Seeking Spiritual Direction?

Human beings intuitively seek spiritual direction for their lives in the form of input from the supernatual world.

Young male seer seeking answers or to predict the future by looking into a crystal ball (Image: © Bigstock/ArtOfPhoto)

Shoftim

Regular Shabbat Readings

Read / Listen to these Portions

  • Shoftim (שופטים | Judges)
  • Torah: Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9
  • Haftarah: Isaiah 51:12-52:12
  • Gospel: John 14:9-20

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • Torah
    • Deuteronomy 16:18 | Municipal Judges and Officers
    • Deuteronomy 16:21 | Forbidden Forms of Worship
    • Deuteronomy 17:8 | Legal Decisions by Priests and Judges
    • Deuteronomy 17:14 | Limitations of Royal Authority
    • Deuteronomy 18:1 | Privileges of Priests and Levites
    • Deuteronomy 18:9 | Child-Sacrifice, Divination, and Magic Prohibited
    • Deuteronomy 18:15 | A New Prophet Like Moses
    • Deuteronomy 19:1 | Laws concerning the Cities of Refuge
    • Deuteronomy 19:14 | Property Boundaries
    • Deuteronomy 19:15 | Law concerning Witnesses
    • Deuteronomy 20:1 | Rules of Warfare
    • Deuteronomy 21:1 | Law concerning Murder by Persons Unknown
  • Prophets
    • Isaiah 51:1 | Blessings in Store for God's People
    • Isaiah 52:1 | Let Zion Rejoice

Portion Summary

The commandment for the king to write a copy of the Torah demonstrates the work of Messiah. He Himself is the Word made flesh. He is the copy of the Torah in human form. Furthermore, He writes a copy of the Torah as He writes the Torah upon our hearts. The Torah of King Messiah is written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts (2 Corinthians 3:3).


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)

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Torah Club is an interactive group Bible study that brings together disciples from diverse backgrounds to share the common ground of new discovery. This year only, Torah Clubs have the option of following the main study track commentary, Shadows of the Messiah. This deep dive into the Torah employs Jewish commentary and ancient Christian texts to reveal Messiah in the books of Moses.

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