3 Ways Our Worship Turns to Witchcraft

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Can a Christian delude themselves into thinking that they are worshiping God, when in fact they are engaging in witchcraft?

Sound a little incredulous?

And yet, there are three enemies of our soul that, if left unconquered, will not only lead us into great delusion and destruction, they will actually turn our worship into witchcraft.

There are 3 ways our worship turns to witchcraft. If we fail to annihilate these three enemies inside of us they will lead us to destruction. #alittlerandr #worship #witchcraft #OnlineBibleStudy

While Saul was certainly not God’s original plan for Israel; after the children of Israel insisted God give them a king, God chose Saul.

In today’s vernacular, Saul was called.

But just like Saul, it is entirely possible for you to use your area of ministry for sin. Saul is a classic example of someone in ministry – no matter how legitimate – using that ministry to build their own kingdom, to exalt themselves and for their own sinful desires.

3 Ways Our Worship Turns to Witchcraft

When we reach 1 Samuel 15 we see that Saul has fallen so deep into the trap of self-worship that it has turned into witchcraft.

To be sure, all worship that isn’t sincere worship of God is witchcraft, because anything that is not worship of God is worship of Satan. Even worship of self is worship of Satan because self-worship originated with him and is influenced by him.

God instituted worship to glorify Himself, because He knows that is where we will derive our greatest satisfaction and identity.

Satan doesn’t want this to happen.

He wants us to lost in a fog of mistaken identity and distracted by worshiping anything and everything but God. Therefore, he will do anything to prevent us from sincerely worshiping God.

And this is how he manages to turn our worship into witchcraft. 

1. Our worship turns to witchcraft when we fail to address our insecurity.

When Saul comes on the scene in 1 Samuel 9, he is insecure and self-deprecating.

This is further witnessed in chapter 14 when Jonathan had eaten honey during a time when Saul had placed his army under an oath of fasting.

Saul was more willing to put Jonathan to death for his transgression than to admit his own mistake in leadership.

In looking at the leadership of Saul, we clearly see what happens when a leader leads out of insecurity.

In chapter 14 we find an army reduced to a 1/5 of its size, with limited weaponry, low morale, and now weakened with hunger.

Furthermore, the people are not behind Saul, they are simply doing what they have to do with no passion or vision.

In the end, they rise up against Saul and save Jonathan – who, while his father sat under a tree, chose to step out in faith and obedience to go against the Philistine army.

God rewarded his obedience by confusing the army into turning on itself!

Saul’s insecurity lead not only to his own personal disaster, but nearly destroyed his army and certainly alienated his people from him.

Insecurity is just another word for pride. An insecure person is a person who is preoccupied with themselves: how the look, how they appear to others, whether or not they are accepted by their peers.

Many times insecurity is linked to perfectionism, which is yet another word for pride. Any time we are more focused on ourselves than on God and others, we have pride in our hearts.

Pride is nothing more than self-worship.

  • Pride is the elevation of self
  • Insecurity is the elevation of self….only often repackaged as false humility and self-deprecation.
  • Perfectionism is the elevation of self, always having to be the best…never able to allow others to be better

There are 3 ways our worship turns to witchcraft. If we fail to annihilate these three enemies inside of us they will lead us to destruction. #alittlerandr #worship #witchcraft #OnlineBibleStudy

2. Our worship turns to witchcraft when we fail to address our fear.

In 1 Samuel 13 we find Saul and his army about to go to war against the Philistines. He is waiting on Samuel to offer the sacrifice, but Samuel was late.

It says that Saul waited 7 days for Samuel to come, but he still hadn’t shown up.

In the meantime, the troops were getting restless and were deserting him.

Saul was feeling his authority slip away from him, and out of fear of losing his authority over his troops he makes a fatal error.

He offers the sacrifice himself.

Out of fear, he assumes a level of authority God never intended him to have, and as a result, the generations following him would never rule over Israel.

Fear is a lack of trust in God’s sovereignty and a refusal to live under His authority.

The problem is, when we refuse to be under God’s divine authority, and to accept the human authorities He has placed over us, we are living in rebellion.

This weakens any authority we may have.

In Matthew 8, we read the story of the centurion who comes to Jesus asking Him to heal his servant.

When Jesus offers to go to his house, the centurion gives this curious answer, “For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

He says, I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. He is both under authority and in authority.

And his authority is strengthened by the fact that he chooses to submit to someone higher than him. But this submission requires trust. You cannot submit to someone you don’t trust.

Fear is a lack of trust, you can even say fear is a refusal to trust.

In fact, for the Christian, fear is a rebellion against God’s command, because all throughout scripture God commands us not to fear.

3. Our worship turns to witchcraft when we fail to address our disobedience.

All throughout these chapters in 1 Samuel, we see that Saul’s fear and insecurity led him to disobey God in a multitude of ways.

But we come to the point in chapter 15 when God calls him out for his witchcraft. Indeed, even the Word says that Saul’s so-called sacrifice to God was really only self-worship!

God had sent Saul and his army to attack Amalek.

In chapter 15, verse 3, God commands Saul to “utterly destroy” everything and everyone. He actually gives him a comprehensive list, so that there is no room for confusion or interpretation.

But in verse 9 we see that Saul spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, oxen, fatlings, lambs and “all that was good”.

Then in verse 13 he says, “I have performed the commandment of the Lord.”

When Samuel confronts his disobedience, he defends himself by saying that that the things they saved back were to sacrifice to the Lord.

As if the Israelites didn’t have their own sheep and oxen to use for sacrifice, they chose to use the sheep and oxen that God had commanded them to destroy as worship to God.

This, in fact, wasn’t worship of God at all!

In verse 12 we read this interesting verse that I had never read before, “…it was told Samuel, saying, “Saul went up went to Carmel, and indeed, he set up a monument for himself…”

While Saul was supposedly sacrificing to the Lord, in reality he was worshiping himself.

And his self-worship will soon be deflated when Samuel speaks these famous words:

“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.”

Are we guilty of disobedience in our worship?

Have we brought the world into our worship?

  • Would we rather do what’s popular
  • Would we rather do what’s going to get us attention
  • Would we rather do what’s going to heap praise for our abilities
  • Would we rather do what’s going to bring in numbers?

Have we failed to utterly cut off the world so the purity of God’s authority is witnessed in and through us?

If not, our worship has turned into witchcraft.

Saul’s life is a warning to the church of what happens when we think we can defeat the enemy outside of us without first having defeated the enemy inside of us.

His failure to defeat his insecurity, pride, and disobedience prevented him from leading his army into battle against the Philistines in chapter 14 and from utterly destroying the Amalekites in chapter 15.

If you fail to defeat the enemy in these three areas, you are worshiping yourself…

and any worship that isn’t worship of God is witchcraft!

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    1. Wow! I truly loved the way you explained & shared the story about King Saul ,& how we as believers need to becareful that are Worship Dont turn into witchcraft .. Great example you chose to use for this message , & having the boldness to share your thoughts on this topic cause you shine the light on the this area, Thanks again!

  1. Really made me think. I have always had problems with insecurity and needing affirmation, since my mother stressed that whatever I did was unacceptable. It has caused problems in my marriage, extreme problems with my adult children and, not surprisingly,a myriad of problems with God. Even at 60, I still struggle more than I’d like and am not sure how to handle it. I do pray about it, but not sure what else to do. I have spent my life looking for acceptance, especially in churches and always seeming to fall short. We’re currently going to an Episcopalian church that is more accepting, but a bit too liberal on social issues. I want to get things straightened out, but not sure where to go or what to do. Thanks for listening.

    1. Seek truth. It’s better to go somewhere that preaches the complete Word of God instead of the “trail mix” version. The Word is forever settled in heaven. God is not a man that can lie. I belong to a oneness Apostolic Pentecostal church. I was not raised in it. My pastor always speaks truth. Sometimes the truth hurts, but it’s Jesus way of getting you to deal with it. No church building is perfect, so seek the truth first. Jesus never fails.

  2. Elizabeth, I understand. I have had those tendencies. You have identified where there are problems in the attitudes. I have learned that our minds go in the direction of our focus. We can chose to think of where we are deficient or we can focus on how great God is. In Joshua 1:8, God tells Joshua to meditate on His Word day and night. Mediate back then is actually mumbling, whispering, reviewing, contemplating on God’s word. Your mind needs a holy re-set. My suggestion…find a scripture that God hits home for you and encourages you and journal on it…what does this verse means to me? What is God wanting to tell me? How do I feel about it? Then take that scripture verse and start to memorize it and review it throughout the day. This will radically change your life! ?

  3. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been burdened about pastors that have the “spirit of Saul”, because of their potential to lead so many people in the wrong direction. I do believe that God is raising up “spirit of David” leaders, and wants to place them into position nation-wide and beyond. It’s time for the “spirit of Saul” leaders to step down. Continually praying… God’s will be done.

  4. Its such a real blessing to have come upon this post.such truth in a needed time, I never actually noticed that I have in a way done all three. Thank God that his light shatters darkness and brings us to truth. Much needed word! ,wow

    1. Oh May – I think we’re in good company. 😀 I think all of us have done all three of these. Praise God for His faithfulness to reveal truth in His Word so we can live in a way that pleases Him.

  5. On worship turning to witchcraft, it seems to read worship of God is worship of Satan. You can find this sentence in the 8th paragraph. Just seems a bit confused. Check it out.

    1. Oh goodness, you are right! And I re-read this post a number of times and still seemed to miss that. I guess I must have read what I intended to write, and not what I actually wrote. Please forgive me! That sentence should read: “…because anything that is not worship of God is worship of Satan.”

    1. Oh goodness, you are right! And I re-read this post a number of times and still seemed to miss that. I guess I must have read what I intended to write, and not what I actually wrote. Please forgive me! That sentence should read: “…because anything that is not worship of God is worship of Satan.”

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