Hear the word that the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel. Thus says the Lord:
“Learn not the way of the nations,
nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens
because the nations are dismayed at them,
for the customs of the peoples are vanity.
A tree from the forest is cut down
and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman.
They decorate it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so that it cannot move.
Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field,
and they cannot speak;
they have to be carried,
for they cannot walk.
Do not be afraid of them,
for they cannot do evil,
neither is it in them to do good.” Jeremiah 10:1-5 ESV
Stand fast in your enchantments
and your many sorceries,
with which you have labored from your youth;
perhaps you may be able to succeed;
perhaps you may inspire terror.
You are wearied with your many counsels;
let them stand forth and save you,
those who divide the heavens,
who gaze at the stars,
who at the new moons make known
what shall come upon you.
Behold, they are like stubble;
the fire consumes them;
they cannot deliver themselves
from the power of the flame.
No coal for warming oneself is this,
no fire to sit before! Isaiah 47:12-14 ESV
Have you ever heard of astrology? Some people believe that the stars in the sky give us the personality we have, and also control the things that happen in our lives. In the western world, people look for meaning in the twelve signs of the zodiac, and each sign goes with about one month in a year. Whatever sign you are born under–maybe Gemini or Leo or Sagittarius–determines what kind of person you are. A Leo is supposed to be a person of action who always wants to be loved and admired and be the center of attention. People who believe in astrology might check every day to see what position the stars are in and find out if they are about to have good luck or bad luck, and what they should do and how they should plan their lives.
The prophet Jeremiah spoke to the people and warned them not to trust in astrology. There were learning from the nations around them how to look to the sky for signs, and they were afraid because they thought they saw omens in the stars of terrible things that would happen. The Lord didn’t want his people to believe in the things the nations around them believed in. They believed in astrology, and they also made idols to pray to for help. God told his people that these idols didn’t have any more power to help anyone than the scarecrows they built to keep birds out of their cucumber fields! God’s people were turning away from him and following the ways of other people, and because of this they were living lives of fear and worry.
The Lord wants us to put our trust in him, and when we do that, we don’t have to be afraid of anything. God is always with us to hear our prayers and to help us, no matter how scary the world seems around us. God is very close to us, and he came to us in Jesus to defeat the scariest things of all–death and all the forces of evil. Jesus died on the cross and rose again on the first Easter Sunday, and because of that, we know that he is stronger than any bad thing that could ever try to hurt us. We know he loves us and will always be with us to help us and keep us as his people forever.
Dear Heavenly Father, help us to trust in you and not turn away to other things for help. Keep us close to you now and always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.