It's normal to look to the spiritual world for answers. Uncertainty about the future, difficulty rendering an important decision, apprehension over an unpredictable circumstance, or even simple curiosity inspires people to seek information from the supernatural.
The Torah warns us not to seek spiritual direction from the occult. God forbids us to consult soothsayers, palm readers, fortune-tellers, mediums, psychics, and the like. Horoscopes, séances, Ouija boards, divination, spell-casting, and all other forms of occult arts are utterly forbidden. The Torah says that whoever practices occult arts is “detestable to the LORD” (Deuteronomy 18:12).
For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do so. (Deuteronomy 18:14)
The Didache, a compendium of instructions to Gentile believers composed sometime in the late first century or early second century, states that occultism is a form of idolatry:
Thou shalt not practice magic, thou shalt not practice witchcraft. … My child, be not an observer of omens, since it leads the way to idolatry; neither an enchanter, nor an astrologer, nor a purifier, nor be willing to took at these things; for out of all these idolatry is engendered. (Didache 2:2; 3:4)
The occult is the realm of the demonic. Playing with the occult is an invitation to bring demonic activity into our lives. Rather than turn to the occult for contact with the supernatural, Israel is to turn to God's prophets.
Wouldn't it be nice if there were reliable prophets like Moses today? Imagine having the ability to seek counsel directly from God. Suppose you were trying to decide whether a certain person was right for you to marry. Few decisions in life are so momentous. If there was ever a time to seek spiritual direction, it would be at that moment. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to go to a reliable and true prophet of God and ask the question? The prophet could consult the LORD on your behalf, and you would receive a direct answer.
On rare occasions, the gift of prophecy did function like that, but the prophet of God was not a kosher fortune-teller. The true prophet could only speak what God gave him to speak. He could not force an answer from God. Ordinarily it was God who initiated a prophecy by sending a prophet out to deliver a message.
In today's world, true prophets are sparse. “Word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent” (1 Samuel 3:1). But we are not left without spiritual direction. We have the written Word of God, which was spoken and recorded by the prophets. Our Bible is the written transcript of God's conversations with the prophets. The books of the prophets preserve the living voice of God, offer concrete spiritual direction, and reveal the future. When we are in need of spiritual direction, the first place we should look is inside our Bibles.
We have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts (2 Peter 1:19).
Remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets (2 Peter 3:2)
Shoftim – שֹׁפְטִים : “Judges” Torah : Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9 Haftarah : Isaiah 51:12-52:12 Gospel : Matthew 26:47-27:10