Superstitious comes from a Latin phrase “to stand in terror of the deity.” The Catholic Encyclopedia states that there are four types of superstitions:
- improper worship of the one true God (indebitus veri Dei cultus);
- vain observances, which include magic and occult arts.
Here are some examples of these things in the Bible.
Numbers 21: 9 Moses made the brazen serpent (Nehushtan) to heal the people who were bitten by the snakes. It worked once so they kept it and worshiped it instead of the God who was testing their faith. In 2 Kings, 18: 4 Hezekiah (a good king) broke it into pieces because of the worship of it. It had worked once so just always do it that way instead of following God. People want something to see to worship; God wants it done in the spirit.
1 Samuel 4:3 Israel been beaten by the Philistines because the Ark was not in the camp. There is no mention of them seeking God before the battle as David and Joshua had done, they were using the ark as a good luck piece. They had put God in a box that was to magically work wonders just by its mere presence. They acted just like they did in Jericho and they yelled so loud that the earth shook. Jericho is the only place mentioned that the Ark was involved in a battle.
1 Samuel 5:5 the presence of God knocked Dagon to the floor and broke off its head and hands on to the threshold of the door. So the Philistines never stepped on it again as they went through the door. In Zephaniah 1:9 the Israelites and picked up that habit so that God was going to “punish all who avoid stepping on the threshold.” Probably the custom of carrying the bride across the threshold of the house roots itself in this superstition. Watching the people of the world instead of following a holy God, you pick up their religious habits.
Jeremiah 44: 17 the Israelites made cakes to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings. They were convinced that because they stopped doing this they were having bad luck. “If it works for them we should do it too, and it worked once do it again.” The concept that food can bring us closer to God is laid to rest in 1 Corinthians 8: 8; so much for eating black-eyed peas and cabbage on New Year’s.
1 Kings 20: 13 Ahab defeats Ben-Hadad and his counselors start guessing why they had been beaten and what they had to do to beat Israel. They decided that the Lord must be a god of the hills so they were going to fight them in the valley next time. Think about coaches who will wear only a certain tie while they coach or they won’t shave if they are winning. Or players who won’t change their socks or at least won’t wash them during the season they are convinced that a thing had something to do with them winning. Dirty batting helmets or slapping a sign or spot before they go out to a game are also very common acts of luck.
Four leaf clovers, black cats, salt over the shoulder, Friday the Thirteenth or any number of other things that people think are lucky or bad luck. Some have a natural answer why it happened once like never light three smokes with one match. A soldier did this and the enemy was able to fix the location and shoot him.
Now people also have this in the church, one minister told the story of a church where a person got filled with the Holy Spirit sitting on the piano, the same thing happened the next week. So, the third week they were trying to get people to sit on the piano to be filled with the Spirit.
How should we act – Fix our eyes on Jesus, He is the author and finisher of our faith.