It’s unrealistic to suggest that blessings exist but curses do not. In the same way, it is unrealistic to suggest day is real but night is not. Find out more causes of curses and hear about a tragic curse which stained the pages of human history for nineteen centuries.
It’s good to be with you again at the beginning of a new week, sharing with you Keys to Successful Living which God has placed in my hand through many years of personal experience and Christian ministry.
This week I’ll be continuing with the theme that I commenced last week: “From Curse to Blessing,” a theme which has the power to change the whole destiny of your life.
But first, let me say “Thank you” to those of you who have been writing to me. Before I finish this talk, we will be giving you a mailing address to which you may 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.
Now back to our theme, “From Curse to Blessing.”
Last week I explained that through the sacrificial death of Jesus, God has made provision for us to be redeemed from the curse and to enter into the blessing. The key Scripture concerning this is Galatians 3:13–14:
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus...” (NKJ)
The two key words in that Scripture obviously are “curse” and “blessing.” And in verse 13 actually, the word “curse” occurs three times. “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, >cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’).” And then comes the promise of blessing: “that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus...”
Last week I pointed out that both blessings and curses are absolutely real. They are major themes of Scripture. Both of them occur many times in the Bible. It’s unrealistic to suggest that blessings may be real but curses are not. I compared that to saying, “Well, day is real but night is not.” Or, “Heat is real but cold is not.” If one half of an opposite is real the other half must be real. Both blessings and curses are absolutely real. I said that they are very simply words charged with supernatural power. And when those words take effect in a situation in the life of an individual, in the history of a family, whatever happens along that line, generally speaking, that supernatural power will continue working from generation to generation, from century to century, until something is done to cancel it and revoke it.
Now, I listed last week some common indications that there may be a curse at work in your life or in your family history and I would like you to be thinking in terms, not so much of yourself as an individual, but as a member of a family or some other social group. These are the common indications that I listed and I’ll recapitulate them once more because they are very important. As I go through the list, I’d like you to be checking your own experience, your family background, your family history, and so on.
First, mental or emotional breakdown, or both.
Second, repeated or chronic sicknesses, especially when they are hereditary or without clear medical diagnosis.
Third, repeated miscarriages or related female problems or barrenness.
Fourth, the breakdown of marriage or other form of family alienation.
Fifth, continuing financial insufficiency, especially where the income appears sufficient.
Sixth, being what is called “accident prone,” unnaturally liable to accidents.
And seventh, a history of suicides or unnatural deaths in a family.
Now you think over those indications and apply them to your own life and situations.
Then I also stated the primary causes of blessings and curses and they are very, very simple. The primary cause of blessings is hearing and obeying God’s voice. The primary cause of curses is exactly the opposite: not hearing and not obeying God’s voice.
Disobeying can take many specific forms that bring specific forms of curse. The most serious form of disobedience, the one most certain to bring a curse, is idolatry and worshiping false gods and involvement in the occult.
Today I am going to share two further common sources of curses. The first one proceeds from persons with relational authority. By that I mean that in the way God has ordered human society there are relationships between persons in which one person, by virtue of the relationship, has authority over another person. For instance, a husband has authority over his wife; parents have authority over children; teachers have authority over pupils; pastors have authority over congregations.
Now, we’ll look at some examples. First we’ll turn to a historical example in the Bible in the life of Jacob. Jacob had lived with his Uncle Laban for a long period of time, he had acquired two wives, two concubines, eleven children, and then, without telling his Uncle Laban, he just left. He fled because he was afraid of his uncle trying to hold him back or to take his wives from him. His Uncle Laban pursued him in anger.
Now, what Jacob did not know was that his favorite wife, Rachel, before leaving, had stolen her father’s household gods—the Hebrew word is teraphim, a kind of little idols or images which people would keep in their homes to protect them, to bring blessing and luck, and so on—forms of occult—which Rachel should not have been involved in, let me add. So, Laban follows Jacob, catches up with him, and starts to complain about his conduct. But he comes down finally to this point, in Genesis 31:30. He says to Jacob:
“And now you have surely gone because you greatly long for your father’s house [In other words, ‘I understand that.’], but why did you steal my gods?” (NKJ)
Now, Jacob, not knowing who had stolen the gods, knowing that he had not done it, said this: “With whomever you find your gods, may he not live.” Now that’s a curse. Jacob said it in all innocence. He didn’t know to whom it applied but he was actually, as husband, pronouncing a curse upon his wife Rachel. And the next time Rachel gave birth, which was not much later, she died in childbirth. That’s cause and effect. It was her husband’s curse that caused her death.
Well, we can have other examples of persons with relational authority, as I said, parents. For instance, a father may have three sons—the first one is the firstborn, he’s accepted; the third one is talented, he’s accepted; the middle one has really nothing special to commend him, the father doesn’t like him. Maybe he sees too much of himself in his son. So he’s always against the son and he says, “You’ll never succeed, you’ll never make good in life. There’s no hope for you.” What’s that? It’s a curse. I’ve met many people—people with natural gifts and talents who could not succeed because they were struggling against a parental curse.
Or a teacher may say to her pupil, “You’ll never make good. You’re stupid! You’ll never learn to read.” And what’s that? It’s a curse. Again, I’ve met people struggling against curses pronounced by teachers decades previously in their lives.
Or a pastor may say to a member of his congregation, “If you leave this church, you’ll never prosper. You’ll never succeed. You’ll backslide.” What’s that? It’s a curse.
Then there are self-imposed curses. Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Go and get the blessing from your father Isaac.” Jacob said, “Maybe my father will discover I am a deceiver and curse me instead of blessing me.” Rebekah replied, “Upon me be thy curse, my son.” She pronounced a curse upon herself. If you study the story, Rebekah never saw her son Jacob alive again. She was dead by the time he returned. And we find by the end of that chapter Rebekah is using language like this: “I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth... what good will my life be to me?” (Genesis 27:46 NKJ). That’s typical language of a person under a curse. “I am weary of my life. What good will my life be to me.” Beware of others saying, “I wish I were dead. What’s the good of living.” They are pronouncing a curse on themselves. Make a positive confession: “I shall not die but live and declare the works of the Lord.” Cancel the negative by the positive.
And one final, closing tragic example of a curse which has stained the pages of human history for nineteen centuries. Jesus is standing before Pilate wanting to release Him. He says, “Shall I let Him go?” And the crowds say, “No. Crucify Him!” And Pilate took water, washed his hands in front of the crowd and said, “I’m innocent of the blood of this just man.” The crowd replied, “His blood be on us and on our children.” What’s that? It’s a curse, a self-imposed curse. One of the great tragedies of human history is that the Jewish people pronounced a curse on themselves and on their children and I say with the deepest regret that subsequent history illustrates the outworking of that curse. It’s still at work today. Oh, thank God, that there is provision for release from the curse through the sacrificial death of the Messiah but there is no other way out.
Well, our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this same time. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing still other important sources of curses.