On Knowing the Future

Punxsutawney Phil is a groundhog residing in Young Township near Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, who is the central figure in Punxsutawney’s annual Groundhog Day celebration. He is credited with having correctly forecasted whether there will be an early spring or six more weeks of weather. This year he is predicting an early spring. It is a novel approach to mankind’s unending search for knowledge of the future. It is lighthearted, but illustrative of a desire to know the future. This adrenal thirst for knowledge of the future is unending.

In Greek mythology Croesus King of Lydia visited the oracle of Delphi and sought her wisdom regarding the outcome of his forthcoming battle with the Persians. She said, “If you make war on the Persians, you will destroy a great empire.”

Confidently he went forth to conquer only to be badly defeated. Later he returned and reminded the oracle she had foretold a great victory. She said she didn’t predict who would win, only that a great empire would be destroyed and his was.

Croesus’ story provides a warning on how not to interpret oracular statements. It shows the importance of careful consideration of the divine word and the dangers of arrogant assumptions.

Fortune tellers, soothsayers, card readers, and the like most often leave themselves wiggle room in making predictions.

In the Bible Saul improperly sought the wisdom of a witch. Jesus advised against improperly seeking to know the future. In a Scripture passage normally considered caution regarding worry wisdom is found in not seeking to know the future. He concluded, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6: 34).

Some modern day preachers make a lot of money presuming to know details of the future based on general prophetic principles.

“…when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” Deuteronomy 18:21-22

Such a person, even if he has a big TV or radio ministry, is not to be trusted.

There is a fine line between seeking to know the future and properly planning for the future. Proper planning for your future is wise. Preoccupation with details of the future indicate a lack of trust of the Lord. He is already there waiting to bless.

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3