Hear Derek explain three more sources of curses and give unusual examples of how curses have played out in the lives of people. “Don’t have the impression that Satan has no power!” he said. “But take refuge in this glorious fact that Jesus has given His disciples power over all the power of Satan.”
It’s good to be with you again, sharing with you precious insights out of Scripture that have made the difference between success and failure in my life and can do the same in yours.
This week I’m continuing with the theme that I commenced last week, “From Curse to Blessing,” a theme that has the power to change the whole destiny of your life.
Yesterday I spoke about two specific causes of curses that I found to be common. The first was persons with relational authority—persons such as husbands or fathers or teachers or pastors—who, by virtue of their position have authority over others and can at times speak words against the person over whom they have authority, which words have the effect of a curse over that person’s life. And I gave the example of Jacob unwittingly pronouncing a curse on his wife Rachel, who had stolen her father’s household gods. Jacob didn’t know that and when he was accused of the theft, he said, “Whoever has stolen your gods, let him not live.” and the next time Rachel gave birth to a child, she died in childbirth. That was the outworking of a curse.
And I gave also examples of self-imposed curses, where people pronounce curses upon themselves. I pointed out how Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “If a curse comes upon you for deceiving your father, let it be on me.” I pointed out that she never saw her son alive again and that by the end of the chapter that records that, she was weary of her own life, a typical indication of somebody under a curse.
Today I’m going to share three further causes of curses, all of which I have encountered many times. The first is persons representing Satan—persons supernaturally empowered, not by God but by Satan, persons who have cultivated the evil power of Satan in such a way that they can release it in the lives of others. We call such persons by various names, of which here is a sample: witch doctors, wizards, witches, sorcerers, mediums, clairvoyants, fortune-tellers, false prophets, and so on. Now, the Bible clearly states that all who practice such things are detestable to God. Listen to what Moses said to Israel in Deuteronomy 18:10–12:
“Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord...” (NIV)
Notice the list of things. I’ll just pick out some: divination, that’s fortune-telling; sorcery; interpreting omens, that could be teacup reading; engaging in witchcraft, which is very wide; casting spells; a medium; a spiritist; or one who consults the dead. “Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord.” Furthermore, those who resort to such persons expose themselves to satanic influence. Here’s one example from the Bible of such a person—what we would call a “witch doctor”—Balaam.
Israel had arrived at the borders of their inheritance, they were camped thee on the borders of the territory of Moab. Balak, the king of Moab, was extremely frightened. He knew he could not defeat these people in war so he resorted to a very typical practice in the Middle East today and in various other nations. He called for the witch doctor, the sorcerer, whose name was Balaam. And he asked Balaam to curse this people of whom he was afraid, whom he could not defeat in war. And so this is what he said in Numbers 22:5–6:
“Look, a people has come from Egypt. See, they cover the face of the earth, and are settling next to me! Therefore please come at once, curse this people for me, for they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.” (NKJ)
Let me tell you that that’s typical practice amongst primitive tribes in Africa, even to today. If they go out to war against one another, they don’t go straight to battle. First of all, they get the witch doctor to pronounce a curse on the opposing tribe because once they are under a curse, they believe they’ll be able to defeat them.
Now some people would regard this as an empty superstition but I want to point out to you that God did not regard it that way. On the contrary, He took it very seriously and He intervened sovereignly to prevent Balaam cursing Israel and to change the curse into the blessing. And this is what Moses told Israel later, in Deuteronomy 23:4–5:
“...[the Moabites] hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. Nevertheless the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam, but the Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loves you.” (NKJ)
God took it so seriously that He stood against Balaam and turned the curse into a blessing. You see, the Bible never says that Satan has no power, that’s a mistake. The Bible clearly teaches that Satan has supernatural power, but Jesus promised His disciples superior power. In Luke 10:10, He says:
“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy [the enemy is Satan], and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (NKJ)
Don’t have the impression that Satan has no power! But take refuge in this glorious fact that Jesus has given to His disciples power over all the power of Satan. Now I want to illustrate the reality of this by a few examples from personal experience.
I was for five years a principal of a teacher training college in East Africa, training teachers for African schools. One of my students from a remote village told me this story. He said in the village two families quarreled and became very bitter against one another. So one family sent for the local witch doctor, gave him a goat as payment and said, “Put a curse on the other family.” And he said, “All right.” He took the goat, went away and he said, “I’ve put a curse on the son of the other family, the little son, and at midnight on a certain day a jackal will cry in the village and when the jackal cries, the son of that family will die.” And it happened exactly that way! A jackal cried and the son died. That was the outworking of a curse. It has power.
I think of another story. A friend of mine, a pastor of a church, in order to raise funds for the church some of the members organized what they called a Garden Fete. And they had all sorts of entertainments and attractions to amuse people. And one of them was a fortune-teller, which they regarded simply as a joke. So the pastor really didn’t feel too happy about this, but he went along with the plan and he went into the fortune-teller’s tent to have his fortune told and the fortune-teller said to him, “Your wife will get cancer.” He told me afterwards his blood ran cold and his heart almost stopped beating. And do you know what happened? His wife got cancer. Praise God! Through prayer and faith and the help of doctors, she was ultimately healed. But you see, that man had unwittingly exposed himself to a curse from a servant of Satan which affected his wife.
Let me give you another experience of my own. In Chicago some years back, I was pastoring a church. A lady came to me and told me that she had been a spiritist medium, that she wanted deliverance. I was somewhat skeptical, but I began to pray with her and to drive out the power of Satan from her life. It was very hard going and in the middle I stopped and rested for a few moments and suddenly she looked at me and she said, “I see you in a car and it’s wrecked against a tree.” And I realized that was Satan’s destiny for my life being pronounced through the lips of that woman. Thank God I was on the alert. I said, “I’ll never be in any car that will be wrecked against a tree. I reject that curse. It has no power over me.” And I was free. But if I had said, “Oh, I’m going to be in a car and it’s going to be wrecked against a tree,” I would have accepted that curse and it would have worked out in my life.
Now, another cause of curses is soulish prayers, utterances and gossip. Listen to what James says in chapter 3, verses 14–15:
“But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.” (NKJ)
You see, people can talk against one another and even pray against one another and in doing so, if they are not in the realm of the Spirit, if they are in the realm of the soul, if they are in bad and evil emotions, the effect of their prayers is a curse.
I was in a church some little while back where there was a group of people connected with the church actually praying for the death of the pastor’s wife. What’s that? It’s a curse. The result: it was the result of bitterness and hatred and division in the church.
You see, we can kill people with our tongues. Do you realize that? In Jeremiah’s day, the people who opposed him said this in Jeremiah 18:18:
“Come and let us devise plans against Jeremiah... Come on and let us strike at him with our tongue, and let us give no heed to any of his words.” (NAS)
Do you know that many servants of God have died through being struck by the tongue of gossip and soulish utterances and prayers? That can be the source of a curse.
Finally, one other source: unscriptural covenants, by which people commit themselves to persons who are themselves committed to false gods. God said through Moses to Israel: “You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods” (Exodus 23:32 NKJ). If you make a covenant with people who are in false religions and worshiping false gods, not only do you make a covenant with the people but you make a covenant with their gods.
And now let me give you one example to close. I say this with care. Freemasonry is an example of such a secret society and it brings terrible curses upon the people who are involved in it. I’ve seen this working out in the lives of family members: retarded children, paralyzed children, broken homes. I must stop now.
Our time is up for today. But I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this same time. Tomorrow I’ll explain in specific practical terms how you may pass from curse to blessing.