somewhere out there”, invariably we will come to the conclusion that “there is nothing out there” in some sense, unless we are also connected to the Creator.  There is nothing inherently meaningful or fulfilling out in the middle of the woods, next to a lake, or on the top of a mountain unless the experience brings you to a place where you thank God for what He has made and the life He has given us.  

Many times on solo nature hikes, I have reached “my limit” -where I get to the point that my appreciation for the “stillness” and the beauty of the great outdoors dissipates, and I begin to get frustrated and become more concerned with whether or not I should press on ahead or turn around and leave than with the “awe and wonder” of the wilderness.   When I get to that point, I know I have overextended myself and usually make a determined effort to just leave – I am no longer appreciating the woods so “times up” – it's time to go back to civilization and find rest somewhere else – usually back in the comforts of home.  

I  don’t know if I’m adequately expressing this experience of discovery and dissatisfaction, but this is where you come to the realization that – there is “nothing out there” – anywhere really – at home – on the road – anywhere that will fulfill us in and of themselves. This experience is simultaneously discovering our own limitations but also the limitations of “people, places, or things” to completely satisfy us. 

The “answers” to peace and joy don’t lie “out there” by themselves. The answers to peace and joy are found by relating all of our experiences to God. He is the only One with us – all the time – and when we aren’t relating to Him moment to moment – the world becomes lonely, disappointing, or even hostile to us.  God is our ever present companion and the only One who can give us the enduring experience of peace, safety, acceptance, security, and significance. 

U2’s Bono just turned 63 (we are all getting old – our rockers will increasingly be found in rockers – as in rocking chairs) and I remember U2’s 1987 song “I still haven’t found what I am looking for” where Bono sang about “climbing the highest mountains” and “running through the fields” and having other fleshly, and even spiritual experiences, only to find himself still searching.   Although the song’s lyric confesses to believing in “the Kingdom Come” and being set “free” and “believing it” – the fact that singer is “still running” makes believe that they are looking for “something out there” when they should stop and consider the fact that we are all invariably running to an eternal existence with or without God.

Our wilderness discontentment experiences, and desperate searching “out there” testifies to the inability of nature or other worthwhile experiences to provide meaning and purpose and to the fact that we have looked to created things rather than the Creator for guidance and peace.    

And this may be the longest meandering segway ever but, this brings us to our current series the “Lies of the Enemy”, which is an examination of some of the common lies, sometimes sneakily whispered into our minds as “first person” statements, that the enemy tells us to cause us to doubt our faith, lose our peace, cause division, or influence us to not follow the Lord with the way we live our lives. 

So today’s big lie is:

Lie #30:  Happiness is Somewhere Out There!     

This Lie is trumpeted everywhere! Happiness is something out there and many will offer that they have not only found “it” they have it for sale.  The travel industry will book you trips to all the “happy places” on the earth.  Restaurants promise to take you to a “happy place” with their culinary delights.   The sex industry will give you all kinds of options for finding the “happy place” of sexual release.   Dating apps even promise to bring you to the “happy place” of finding relationships.   Spas and salons will provide you with treatments that will give you “peace”.    The entertainment and sports industries will make you happy by giving you dramas to get lost in or to give you something to cheer for.  


But as I tried to express above, all the “things out there” – while admittedly they can provide us with pleasure and happy experiences – we were never meant to invest ourselves in them to find our ultimate fulfillment.  True fulfillment – peace and joy – come from a relationship with the Creator, not with temporary experiences or created things.  


Isaiah 26:3-4 (NLT2)  speaking of God, says
3  You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
4  Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock.


Our temporary experience will give us temporary peace. But the Lord offers perfect peace for eternity.  And the Way we can enter into a relationship to know God’s eternal peace is through Jesus.  He said in:  


John 14:27 (NLT2)
27  “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.


His teaching and His very life were given to and for us so we would have peace.  Jesus acknowledges the difficulties of living in this world but assures us of that through Him we can over come it.   He said:

John 16:33 (NLT2)
33  I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”


We are not to try to find our peace – or happy place – in the world. We are to find our peace in Him.  


So while I encourage you to enjoy your life and to get “out there:” this weekend to do something, make sure that you understand your limits and that the peace that endures forever is found in Christ alone.  So don’t believe the lie that “happiness is somewhere out there!” just waiting to be found because no matter how much you search in this world, unless you are looking towards the Creator and consider His Way for peace, you’ll will not only never find “what you are looking for” you will discover that you were running away from the only One that could give it to you.    





For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple apologetic will provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, .


Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is :

1 Peter 3:7 (NLT2)
7  In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.


Today’s verse reminds husbands to treat their wives with honor and understanding that she is our equal partner in God’s gift of new life and that failure to do so may hinder our prayers.   


Well, just in time for Mother’s Day, the Lord provides us with a verse to honor our sisters in Christ. Women are our equal partners in our new lives in Christ and when we treat them as second class citizens of the kingdom of God, we apparently will disrupt the effectiveness of our prayer lives as a spiritual consequence.  


Men and women are different. They have different strengths and weaknesses, but the Lord loves them both and wants them to honor and respect one another as equal partners in God’s kingdom.  While men are given the spiritual authority in marriage, they are not to abuse it.   Instead the word of God instructs us to love our wives as ourselves and to give them honor.







As always, I invite all to go to where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from  “Satan, Demons & Satanism: A Sinister Reality” By June Hunt.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work.  This resource is available online for $7.99 ( ).

Satan, Demons & Satanism

A Sinister Reality

by June Hunt

IV.    Steps To Solution

E.  Claim Your Victory in Christ

Christ’s victory over Satan is complete, final and irrevocable. Because Christ lives in you, His victory has become your victory. There is no power over Satan apart from Christ because He is the only one who has been and can be victorious over your adversary. Claim and appropriate His victory as your own, and then walk in that victory on a daily basis.

     Commit your entire life to Christ as Lord.


Fully rely on Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, your will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)


     Confess your involvement with Satan.


Recognize and renounce each evil practice.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)


     Confront Satan as a liar.


Refuse to believe any thought that Satan puts into your mind.

“He [Satan] was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)


     Command Satan to leave you.


Base your command on the authority given you in Christ.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)


     Cleanse your home.


Destroy all satanic and occultic paraphernalia.

“Avoid every kind of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:22)


     Conform your thinking to God’s thinking.


Transform your mind by memorizing Scripture.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)


     Concede your own weakness.


You cannot resist evil in your own strength … you must rely on the indwelling power of Christ.

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)


     Clothe yourself with the armor of God.


Learn God’s way of protecting yourself against the devil’s schemes.

“Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.” (Ephesians 6:13)


Q “For several years, I have been having perverse sexual dreams. I feel dirty when I wake up, but I can’t seem to do anything about them. Although I recently became a Christian, our family was heavily involved in witchcraft and satanism. What can I do to stop having these nightmares?”

Recurring sexual nightmares can certainly be rooted in the occult or in satanic rituals. Because your family was heavily involved in witchcraft and satanism, your first line of defense is to enter into spiritual warfare against these powers. If satanic oppression is the cause of an involuntary, immoral dream invading your life, through prayer it can be overcome. Claim your position as a child of God by thanking Him for loving you and saving you. Speak audibly, for Satan cannot read your thoughts. Then, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and through the power of His blood, renounce and reject any influence of the occult or any evil presence attacking you.

“They overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb [Jesus] and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” (Revelation 12:11)

Pray …


Lord Jesus,

Thank You for saving me and adopting me into Your family. I acknowledge that Your blood was the payment price that purchased the full forgiveness of my sins. My testimony is that I truly am a child of God. Right now, I take the authority that is mine in Christ and renounce any satanic, demonic power that was or is coming against me. When I sleep, I ask that the helmet of salvation protect my mind. May the breastplate of righteousness deflect any flaming arrows from the evil one. Put a hedge of protection around my mind and purify my dreams, and may God get the glory. In the powerful name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.[1]


---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

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at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

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For those who require the assistance of a Deeper Walk International Prayer Minister to experience healing or your freedom in Christ, I highly recommend Christy Edge’s Life on the Edge Freedom Prayer Ministry. You can schedule a session by going to :     

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


[1] June Hunt, Biblical Counseling Keys on Satan, Demons & Satanism: A Sinister Reality (Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart, 2008), 16–18.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Thoughts and Intentions – I’ve Got to Concentrate! – Purity 766

Thoughts and Intentions – I’ve Got to Concentrate! – Purity 766

Purity 766 06/24/2022  Purity 766 Podcast

Good morning,  

Today’s photo of the fading light of sunset over the dark silhouette of roadside trees comes to us from a friend who has been looking to the skies as of late and captured this scene in their travels a couple of days ago.    

Well, It’s Friday again, so thank God!, and as the sun sets on another work week, for most,  it is my prayer that my friends reflect on their lives and connect with their heavenly Father and seek the peace that comes from Him.   The peace that assures us that He is in control and that He can make a way where there seems to be no way.   

Last night, I was blessed to host the concluding zoom session of the Freedom in Christ course that I was facilitating and was reminded in the lesson that happiness comes from being content, or as the lesson put it from “wanting what we have”, rather than believing that happiness is only obtainable by getting something we don’t have”.  

As we have gone through life, we may not have accomplished all of our dreams and we may still have hope of accomplishing things on our “bucket lists” but as last nights lesson taught, happiness is available to us all, right now, by being content. 

Undoubtedly, we currently possess somethings that we desired and hoped would make us happy. So what happened? Didn’t getting the things you currently have make you happy? I would imagine they did but over time the satisfaction of getting those things seemed wear off. Why?  You probably took them for granted. You forgot what you life was like before you had them. And most likely, you stopped being thankful for their presence in your life.   There is also the possibility that you lost them but we won’t go there!  I am trying to encourage you to be content after all.  

But guess what contentment doesn’t just count our blessings in some myopic view where we ignore the bad by focusing on the good.  Contentment is possible only when we honestly assess all the aspects of our lives and declare, because of Christ in my life (if there is nothing else, Christians all have Him), it is well with my soul!   

It well with my soul! It is! and I am content with my life and I am happy, no joyful, because of my relationship to God I have peace with Him and I realize that He is the One who gives me acceptance, security, and significance.  This peace and joy goes beyond understanding and overcomes circumstances.   

But let’s keep it real guys, we have responsibilities in this life to God, to others, and to the things that He has provided us with.  And we are to be good stewards of what He has entrusted us with: our relationships, our stuff, and what He has reveal to us.  

Yesterday, I had the “day off” from my day job but I decided to be a responsible steward in a few areas of my life that needed attention.  

Although I have a relationship with the One who is perfect, Jesus, I am still a work in progress and there is often a lot of work to do!  With my life divided with work and “ministry”- discipling myself if no one else, and having my time split between households, I have limited time to tend to my property “down by the River” so I have to be intentional to meet the regular needs of maintenance around my house, among other things I have to mow the lawn and tend to things in my backyard. 

Previously, being annoyed with mowing around a certain bush in my backyard I made the executive decision to remove the obstacle and went to work with a set of loppers to remove it from my path permanently.  This final solution was invigorating as I “took care of business” and got rid of it.  But did I? 

I know you may be thinking about roots here, and that is a concern and I am keeping an eye on that situation, in case this bush wants to come to life again, but  like I said I have limited time fore yard work and when I laid waste to that bush I just through the branches into a brush pile near the “burning barrel” that the previous owners left on the property.  So yesterday, with the threat of rain in the forecast I decided that I needed to go out and mow the lawn but before I did I decided that I would start a fire and through all the brush in the burning barrel to be consumed.  

Since my frenzy to get rid of the bush, I forgot how big it was. And while I intended to mow the lawn after burning the brush, I never got around to it.   Once the fire started my concentration was focused on getting rid of all the brush on my property.   I hate to admit it but there is a little bit of attention deficit disorder  rolling around in my wheel house and when I set off on projects around the house my progress is somewhat chaotic as I get drawn into activity streams in which I did not originally intend to tread.  

My lack of concentration reminds my of the scene in the 1980 comedy Airplane, where the main character is enlisted to land the plane and while he is under stress and focusing on the task at hand we are given a view of his thought life with a echoing voice over in which we can hear him thinking:

“I’ve got to concentrate (concentrate…. Concentrate….)

I’ve got to concentrate (concentrate…. Concentrate….)

Hello! (...hello! ...hello!) Echo! (...echo! ...echo!)

Pinch hitting... for Pedro Borbon... Manny Mota... Mota... Mota...!   (  a link to the clip is on the blog today. 

Anyway, once I started burning the brush, I realized some of the pieces were huge and so I got my trusty loppers to try to make the process of burning the brush more manageable.  While getting the loppers was absolutely necessary for the task at hand, once I had them in my hands I was drawn to use them to do more.  

At first I took on the bush at hand. Once that was gone, and the burning barrel was as hot  and the fire was raging, I took care of the small pile of brush on which the bush had been deposited. I not only took care of that pile but I was ripping up all the fresh weeds that growing through it, all being consumed. After that ara was cleared, I remembered that I had another brush pile on my property that I made after I first moved in, so I started burning that stuff.  Eventually both piles were gone, but I had those loppers in my hands and the next thing I knew I was going all over my property cutting off branches and trimming trees to remove anything else that might impeded my progress while mowing the lawn.  

But the process of doing all of this tired me out.  In the end I decided the grass wasn’t that long and could wait a while before it needs to be mowed.  Not only that this latest round of “lopping” resulted in a new huge brush pile that will have to be burned another day.  I decide that I had enough of outside and I would go in and “relax”.  

But did I?   Not I was full blown A.D.D at that point and because I had temporarily misplaced an item in my bedroom, I found myself cleaning our my closet and reorganizing my massive collection of books and making the decision to donate some I no longer had need of or interest in.  

After I made great progress there I had realized I hadn’t prepared for my Zoom meeting and finally sat down to review last night’s lesson.  Exhausted by my efforts, I actually took a nap and got up just in time, fully refreshed, to start the meeting.  

Might seem like a chaotic bunch of activity may make you think that I had lost peace in this storm of activity, but that wasn’t the case at all.  Even though, admittedly the day was a little crazy,  I had an enduring sense of peace though out it all.   

As I burned the brush, the flames in the burning barrel reminded me of the fires of hell and I was very content that  didn’t have to worry that would not be my ultimate destiny as I had feared before coming to Christ.  

I also thought God as a consuming fire and the work of the Holy Spirit to help us burn up all that didn’t matter. I had thought to use this illustration of how that whatever problems we have, bad habits, or besting sins we suffer from, if we give them to the Lord there is nothing that His Holy Spirit can’t consume and overcome.  

I thought about how while I was feeding the fire I had to step back at times and wait for the fire to do its work and how this was analogous of how while we do have to be intentional to work on our problems that we also have to allow the Lord to do His work in us.  We can strive and accomplish much in our own strength but when we are partnered with the Lord, He can give us permanent solutions.  The Lord will consume whatever we surrender to His Holy Fire.   

In cleaning my room, I faced my own mortality and had to come to peace with the fact that I may not have time to read all of the books I have collected and that some of them no longer applied to or were meaningful to my life’s journey any more and that they could be let go of.  “I’m never going to read this.” So I let it go.  I’m still  working on that but I like the fact that I now know where everything is in my room and because my time is so precious I won’t have to waste some of it looking things I have lost track of.  

I hope you can see how even in the midst of chaotic household chores, there was a continuous contemplation and connect with my Lord.  And even though, there was a lot of dealing with things that “were not as they should be” I was never discontent, not really.  I wanted to put things in order because I am extremely grateful for having them. I love them. I love my house and I love my things. But I love the God that provided me with this life where I can enjoy them most of all.  

When I think about my life in the context of God where my intention is to be the person God created me to be, I have peace. I have joy. I have happiness because I am content. I want the things I have already and look forward to what the Lord has for me today.

You know I love the fact that the Lord knows our thoughts and hearts and I love the spiritual reality that exists where we are connected to Him through prayer and how our thinking of or talking to him simply is perhaps the purest form of prayer.      Hebrews 4:12 speaks of the word of God and how it seems to be “reading us as we read it” but the scripture says more than that.   

Hebrews 4:12-13 (NKJV)
12  For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
13  And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

John 1 calls Jesus the word of God. As often as Hebrews 4:12 is quoted it, verse 13 doesn’t get mentioned. But in that verse we see the Word is personalized. “No creature is hidden from His sight.  A ll things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. That’s Christ! That’s God. He sees us. He sees our thoughts and intents of our hearts!  

So keep walking, talking, and thinking about God. When you put your faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, He never leaves you or forsakes you and He longs for you to pursue His Truth and live the abundant life where you can know peace, joy, love, patience, gentleness, kindness, goodness, and self-control  by directing your thoughts and intentions in the way He would have you go. God bless you.

(forgive the typos today, and everyday- running late) 


Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

John 17:23 (NLT2)
23  I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.

Today’s Bible verse speaks of the spiritual reality that we are united with Christ and that He prays for us to be in unity with one another so that the world will see that Christ was sent here for them and that He is the Lord and Savior that everyone desperately needs.  

This section of scripture is a prayer from Jesus to the Father where He prays for us to know we are secure in His love and that we be united so that others will know Him.   

When the church is operating properly there is unity and joy. When brothers and sisters in Christ come together in unity they can accomplish much for good and be a witness to the goodness of God here on the earth.  

Christians united in “missions” foreign or domestic can help communities solve earthly problems through providing help in the areas of construction, medicine, and technology.  They can also just provide care by addressing immediate needs of food, water, and shelter.  They can provide emotional care and concern. And they can give the most valuable help with the presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ to provide people with the way to make peace with God, through faith in Jesus Christ, and obtain a new and eternal life.   

But when the church doesn’t act properly, we give our faith a bad name. Church abuses and power plays and disunity gives non believers reasons to avoid the church.  

So it is Christs prayer to the father that live and unity and His teaching on being reconciled to our brothers and sisters and on forgiveness, provide us with the means to have unity.  We need to forgive one another and agree with one another about the importance of our faith to help the world to be united to answer Christ’s prayer.  

So minister to one another, forgive one another, and encourage one in our faith to create the harmony of unity that will testify to the world that Jesus really can save and transform the lives of the ones who put their faith in Him.



As always, I invite all to go to where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

The Night Hag and Other Evil Spirits

The Old Testament also ascribes names to some evil spirits. Lilith (translated “Night Hag” by the RSV) is a demon who will inhabit Edom after it experiences God’s desolating judgment (Is 34:14). Although this is the only time Lilith is mentioned in the Old Testament, she was a well-known evil spirit in Mesopotamia. She also figured prominently in later noncanonical Jewish texts, as, for example, in a Jewish targum, which records the following prayer: “May the Lord bless you in all your deeds and protect you from the demons of the night [Lilith] and from anything that frightens and from demons of evening and morning, from evil spirits and phantoms.”2 Lilith also makes her appearance on some of the Aramaic incantation bowls. One bowl reads, “Bound is the bewitching Lilith who haunts the house of Zakoy.”

In Isaiah 34:14, the spooky and terrifying place of desolation is portrayed as being inhabited by wild animals and other demonic spirits. This passage speaks of Edom becoming a den for jackals and an enclosure for hyenas. It then goes on to say “demons” (daimonia), “phantoms” and “goat spirits,” as well as Lilith, will haunt this place.

In a similar way the Isaianic prophecy of the desolation of Babylon predicts that it will become a haunt for “goat spirits” and other sorts of demons (Is 13:21). As in Isaiah 34:14, the Greek Old Testament uses the word daimonia (“demons”) to translate some of the Hebrew words here for wild animals. There was a strong connection between wild animals and evil spirits throughout antiquity. The “goat demon” was thought to be in the form of a shaggy he-goat

In the Old Testament Levitical law the goat demons also appear. Israel was prohibited from offering sacrifices to goat idols. The law states: “They must no longer offer any of their sacrifices to the goat idols to whom they prostitute themselves” (Lev 17:7a). Rehoboam violated this statute when he set up “high places” and “appointed his own priests for the high places and for the goat and calf idols he had made” (2 Chron 11:15). In both of these instances demonic involvement in pagan cults is reaffirmed.

Witches, Mediums and Spiritists

Occultic practices were common among the neighbors of Israel, and they proved to be a great temptation to God’s people. Consequently we find numerous commands and admonitions throughout the Old Testament, warning Israel to stay away from every form of magical practice. The Torah specifically says, “Do not practice divination or sorcery” (Lev 19:26). In the Torah the most comprehensive list of occultic prohibitions is given:

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. (Deut 18:10–12)

Throughout the Old Testament these kinds of occultic practices are often catalogued, either in a list of prohibitions or in a historical narrative where the sins of a key figure are mentioned.

Manasseh, one of the kings of Judah, was guilty in the eyes of the chronicler for breaking the occult prohibitions of the Torah. He worshiped the Canaanite gods, practiced astrology or a form of astral religion (“bowed down to all the starry host and worshiped them”), “sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists” (2 Chron 33:1–6). The chronicler concludes, “He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord provoking him to anger.”

Likewise, Hoshea, the last king of the northern kingdom, led Israel away from God to pursue the worship of foreign gods and engage in occultic practices, including astrology. The text says they set up sacred stones and Asherah poles, they worshiped idols, they imitated the nations around them, they bowed down to all the starry hosts, they worshiped Baal, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters in the fire, and they practiced divination and sorcery. The biblical writer interprets their action as selling “themselves to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, provoking him to anger.” As a result, the Lord was “very angry with Israel,” removing them from his presence (2 Kings 17:7–23).

In the Old Testament none of these occult practices are ever described in any detail. Instead, they are usually mentioned in a list and condemned. There was a clear assumption on the part of the various Old Testament writers that the readers would know precisely what was being referred to.

In Old Testament history burning children in a fire as part of pagan worship was something that occurred on more than one occasion (see Jer 7:31; 19:5; 32:35; Mic 6:7). Outside of the Old Testament, however, there is little information that describes the practice of child sacrifice.

As we have seen from the accounts about Manasseh and Hoshea, astrology was widely practiced during their times. Biblical writers describe it as “bowing down to the starry hosts.” We would be remiss to think they viewed the stars merely as material objects. Throughout the history of the ancient Near East, the stars were deified and thought to represent various gods and goddesses. In fact, the book of Amos actually names two Assyrian astral deities that Israel worshiped: “Sakkuth your king and Kaiwan your star god” (Amos 5:26). Jeremiah mentions the worship of Ishtar, the “Queen of Heaven” (Jer 7:18; 44:17–19). Then, as well as in the later Greco-Roman forms of astrology, the stars were believed to control the unfolding of history. The law expressly prohibited Israel from worshiping the stars (Deut 4:19), in spite of the fact that this was the common practice of all the other nations around Israel.

In the ancient Near East many forms of divination were practiced. One of the most popular forms was liver inspection (hepatoscopy). Perhaps, because the liver was the seat of the blood, and thus the center of life, it was especially important in popular belief as an object that could help determine the future. Another well-known form of divination was necromancy, the conjuring of the dead, of which King Saul was culpable when he visited the witch at Endor (1 Sam 28:3–25). Since divination was closely associated with magic in all its forms, biblical writers roundly condemned it (see Lev 19:26, 31).

Magic, witchcraft and sorcery have played a part in every society in the history of religion. The main features are always the same. Of special significance for our topic is the fact that these practices were based on a firm belief in the realm of good and evil spirits. Those who practiced magic believed the supernatural beings could be manipulated to bring positive benefit or harm. For the covenant people of God these practices were regarded as evil and detestable to the Lord.[1]


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[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 57–60.