What am I [Paul] saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.
As Christians we need to be cautious about our pursuits. I used to think fortune telling was silly and harmless. Now I realize that demons can use stupid things like fortune cookies and visits to psychics against us. They take the opportunity to influence us because we go looking for wisdom in the wrong places. We have no business communing with tarot-card readers or practitioners of crystals, or hanging out with “good” witches. God hates that. He knows how dangerous it is. We can’t be fooled by popular culture into allowing demons into our lives. In Los Angeles, I encounter “spiritual” stores everywhere I go. There are psychics on every corner. Crystals and magnets promise healing. It’s easy to dismiss these things and laugh at them, but I’m learning to take them seriously and to avoid them at all cost. Not because they have a power of their own, but because demons will use these tools to get close to people. I don’t want to commune with demons. I have to be smarter than that.
I came across two verses in the Old Testament which refer to God sending evil spirits upon people. The first is
“God sent a spirit of ill will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech that the crime done to the 70 sons of Jerubbaal [Gideon] might be settled and their blood be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who aided him in the killing of his own brothers.”
And the second is 1 Samuel 16:14
“But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him.”
Some translations actually say “evil spirit” instead of “distressing spirit.” Does that mean God will send evil spirits into our lives? No, not necessarily. But He might allow evil spirits to get to us if we are constantly sinning. Both Abimelech and Saul had it coming. They were severely disobedient to God and His laws. They didn’t run from evil. They didn’t fear God.
My MacArthur Study Bible notes that God allowed these evil spirits to torment Abimelech and Saul because of their considerable sin. It says, “There are several NT occasions where God turned people over to demons or Satan for judgement (see Acts 5:1-3; 1 Cor 5:1-7; 1 Tim 1:18-20).”
Yikes. This is pretty heavy motivation to keep on the straight and narrow and to listen to my conscience. There’s demons out there and I don’t want them getting through my hedge of protection.