"I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new." – Lev 26:9-10 (NIV)
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. You must be blameless before the LORD your God. – Deut 18:10-13 (NIV)
I love the Chinese New Year. One reason is the focus on blessings. During this festive season, homes are decorated with symbols of blessings. When we meet, we greet one another with Mandarin oranges, which symbolise good fortune, and exchange words of blessings, be it good health, peace, harmony, prosperity, the realisation of our hearts’ desires, etcetera. Even the fruits and foods we eat carry auspicious meanings.
Everybody loves blessings. Who doesn’t?
Our Heavenly Father delights to bless His children. The verses in Leviticus 26:9-10 are God’s promises of richest blessings for the Israelites and their nation on the conditions that they follow His decrees and obey His commands (Leviticus 26:3).
Observe the nature of God’s blessings in these verses and the verses before and after them. Firstly, they are comprehensive, encompassing all areas of life. It is pointless to have prosperity without peace, and good harvest without your loved ones and good friends to share the joy with you. Secondly, God’s blessings are lavish. The description does not indicate mere sufficiency but overflowing abundance. The supply flows continuously with the harvest extending into the planting season and it is so plentiful that you would have so much left over from the previous year’s harvest (Leviticus 26:5, 10).
You are not unaware that the devil also promises blessings. But if you are wise, you do not want anything from him. With the devil, there is no free lunch. He will demand something in return though it may not be immediately obvious. You do not want to be indebted to him in any way. During the temptation in the wilderness, Satan promised Jesus the whole world – authority over it and its riches and splendour – in return for worship. Jesus rebuffed him, saying, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only (Luke 4:8).
That is the posture expected of every Christian – worship the Lord our God and serve Him only. Unfortunately, many who profess Christ fall into the devil’s trap in their attempt to secure blessings for themselves. Instead of trusting in Christ alone, these Christians compromise on their faith by engaging in the occult. This is most obvious during the Chinese New Year period. They revert to their old ways of life dabbling with the Chinese Zodiac, consulting with fengshui masters, putting up figurines of dragon, fortune cat, god of wealth, and the likes in their homes and workplaces. Some would go to the extent of having lion dance in their premises.
These pagan practices are no mere superstitions. They are occult in nature. God warned the Israelites against following the practices of the peoples and nations surrounding them. “The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so” (Deuteronomy 18:14 – NIV). It was partly for such reasons that the LORD God used Israel to drive them out of the land. These occult practices are detestable and abominable to Him.
The Israelites were called to be holy; to be separated from such a way of life. Likewise, we are called to be holy (1 Peter 1:16). Therefore, we must steer clear of divination and sorcery. Using the zodiac to navigate your future is divination. Displaying spiritual and superstitious symbols like dragon is sorcery. These are occult practices.
These acts are not just open rebellion against God and displeasing to Him, they also open you up to demonic intrusion into your life, family and work. They are not harmless. God commands against such practices to protect you. Do not be deceived into believing that you will be blessed by doing these things. You may be blessed temporarily but in exchange you give the devil the right of access into your life.
Remember, God alone is the only source of blessings – blessings which last. So, do not look elsewhere. Worship, obey and serve Him only, and you will be richly blessed. May our Lord Jesus Christ bless you with favour and fruitfulness in this Chinese New Year!
Pastors Les & Adeline Chua