Today we’ll learn about the basis of different curses. You may be surprised by some of the most common causes of curses, which include: trusting in man rather than God; being stingy; and not fulfilling your purpose in life. Don’t miss it! You can be set free from curses today.
It’s good to be with you again, as we draw near to the close of another week. Our theme this week has been “From Curse to Blessing.” I trust you have found it helpful and inspiring.
If so, please take time to write to me—even if it’s only a brief note. Before I finish this talk, we’ll be giving you a mailing address to which you can write. It means a great deal to me to hear how this radio ministry of mine has been helping you and blessing you. So, please take time to write, even if it’s only a brief personal note. Write today!
Now back to our theme: “From Curse to Blessing.”
Yesterday I explained that there is always a cause for both blessings and curses. In each case, the primary root cause is always simple. For a blessing—listening to and obeying God’s voice; for a curse—not listening to and not obeying God’s voice. I need to say that again: the primary cause of all blessing is listening to and obeying God’s voice. The primary cause of all curses is not listening to and not obeying God’s voice. But from these root causes there spring many different kinds of behavior which are secondary causes of curses. I listed some such causes in my talk yesterday that are stated in Deuteronomy 27:15–26 and I summed them up in four main categories:
First, idolatry, false gods, and the occult.
Second, dishonoring parents.
Third, illicit or unnatural sex.
Fourth, injustice to the weak or helpless and, as a specific contemporary example of the last, I cited the practice of abortion, which is as glaring an example as you could ever find of injustice to the weak and the helpless and which inevitably brings a curse with it.
Today I’m going to share with you some major specific causes of curses revealed in the Bible beyond those which I have already shared. First, I’ll turn to Jeremiah 17:5–6, which states a reason for a curse which most people, even many Christians, have failed to notice and consequently they’ve come under the very curse against which they are warned. This is it:
Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, And shall not see when good comes, But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, In a salt land which is not inhabited.” (NKJ)
Let me say that that picture of the shrub in the desert is typical of a curse. Blessing goes all round, others prosper, others succeed, but the person under a curse is like a shrub in the desert who never sees when good comes. Now what is the cause? It’s very simple: it’s trusting in man and, first and foremost, remember you are man. It’s trusting in yourself, making flesh your strength, or you’re relying on your own natural ability, cleverness, education, whatever, and in doing so your heart departs from the Lord. This brings a curse. This is the reason why many individual Christians and even more—many churches have lost their blessing because they started in the grace of God, they started with supernatural blessing and anointing, supernatural faith. They had supernatural conversions, supernatural power to overcome evil, to lead lives of godliness and then had gone back to just plain human morality, organization, education, whatever. Now none of those things are wrong, but to trust in those things brings anybody, whether it’s an individual or a church, under the curse of God.
Paul dealt with the same theme in Galatians 3:1–3:
“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” (NKJ)
That’s the essence of the problem—beginning in the Spirit and the level of God’s supernatural grace and ability and then going back to relying on our own carnal efforts: morality, education, cleverness, programs, finance, whatever it may be. And if you follow Paul’s teaching in that third chapter, you get to the place in verses 13 and 14 that we have referred to many times where he speaks about the curse and the blessing. In other words, going back to legalism, to works, to seeking to achieve righteousness with God by your own efforts, brings you under a curse. I think that’s a major problem of countless Christian denominations and organizations today. They are under a curse and they don’t know what they are struggling with or what the cause for it is.
And then again in Zechariah 5:1–4, the prophet had a vision of a flying scroll with a curse on either side of it. The curse on one side was for stealing, the other side was for perjury. And in his vision he saw this scroll going into people’s houses and taking up its place in their houses and as a result the houses disintegrated—they just rotted, they fell apart. Again, that’s typical of what a curse does. It just destroys everything around it. But notice two cause for curses: stealing and perjury.
And then again in Malachi, the prophet deals with another thing that brings a curse on people. In Malachi 1:14:
“But cursed be the deceiver Who has in his flock a male, And makes a vow, But sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished..” (NKJ)
What’s the cause of the curse there? You’ve promised God to do something, to give Him something and then you draw back on your promise and you are stingy with Him. That brings a curse. Let me tell you, dear friends, don’t be stingy with God! When I see people put miserable sums in church offerings, I just ache for them. They’re being stingy with God, they’re bringing a curse upon themselves. Let me tell you this very gently: God doesn’t need your tips! If all you are going to put in the offering is a tip, you’d better not put anything.
And then in Malachi 3:8–10, Malachi returns to this theme:
“Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation.”
What brought a curse upon them? Being stingy with God, withholding the offerings due to God. And then Malachi tells them the remedy:
“‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And prove Me now in this,’ Says the Lord of hosts. ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.’” (NKJ)
There’s the antithesis. The cause for the curse is stinginess with God. The cause for the promised blessing is being generous, being liberal with God. Why should we deny ourselves the blessing? Why should we come under the curse of stinginess in our dealings with God when He has so freely promised us His blessing if we’ll just be open and generous with Him?
And then I want to give an example of a curse pronounced by a man representing God. The man is Joshua and it’s pronounced in Joshua 6:26. After the destruction by Israel of the city of Jericho, this is what Joshua said:
“Then Joshua charged them at that time, saying, ‘Cursed be the man before the Lord who rises up and builds this city Jericho; he shall lay its foundation with his firstborn, and with his youngest he shall set up its gates.’” (NKJ)
Now people might have forgotten that; centuries passed; about 500 years later in the history of Israel a certain man named Hiel of Bethel did the very thing against which Joshua had pronounced a curse: he rebuilt Jericho. This is what it ways about him in 1 Kings 16:34:
“In the days Hiel the Bethelite [‘in his days,’ that’s the days of Ahab] Hiel the Bethelite built Jericho; he laid its foundations with the loss of Abiram his first-born, and set up its gates with the loss of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which He spoke by Joshua the son of Nun.” (NAS)
Notice, this man did what Joshua had put a curse upon. In the power of God he rebuilt Jericho, it cost him the lives of his two sons. Words that had been spoken 500 years earlier resulted in the death of those two young men. Can you picture the doctors of the day analyzing the death of these two young men? What would they discover? Would they understand that it was due to words spoken by a servant of God 500 years before? Can you see how we are often wrestling with things in our lifetime of which the cause may go back many, many centuries?
And then one final example of a curse is Jesus and the fig tree. He went to a fig tree looking for figs to eat. He found none because it was not the season for the figs and He said, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” That’s all He did. He just spoke to the tree. Some people would consider it crazy to speak to a tree, but He spoke to the tree. But let me tell you this, the tree felt the impact of what Jesus said because a little later on in the same passage it says:
“Now in the morning, as [the disciples] passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter, remembering, said to [Jesus], ‘Rabbi, look! The fig tree which you cursed has withered away.’” (Mark 11:20–21 NKJ)
That’s powerful! Jesus didn’t lay His hand on the fig tree, He didn’t take an axe to the fig tree, but in the Spirit of God, He spoke words charged with supernatural power and within 24 hours, those words caused the fig tree to wither. That’s the power of both curses and blessing. They are words charged with supernatural power. And they are the source of many things that happen in our lives.
Well, our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again next week at this same time, Monday through Friday. Next week I’ll continue with this theme, “From Curse to Blessing.” If you’ve come to see this week or even to suspect that there may be a curse over your life, it’s most important that you tune in again to this program because next week I’ll be explaining to you in a very clear and practical way how you can be released from the curse and enter in to the blessing. After all, why should you endure a curse when God has made provision for you to enjoy a blessing?
If for any reason you will not be able to listen next week, then I urge you to write at once for the special offer which I am making with this radio series.