The Sinking Sand of Superstition

Matthew 7:24–25

THE GREAT PLAGUE STRETCHED across London like a thick, drab blanket. It came as a thief in the night. The mortality rate was astounding.

Someone came up with the foolish idea that polluted air brought on the plague. So, people began to carry flower petals in their pockets, superstitiously thinking the fragrance would ward off the disease. Groups of victims, if they could walk, were taken outside the hospitals. Holding hands, they walked in circles around rose gardens, breathing in deeply the aroma of the blooming plants. As death came closer, another superstitious act was employed with sincerity. Many felt if the lungs could be freed from pollution, life could be sustained. So, ashes were placed in a spoon and brought up near the nose, causing a hefty sneeze or two. But nothing retarded the raging death rate. Not until the real cause was discovered—the bite of fleas from diseased rats—was the plague brought in check.

The awful experience is one explanation for a little song that innocent children still sing at play. It was first heard from the lips of a soiled old man pushing a cart in London, picking up bodies along an alley: “Ring around the roses, / A pocket full of posies; / Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.”

Conceived in the mind by ignorance, superstition cultivates insecurity and sends a legion of structural cracks through our character.

The worst form of it? Superstition regarding the Lord. The Reformers were among the first to see it and recognize it for what it was. They wrote of it, preached against it, publicly exposed it—and were martyred because of it. Religious superstition is ruthless. How much better to build our lives on the truths of God’s Word. Jesus said,

Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.

MATTHEW 7:24–25

You see, our Savior came to give us the truth and set us free. Superstition, although prompted by sincerity, is no sure foundation. Christ is.

Devotional content taken from Good Morning, Lord . . . Can We Talk? by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2018. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved. The full devotional can be purchased at

Posted in Bible, Theology and tagged .

Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.