“If we never experience the chill of a dark winter, it is very unlikely that we will ever cherish the warmth of a bright summer’s day. Nothing stimulates our appetite for the simple joys of life more than the starvation caused by sadness or desperation. In order to complete our amazing life journey successfully, it is vital that we turn each and every dark tear into a pearl of wisdom, and find the blessing in every curse” – Anthon St. Maarten
What is a curse? – It is startling thing to learn that the Hebrew word ‘alah’ with a single letter lamed or ‘lam’ in Arabic and pronounced the same as Allah means a curse- the two words having the same three letters ‘aleph, lamed and heh’ with ‘Allah’ having two letters lamed or lam. A few other words like ‘meerah, kalah or Greek word katara also mean curse but the degree of strength of the word differs for each. Curse is taken to mean as an opposite to blessing and both have an inherent power to carry itself into effect. A prayer is directed towards God for fulfillment of a wish that the seeker desires for self or someone else. On the other hand a curse is always for someone else and is directed towards supernatural forces, both good and evil, to cause the desired damage. A curse using evil forces would be against the will of God since God never desires ill of anyone though allows this to happen without intervening to stop the same. Eventually God uses every situation for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
Magic and spells are different from a curse and are carried out using supernatural beings to carry out individual’s wishes and African voodoo, Tantric mantra chants using various items to carry the spell are examples of these. Forces of darkness are harnessed by such individuals to control others against their wish are a common occurrence in some parts of the world and have their origin from Satanic cults or organizations. However, the individual practicing such evil deeds eventually falls prey to such forces and gets used to fight the forces of Righteousness. It is presumed that the material used to carry the magic spell will find its intended target on its own and is released into the stratosphere by the enchanter. The only example of a curse being used by God is seen in the use of a flying scroll moving over the whole land but directed against the thief and those swearing falsely and that it will its intended victim by entering his house (Zechariah 5:1-3).
Curses in some deity’s name – Curses or spells are cast by invoking the powers of darkness of some deity to cause harm to the intended victim. Goliath had been challenging Israelites for forty days demanding to fight any one of their warriors to decide the battle between the two armies in the valley of Sokoh or Sukoth. When David stepped out to face him with a sling in his hand and his staff, Goliath came charging at him and he “cursed David by his gods”. The undeserved curse never had any effect and David killed him by shooting a stone at him using his sling. The curses invoking such powers are supposed to possess the capacity of self realization and cause the intended harm.
The event recorded in the Old Testament about the efforts of Balaam son of Zippor to inflict harm on the Israelites camped in the area by using Balaam to curse them is well known (Numbers 22-23). A curse is presumed to carry an inherent capacity to become effective in the life of the intended victim under the power of the forces of darkness. Holy men do possess the power to bless as well as use the power of God to pronounce punishment on someone deserving of that. Every problem, sickness or disease, however, cannot be said to be due to a curse only. Many a time God permits evil forces to invade our lives to trest our faith and to help us grow strong in our love and obedience to God.
Can a curse be pronounced on anyone? – King Solomon has very clearly mentioned that an undeserved curse will not fall on an individual who does not deserve to be cursed (Proverbs 26:2). In the first twelve verses of this chapter there is much talk of fools and their actions and verse 2 would also thus be termed as a foolish thing to curse an undeserving person. As per Hebrew translation ‘as a bird is wandering aimlessly and lands nowhere, so the causeless curse shall not reach its destination’ and in the margins it carries a note opposite to ineffectiveness “to him” thereby implying that an undeserved curse will return to the sender. A similar theme is mentioned also in verse 27 about a person digging a pit falling into it or rolling a stone getting crushed under the same stone. A wicked person and his fate is describes for he “loved cursing, so let it come on him, as he did not delight in blessing, so let it be far from him. As he clothed himself with cursing as with his garment, so let it enter his body like water, and like oil into his bones” (Psalm 109:17-18). Thus a wicked person who uses evil forces to inflict any form of curse or harm to someone cannot remain aloof from the effects of the same curse. However, someone who deserves punishment due to any reason will definitely suffer harm and one example is of prophet Elisha cursing the boys who jeered at him calling him baldy and chasing him after his teacher Elijah’s lifting up into heaven. Elisha turned on the boys and cursed them and immediately two bears came out of the woods and mauled to death 42 boys.
Undeserved curses will not cause any harm to the intended victim and the most famous example of this is of use of prophet Balaam by Balak to curse Israelites, who were camping in the area. Balak offered a large sum of money to Balaam who disobeyed God to come to help Balak. When he climbed the mountain top to curse the Israelites he “spoke what God put into his mouth” (Numbers 22:38) and said “Balak the king of Moab has brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of the east, saying, come, curse Jacob for me. How shall I curse someone whom God has not cursed? How shall I defy whom the Lord has not defied? For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him; these people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations. Who can count the dust of Jacob and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous and let my end be like his!” (Numbers 23:7-10)
Nehemiah motivated his people while repairing the walls of Jerusalem when they were being cursed by their enemies all around by telling them about the futile attempts of Balak to curse Israelites (Nehemiah 13:2). Moses also used the same even to bless his people using the same example (Deuteronomy 23:5). Another example is of Goliath cursing David in the name of his gods ineffectively and suffering death at his hands (1 Samuel 17:43). Shimei, a relative of King Saul cursed King David during the rebellion of Absalom, invoking destruction and death on David but the curse did not cause any harm and David emerged victorious (2 Samuel 16:5;12).
Deserved curses have inflicted punishment and the curse of Prophet Elisha on the boys is one such case. Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command about the forbidden fruit and the resultant curse affected the two and the whole humanity through them (Genesis 3). After the death of Uria, the husband of Bathsheba, with whom King David had sinned, Nathan the seer, was sent by God to curse David. David’s repentance before God saves him from death but the son born of this sin died (2 Samuel 12:10-14).
How does one deserve and escape from a curse? – Our disobedience and sins open the door for Satan to enter and exert control over our lives. God desires to bless us with a life of abundance in everything and issues warnings also to us to remain in a position of blessings. God listed out various blessings for mankind in the first 14 verses but also warned His people about the curses that would befall them in case of their disobedience verses 15 to 68 (Deuteronomy 28). God protects us with a wall of fire around us but we step out of His protective shield through sin and rebellion to allow the forces of darkness to cause harm. “God is light and in Him there is no darkness” (1 John 1:5-7) and when we have been granted permanent access into the presence of God by Lord Jesus through the torn curtain that separated us from the Holiest section. In His presence the evil forces cannot come near us to inflict any harm.
Lord Jesus became a curse by dying on the cross to take upon Himself all our curses (Galatians 3:13) and by coming before His throne of mercy to repent of our sins and seek forgiveness, we are absolved of the same and door to Satan is closed. Moreover, the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit equips us to resist the Satan at every stage from the seed of thought getting planted to its taking root and commission of a sin or omission of a good deed. It is for this reason that Apostle Paul warns us to “not give any foothold to the devil” (Ephesians 4:27) where the Greek word ‘topon’ is translated opportunity or a foothold. In the same verse word used and translated ‘do not’ is ‘didote’ and carries a double negative thus changing the meaning to “Never give any opportunity to the devil”. We deserved hell but in turn through faith and belief in the Lord Jesus, we have been transported into heaven while being here on earth and also thereafter. We can lose this blessing through our own deliberate actions or ignorance.
Cancelling a curse – We live in world where everyone wants immediate results for everything, including vengeance on others. There are open advertisements in the newspapers calling the jilted lovers to try these “experts” to control the other person through use of these powers of cultic tantric mantras or designs. But we get saved firstly, as a believer in the Lord our inherent protection saves us from any such attack from the evil forces. Balaam had to concede this one fact to Balak “How can I curse someone whom God has blessed? How can I defy someone whom God has not defied? And finally accept that “no magic spells or divination can affect the house of Jacob” (Numbers 23:7-78 & 23). Secondly, Lord Jesus while sending the disciples equipped them with power to face and defeat the evil forces and to heal (Luke 9:1). The presence of the Holy Spirit in us protects us and enables us to fight and defend ourselves from any curse. Thirdly, we as believers are to humble ourselves before our Lord and submit to do His will and He then promises to lift us up (James 4:7-10). Such submission then blesses us with direct intervention from God on our behalf and the battle no longer remains ours. When God is on our side who can ever stand against us to fight.
Apostle Paul provides us another mighty weapon to fight evil to “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). Satan is shamed by our good deeds and when our attitude is of blessing those who attempt to harm us, God provides us with protection through His Spirit. Lord Jesus set the best example for all the world by seeking Godly pardon for His persecutors by saying from the cross “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. We also must follow His way by not only forgiving such people ourselves but also invoking God’s blessings on them by praying to God to bring them into the Light of the World- our Savior Messiah. Fifthly, “Rejoice always and with prayer and supplication make your requests known to God with thanksgiving” (Philippians 4:4-6) and in this see God’s power working for and on our behalf.
Our battle gear is provided by God for us and the weapons available are strong to protect us and help us stand against the wiles of the devil, his principalities and powers of darkness operating in spiritual wickedness. These weapons with us are – truth girded around the loins; breastplate of righteousness; feet covered with the Gospel of peace; shield of faith to quench the fiery darts of the wicked; helmet of salvation through Lord Jesus and the sword or the Holy Spirit contained in the Word of God. Added to this is the power of prayer and perseverance in faith in the promises of God (Ephesians 6:11-18). An example of application of the Word of God is to read the promises of Psalm 91 through applying it on self “I and my family stand in the…..”
Our prayer should be -Father we seek your blessings in the name of our Savior Lord Jesus Christ to forgive us for our sins and cleanse us from anything that I have knowingly or in ignorance allowed the devil to enter our lives. In the mighty name of Lord Jesus I cancel every curse or divination done against me and my family. I also pray to You Father to forgive them who have done this evil against us and show them Your Light. I thank You Lord that those curses will no longer operate against any of us from this moment onwards. All forces of evil operating those curses against any of us stand expelled from near us in Your mighty name and power Lord Jesus. AMEN and AMEN!!