September 5, 2014
Acts 16:11-15 (in context)
Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.
I remember as a child the stack of board games in our playroom. Tucked right there between Monopoly and Candy Land was a different kind of board game. It didn’t seem to belong in the world of Chutes and Ladders. It had a name we couldn’t even pronounce. You know the one I’m talking about. The dreaded Ouiji board. Some people considered it the spawn of Satan while others thought it good, clean family fun.
It’s the same with today’s text in some ways. Many clear headed, well meaning followers of Jesus don’t believe this kind of thing really happens any more. Many clear headed, well meaning followers of Jesus believe it happens almost constantly. The truth is likely somewhere between them.
In today’s text, we are dealing with a women we might refer to today as a psychic. You’ve seen those little houses lining the freeway access roads in most cities. Palm Readings, Fortune Telling, Tarot Cards, Tea leaves and so forth. I don’t know about you, but I mostly think of them as scam artists. Then there are the television mini series programs like Medium and Believe and the like.
There’s probably a lot more smoke than fire to all this business, but as they say, “Where there’s smoke there’s fire.”
What do you think? Is it all a big hoax or is there some underlying reality of spiritual forces?
I believe the latter to be the case. Could Paul be making reference to this reality when he says things like. . .
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6.
Satan is real. Demons are real. Evil spirits are real. They aren’t everywhere lurking behind every ailment and problem in the world, but they are real. It takes discernment to understand when and where they are at work. The bigger reality we must keep always before us? Jesus is Lord. He is the armor of God who is all at once vulnerable and invincible. ) It’s how Paul can command the forces of evil in one minute and get the crap beat out of him by people in the next.)
Here’s my practical advice.
1. Don’t be afraid of evil spirits, but
2. Be aware of the possibility of their presence.
3. Don’t take them on unless you know what you are doing.
4. Get rid of the Ouiji board. ;0)
COME HOLY SPIRIT!