Several years ago a friend of mine and I walked into one of those unique specialty shops in a major downtown area. The store was built around a cool theme and had some very beautiful art work and fascinating cultural artifacts. While we were admiring the art work, we saw a fortune teller with her tarot cards. She was drawing quite a bit of attention. We decided to do a prayer experiment. As we silently began to pray and worship the Lord while we browsed. She suddenly stood up and said, “I can’t do this anymore,” and packed up.
We walked out of the store, amazed at the power of praying silently from our hearts, in Jesus’ name. We were happy to see that the fortune teller had become confused and was forced to quit. Personally, for me, it was also a glimpse into the power of a quiet faith in God.
I remembered this when reading from the book of Ezekiel chapter 13 earlier today. In the first half of the chapter God pronounces woe upon false prophets for their whitewash preaching. Whitewash was God’s evaluation of the false doctrine that these prophets were preaching from their deluded imaginations. When the storms of God’s judgment upon the sins of the nation came, the whitewash would be washed away. We must possess an unshakeable confidence in the Bible and believe biblical doctrine. To neglect or have an admixture of false doctrine and biblical doctrine is to bring destruction upon ourselves.
“At last my anger against the wall and those who covered it with whitewash will be satisfied. Then I will say to you: ‘The wall and those who whitewashed it are both gone.” (Ezekiel 13:15, NLT)
In the second half of the chapter, God addresses the women who were involved in divination and fortune telling under the guise of prophecy.
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: What sorrow awaits you women who are ensnaring the souls of my people, young and old alike. You tie magic charms on their wrists and furnish them with magic veils. Do you think you can trap others without bringing destruction on yourselves?” (Ezekiel 13:18, NLT)
Why would people listen to these false prophets and fortune tellers? Fear and hope.
In his book Psychic Blues: Confessions of a Conflicted Medium, psychic Mark Edward shared his thoughts about the hunger in our culture for community and spiritual truth. He admitted to giving “junkyard superstition … to the gullible, the lonely, the hopeful, and the dim.”
How do you know who to listen to? The pastors who preach God’s Word faithfully, whether it something you want to hear or not. Their preaching stands the test of time. This morning, I was asking God, that my preaching and writing would stand the test of time by being faithful to the Bible.
Doctrinal preaching is not dull or dry. The apostles’ doctrine, was not boring or irrelevant. “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42, NLT)
Finally, I covet your prayers daily, for continued faithfulness and growth in God’s Word. Mountain moving faith comes from sound biblical preaching that removes the mountains of doubt that stand in our way of growth in Christ.
“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” (Ephesians 6:10–18, NLT)