In any society anyone who is ex-communicated by his community, village or state is deemed to be cursed. Expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden was a similar situation and thereafter the whole human race was affected. Such expulsion occurs because of any violation of the rules of that community and the two first residents suffered for that. The Son of God became man to suffer with us and then as Redeemer lead us out of the cursed life. Every believer through faith in the work of the Lord, becomes a citizen of His kingdom but that brings in the responsibility of obedience to the rules of the same kingdom. Can we violate those rules and still enjoy the benefits of that status?
Difference between a blessed and a cursed life – God is love and He would never want to hurt or harm any of His children and before creating man, this same loving God created all that he would ever need to live a blessed life and also rejoice in God’s daily visits (1John 4:8). Moses in his last teaching to his people declared about the LORD God, ‘He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without justice; righteous and upright is He’ (Deuteronomy 32:4). God being righteous and just, cannot condone sinful and disobedient living by anyone for He cannot compromise on either of His values.
Adam and Eve were given dominion over everything but they conceded that to the devil through obeying him rather than God who had created and provided all that was there on the earth for them. The spirit of man lost contact with God and man’s soul became subject to the devil. Since in either case the source of a curse from and through the devil and a blessing from God, is spiritual, both are supernatural, unseen and unrecognized phenomena. We keep blaming what is visible and the unseen keeps shifting its base within our bodies, afflicting in different ways continually. Thus blessings and curses are both the result of supernatural power, for good or for evil and till the root is tackled and destroyed, it keeps manifesting from generation to generation. Scientists have termed these as DNA changes and if both parents suffer from diabetes or heart problem or any such disease, the next generation has the highest chance of suffering the same also. But both curses and blessings are results of our own deeds or the actions of our ancestors. Deuteronomy 28 has first 14 verses giving details of blessings for listening to and obeying the voice of God and thereafter 54 verses of curses for disobedience.
Seven signs of blessings and curses:
|1.||Exaltation – lifted up||Humiliation|
|3.||Healthy||Sickness of all kinds|
|6.||Head and not the tail *||Tail and not the head|
|7.||Above and not below*||Beneath and not above|
*Under the circumstances/situations or above; controlled by others or by God defines the last two points.
A curse is generally the flip side of what is considered a blessing. A large family was seen as a great blessing during the Old Testament times but is considered as a curse in today’s times. The indications of blessings in someone’s life are easily recognized and the reason is clear, ‘The LORD was with Joseph and He was a successful man’ and this is about his time as a slave in Potiphar’s house and later years (Genesis 39:2).
The indications of a curse operating in someone’s life are: first, emotional or mental breakdown especially if it is hereditary; second, repeated chronic sickness more so when the doctors can identify no apparent cause. Third, female health issues like miscarriages, barrenness or menstrual problems. Four, marriage breakdown and continuous family relational problems, leading to bitterness and dispute. Five, financial insufficiency and it is not poverty, for that changes after sometime under normal circumstances. Six, being accident prone and frequently suffering injuries to the body. Seven, history of suicides and unnatural deaths in the family.
Thus curses are due to the long evil arm of the past that trips you up when you are just about to get that breakthrough and this has also been so with the parents. An odd single event may be taken as a trial but continuous state of suffering would generally be because of a curse. A curse or a blessing has to be pronounced to make it effective for ‘death and life are in the power of the tongue’ (Proverbs 18:21). During the creation process God said and it came to be and the Son of God also used the same power of the tongue to perform various miracles. In the Synagogue, Lord Jesus found ‘a man who had a withered hand’ and to heal the man of his affliction, Lord Jesus said to him, ‘Stretch out your hand. And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other’ (Matthew 12:10-13). While standing outside the tomb, Lord Jesus called out, ‘Lazarus, come forth’ and the dead man rose to life and walked out of the tomb (John 11:43). Had He not called by name all the dead in the graves would have been restored to life.
Since mankind is created in the image and likeness of God, what we say can cause the mountain of our troubles to move away or convert any state into a curse and affliction. Prophet Nehemiah, while speaking to the people about the Moabites and their effort to curse Israel by calling Balaam, told, ‘our God turned the curse into a blessing’ (Nehemiah 13:2). Balaam could not curse the Jews but instead pronounced blessings on them. God did not curse Adam and Eve after their sin but informed them about the consequences of their sin on each of them and also on the creation (Genesis 3:16-19). The choice before us is to live in God created world as per His rules or disobey Him and face the consequences for we cannot be indifferent to Him in His own world.
The causes of a cursed life – Lord Jesus went to Nazareth, His own town, but ‘He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief’ (Mark 6:5-6). A blessing has to be received by a person first in his heart and soul before it can manifest in his life and the people in Nazareth looked at the Son of God more as the carpenter of their town than a prophet. In like manner, a curse also has to be deserved for ‘like a flitting sparrow, like a flying swallow, so a curse without cause shall not alight’ (Proverbs 26:2). The LORD God asked the woman, ‘what is this you have done?’ not to know about the act but it was an expression of His grief over the consequences of her action of disobedience (Genesis 3:13-19). And then the curse fell on the cattle and beast of the field; woman’s seed and her future generations, on all women about their pregnancy and childbirth, on the ground itself to produce thorns and thistles, that it was not supposed to and on man and his descendants. The curse connected to their sin and landed without any consent of either one for it was deserved.
Moses promised the Israelites that their diligent obedience to the ‘voice of the LORD your God’ will bring on them ‘the blessings’ that will ‘overtake you’ (Deuteronomy 28: 1-2 & 15). He again repeated the same condition ‘because you obey the voice of the LORD your God’ for added significance. Receiving blessings from God simply means to obey His voice or His Word. His warning to all was ‘if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you’. The curses and blessings overtake all aspects of the life of the one affected and his descendants.
The first two commandments from God pertain to worshiping only ‘the LORD your God’, your Creator “Elohim’ and ‘Yahweh’ your covenant keeping God, and none else (Exodus 20:3-5). And the second is about making no carved image of anything to represent God. Any violation of this brings in curses and going to astrologers or any other such fortune teller is also a similar violation, defining our looking towards some other source.
Disrespecting the father and mother reduces the lifespan of an individual (Numbers 20:12). Apostle Paul quoted the same to say that with long life it also is about ‘that it may be well with you’ resulting in a blessed state (Ephesians 6:2-3).
The third reason for a curse is from treachery against your neighbor by bearing false witness against him or by coveting what is his, his house, his wife, his servant or anything that he possesses (Numbers 20:16-17). Four, the command for righteous living includes, ‘open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy (Proverbs 31:9). Failure to do so will bring a curse from God who is righteous and just and abortion is covered under this for an unborn child is defenseless.
Five, unnatural sex or sex with a close relative is prohibited and causes a curse to come on the violator (Leviticus 18:6-20). Seven, Abraham and his descendants are protected by God for He will ‘bless those who bless you and I will curse him who curses you’ (Genesis 12:3). The Israelites and now all believers are the seed of Abraham and protected under this covenant and any act by one against this is inviting a curse.
Eight, anyone who trusts in man more than God and makes man the source of his strength is cursed (Jeremiah 17:5-6). Nine, the prophet was shown by God a scroll listing a curse for a thief and the perjurer (Zechariah 5:1-4). Ten, anyone who is stingy with God about tithes and offerings is ‘cursed with a curse’ and will be afflicted by the devourer over all their work. Eleven, demonic influence causing a curse is through ‘bitter envy and self seeking in your hearts’ (James 3:14-15) for his attitude is demonic and affects a person’s life.
Curses pronounced by man over self and others – First, After conquering Jericho, Joshua, the Israelite commander declared a curse on anyone who rebuilds that city that ‘he shall lay its foundation with his firstborn, and with his youngest he shall set up its gates’ (Joshua 6:26). The effect of this curse was on Hiel of Bethel whose eldest son Abiram and the youngest son Segub suffered for rebuilding of Jericho by their father. Second, Words spoken by persons with relational authority have more power and these are by a father, the spiritual head of the family over his children; a teacher, a pastor or any other spiritual man. A father saying to his child over an occasional failure, ‘you will never succeed in anything’ carries a curse for life. A pastor in America suffered due to this for a long time because despite his extreme care and hard work, he had to shift from one church to another for a job. Albert Einstein, the great scientist as a child, suffered from dyslexia and was expelled from school for being ‘no good’. His mother patiently taught him at home and did not let the curse affect his life.
Self imposed curses – Rebecca prepared Jacob to go to his father pretending to be Esau to receive the blessings of the firstborn (Genesis 27:11-13 & 46). On Jacob’s fear of being found out and being cursed by Isaac, she said, ‘Let your curse be on me’. Later she told Isaac, her husband ‘I am weary of my life’ for Esau had taken as wife a woman of the Canaanites. Due to her self-declared curses, she never saw her son Jacob again and died before his return.
Lord Jesus became man to redeem us from all types of slavery for living under a curse is also a type of slavery only. When we confess our sins in faith in forgiveness through the sacrifice of the Lord on the cross, He is faithful and merciful to offer salvation. Suffering due to the sins of our ancestors, without even knowing the cause, affects almost all classes of society. In the next program you shall see the way of escape from suffering due to curses of any type.