This teaching includes a free sermon outline to download for personal use, message preparation or Bible study discussion.
Now the theme for my talk—and there will be two talks, one following the other, both on the same theme. The theme is “Release From the Curse.” And this contains truths which God has been teaching me largely, I would say, in the last five years. Truths which have revolutionized my own life and the lives of countless other people to whom I’ve been privileged to minister this truth. In some areas where I’ve ministered, when I have asked people at the end of the message if they want to avail themselves of what God offers through this truth, I would say ninety-five percent of the people have responded. And we have seen the most dramatic changes in people.
I remember speaking in Zambia in central Africa several years ago now. I taught this theme and at the end a man came up to me, and Africans are basically not wealthy, but he was a well dressed, educated man. He threw himself on the ground at my feet and would have kissed my feet if I would have allowed him to. Then he stood up—and he was probably about forty years of age—and he said, “All my life I’ve been in pain and I’ve been miserable. I haven’t known one happy day.” But he said, “Since I prayed that prayer with you, everything has changed in me. I’m totally free from pain, I’m a different person.”
So, this is a message that has power. It’s appropriate to turn to Galatians 3:13–14 as a basis for this message. 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 every one who hangs on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
Those verses reveal an exchange that took place when Jesus hung on the cross. It states in the Old Testament in the book of Leviticus that anyone who dies by hanging on a tree is a curse. And so when Jesus hung on the tree that was the cross He became a curse. What took place was a divinely ordained exchange which is clearly stated in these verses. Jesus took upon Himself the curse, every curse, due to us that we might be redeemed from the curse and enter into the blessing which God has prepared for His people. So there is a very simple practical exchange. Jesus became a curse that we might receive the blessing.
In order to make this real to you I invite you to join with me in saying that. And I’d like you to use your hands; your left hand for the bad thing, your right hand for the good thing. Watch me once and then we’ll do it together. “Jesus became a curse that we might receive the blessing.” Okay? Now remember, your left hand is opposite my right so don’t get confused by me. And don’t hit your neighbor on the nose but just do it tactfully! Are you ready? “Jesus became a curse that we might receive the blessing.”
What I’m going to do now is explain to you the nature of curses and blessings. These are two major theme of scripture. I think the word bless in various forms occurs about 600 times in the Bible. And the word curse probably nearly half that number of times. But I have learned by experience that most of God’s people are not really familiar with the nature of curses and blessings. I believe it’s the purpose of God that through the redemption of Christ we should be released from curses and enjoy the blessings. But wherever I travel I find many of God’s people who are enduring curses when they should be enjoying blessings. One main reason is they don’t know how to recognize what’s a curse and what’s a blessing.
The second reason is that even if they recognize it they may not know how to be released from the curse and entered into the blessing. So let me begin by offering you a simple definition of blessings and curses. Both of them are vehicles of supernatural power. It’s very important to understand we’re not dealing with something that’s purely natural. It goes beyond the natural. They are vehicles of supernatural power for good if they’re blessings, for evil if they’re curses. And one characteristic feature of them is that very frequently they’ll continue on from generation to generation. Often until somebody knows how to cut them off if they’re curses. The result of that is that many people—and some of you are here tonight—are enduring in your life consequences of things that may have taken place many generations ago. And you have to trace your problem to its source and take the appropriate action in order to be released.
Now, the vehicles of blessings and curses are usually words. They may be words that are spoken, words that are written or simply words that are pronounced inwardly. However, both curses and blessings can be transferred or transmitted by objects, by physical objects. So it is not always just a question of words. To take a very simple example: In the communion that we celebrate as Christians, Paul says the cup of blessing which we bless is it not the communion of the body of Christ? So, through that cup, which is a physical object with the wine in it, God transmits to us a blessing.
In the Old Testament there were various examples of curses transmitted by objects. But particularly under the Law of Moses, if a woman was accused of being unfaithful to her husband there was a specific test. The priest would take her to the tabernacle, write out a curse and then wash off the words of the curse, the ink, into a cup of water. And the woman would be compelled to drink the water and pronounce the curse upon herself. If she was innocent nothing would happen to her. Her husband would never be free to accuse her again. But if she was guilty there would be disastrous physical consequences in her body. I merely give that as an example of a curse transmitted by something that is physical. In that case, a cup of water.
Now, I have come into this truth by personal experience. I hardly ever preach on anything that is mere abstract theory. Nearly everything that I ever taught has been related in some way to things that have happened in my life. This is particularly true of this message. I want to give you three personal incidents that gradually alerted me. I didn’t come into this just in one moment, it was a gradual process of unfolding truth. And I think God supervised my education by permitting me to have certain experiences and deal with certain cases that opened my eyes to these things.
Going back to the end of the l960s when I was living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with my first wife Lydia, I had inherited from my maternal grandfather various Chinese pieces of art and culture. The way that came about, just as a matter of history, is that my grandfather who was an officer in the British Army was the officer commanding an expeditionary force that the British government sent to China in l904 to suppress what was known as the Boxer Rising or the Boxer Rebellion. And he returned with various items that he’d acquired in China. In due course, through my mother, some of these passed by inheritance to me.
Among them were four gorgeous embroidered dragons, each one on a separate piece of material. I mean, the colors were gorgeous. I learned from somebody who knew a little bit about Chinese culture they were Imperial Dragons because they had five claws. Ordinary dragons just have four claws but Imperial Dragons have five claws. And I really was very close to my grandfather so these meant a lot to me. When we set up house in Fort Lauderdale I had these four dragons framed on our living room wall. But after a while the Holy Spirit began to trouble me. Have you ever been troubled by the Holy Spirit? Do you know what we do first? We shrug it off and we say that’s nonsense, He wouldn’t do that. Anyhow, the Holy Spirit would say to me, “Now, in the Bible what does the dragon represent?” Well, I knew the Bible well enough to be able to know the answer to that. The dragon represents the devil very clearly in Revelation 12:9 and so on. Well, then He would say to me, “Is it appropriate for you as a servant of Christ to have on the wall of your living room something that advertises the devil?” Well, you know, I struggled with this for a little while and I said, “All right, God, you win. I’ll get rid of the dragons.” And I did.
Now, I didn’t do that with any motive except obedience to God. But the results were quite remarkable. Up to that time I had been just getting by financially. I traveled and preached and received honorariums. And they covered our needs but we had no real surplus. Also, there were certain strange things happening even in my family. I was finding it difficult to communicate with my wife. Then I was entitled to an inheritance from my parents, a very substantial sum of money, and because of various irresponsible acts by other people the inheritance was interminably held up. Now, I just got rid of the dragons but I began to realize that my whole level of prosperity had changed. I didn’t do anything different but the next year my income doubled without my making any changes.
Then I received the inheritance, it was released. And my first wife and I were able to purchase a house which was a rather big step of faith for us but we felt very clearly directed by God to purchase that house.
Now I’m not just preaching prosperity because, I mean, I think that has to be very carefully qualified. But prosperity with a purpose. We moved into that house, we lived in it for nine years and we sold it for more than three times what we paid for it. With the money that we obtained my second wife Ruth and I were able to build a home in Jerusalem—which is very expensive. God provided the finance through the sale of that house. That was not something we had planned. I didn’t have any conscious intention, but I realized that a dark evil force had invaded my home through those dragons. And until that force was expelled and dealt with I could not go on in the fullness of God’s plan for my life and ministry.
One interesting thing was I didn’t even know what God had for me that I was being kept from, you see? I’ve seen this is true in many peoples’ lives. When people are dealing with a curse they don’t know what they would be like to be freed from the curse. They can’t picture it.
Well then a little later I was ministering in a church, a Presbyterian Church somewhere in what they call the Midwest of the United States. I had finished my message and I was standing behind the pulpit. I didn’t quite know what I was going to do next and I saw a family on the front seat on my left: father, mother and teenage daughter. And as I looked at them I felt the Holy Spirit said there is a curse over that family. I hadn’t preached on that, I wasn’t thinking about that and I didn’t quite know what to do about it. So I just waited and it came very clearly again “there is a curse over that family.” So I stepped up to the father and I said, “Sir, I believe God has shown me there’s a curse over your family. Would you like me to release you from it in the name of Jesus?” I really had no experience, I was just moving out in faith. He immediately said, “Yes.” I learned later from him that there had been so many disastrous things happening in his life and in the life of his family that he accepted the fact there was a curse. Then I prayed a short simple prayer out loud releasing the family from the curse. When I said “In the name of Jesus”, there was a visible, physical reaction in each member of the family, although I was not touching any of them. So I stepped back and then I noticed that the teenage daughter had one leg in a cast from the top of her thigh to the bottom of her foot. So I went back and said, “Would you like me to pray for the healing of your daughter’s leg?” He immediately said yes but he said, “You ought to know she’s broken the same leg three times in eighteen months and the doctor said it will not heal.” Well, if I heard that today that somebody had broken the same leg three times in eighteen months I wouldn’t really doubt that there was a curse in operation, but it was new to me. I said, “All I can do is just pick the leg up in my hands and say a simple prayer”, which is what I did.
A few weeks later I got a letter from the man thanking me and saying specifically that when they went back with the daughter to the clinic to have the leg x-rayed, the x-ray showed that it was healed. And very shortly afterwards the cast was taken off.
But as I meditated on that I realized this: That the curse which God had showed me over the family was a barrier to the healing of the daughter’s leg. Until the barrier was removed, prayer for the healing of her leg would not be effective. And this is a principle that I’ve seen now hundreds of times that a curse over a family or over an individual can be an invisible barrier that keeps away the blessing that God intends those people to have. In my case through the dragons it was the blessing of financial prosperity and release to God’s will. In the case of this girl the blessing was the healing of her broken leg but the curse was the barrier.
After that I began to teach on this and I made some tapes, including a series of three messages called “Curses: Cause and Cure.” And these began to circulate and I began to get remarkable testimonies of what was happening not just to individuals but to whole congregations. One of the sets of three tapes found its way to South Africa. And a little later Ruth and I were there ministering in South Africa, we were in Capetown, and we encountered a Jewish lady who had met the Lord Jesus and acknowledged Him as her Messiah and her Savior. She told us firsthand this story, we got it straight from her. She was what they call an executive secretary, very highly qualified. She had a very well paid job with a man who was the president of his own firm. After a little while she discovered that the president and all the executives in the firm were in a strange cult under a lady guru. Then the president asked her if she would type out some blessings that this guru lady had pronounced on the executives. When this lady began to type them she realized that they were anything but blessings as far as Christians were concerned, so she went to her boss and said, “I’m sorry but I don’t feel free to type these blessings.” The boss was gracious, he said, “I’m sorry. If I had known it was against your conscience I wouldn’t have asked you to do it.” That was the end of that.
Now we have to supply something by inference. But I am sure that the lady guru heard about this secretary that wouldn’t type her blessings. And who knows what she did? She may have prayed or she may have pronounced a curse. But from that source it really wouldn’t make much difference which it was. Within a few weeks this lady secretary, I’ll call her Miriam—it wasn’t her name. Miriam’s fingers began to go stiff and curl up and set and in a short while they were extremely painful and she couldn’t bend them. She said you wouldn’t believe the pain. She had to sleep in a separate bed from her husband because any time her husband turned over and the bed shook the pain was unendurable in her fingers. She went to a specialist who X-rayed them and said it was rheumatoid arthritis. She was, in a sense, a crippled person.
Another lady, a Charismatic lady, had received these three cassettes of mine and felt that this lady Miriam ought to hear them. I don’t think Miriam was really very excited about them, she was a rather sophisticated lady and I think the thought of curses was something remote and medieval in her eyes. Anyhow, this other lady prevailed so they sat and listened to the three cassettes. And at the end of the third cassette I lead people in a prayer by which they release themselves from any curse over their lives. At the point where the prayer began, the cassette jammed. It wouldn’t go forward, it wouldn’t go back and it wouldn’t eject. That is not purely natural. So Miriam said, “Well, then I can’t say the prayer.” This indefatigable lady said, “Oh no, I have the prayer typed out! I’ll bring that.” So she persuaded Miriam, I think rather against her own judgment, to read this prayer. Now, you could read the prayer within three minutes, it wouldn’t take as much as that. So Miriam just dutifully read the prayer and in between the time she began reading the prayer and the time she finished, her fingers and her hands were totally released. There was no trace of arthritis. She went back to the doctor, he confirmed medically the healing.
What I want to emphasize is this. She was not praying for healing. It wasn’t in her mind. She was simply releasing herself from a curse. But when the curse was broken there was no more reason for sickness, you see? Another example of the invisible barrier.
Now I want to deal out of scripture with the forms that blessings and curses take. There is one particular chapter in the Old Testament which deals exclusively with blessings and curses. How many of you know which it is? Deuteronomy 28. All right. It’s got fourteen verses of blessings and fifty-four verses of curses. Now, we can’t go into that because of time but I suggest if you’re concerned, that at your own convenience you study that chapter carefully. I’ve studied it many times and I’m going to offer you my summation. But please exercise your own judgment as to whether you think this is accurate or not.
Here is my summation of the main blessings and the main curses. As a fatter of fact, really, they’re exactly opposite to one another. Here are seven blessings. Number one, exaltation means being lifted up. You’re no longer living under things. Number two, a word I had to coin, reproductiveness. I couldn’t find one normal English word. But a person who is in the blessing of God is fruitful in every area of his or her life. Number three, health. Number four, prosperity or success. Number five, victory. Number six, Moses said you’ll be the head and not the tail. And number seven, you’ll be above and not beneath.
When I was studying that some years ago I asked the Lord what’s the difference between the head and the tail. I feel He gave me a simple answer. The head makes the decisions, the tail just gets dragged around. So which way are you living? Are you making the decisions? Are you in charge of the situation? Or, are you simply being dragged around like a tail by circumstances and forces that you don’t understand and you can’t control? If you’re a tail it’s very possible you’re under a curse.
I’m not saying every one of those blessings is due to this cause but that’s for you to discern. There’s only one expert in this field and his name is not Derek Prince. It’s the Holy Spirit. He’s the one who has to show you personally. I can preach the general truth but you have to get the specific application from the Holy Spirit.
Then let’s look at the curses, and they’re just exactly the opposite. Humiliation, failure to reproduce or barrenness. I would say basically barrenness is nearly always in some way associated with a curse. Number three, sickness of every kind. And if you read Deuteronomy 28, I mean, there is no sickness that is left out by the time you’ve come to that list. Number four, poverty or failure. Number five, defeat. And number six, you’re the tail and not the head. And number seven, you’re beneath, not above. You’ve probably heard about the two Christians who met. One of them said, “Well, how are you doing, Brother?” And he replied, “Well, under the circumstances I’m not doing badly.” And the first Christian said, “Well, what are you doing under the circumstances?” You should be above and not beneath.
Over the years, independently of this list, I made a little list of indications that to me alerted me that I was probably dealing with a curse. I only say probably. And I made this independently of Deuteronomy 28 but it’s amazing really how close it is. I happen to have a list of seven. I want to be very clear I’m not saying if you have one of these it’s absolutely sure you’re under a curse. You need to examine the possibility and seek God. But if you have several of them, the more you have the greater the possibility that you’re under a curse.
Here’s my little list. Number one, mental and/or emotional breakdown. Where people fall apart, that’s a phrase that’s used today. They say he or she just fell apart. That’s what I’m talking about, emotionally, mentally or both. Number two, repeated or chronic sicknesses. Especially if they’re hereditary because, you see, curses pass from generation to generation. Also, in situations where doctors cannot find any normal cause. Number three, what are called female problems. Barrenness, a tendency to miscarry, and problems with menstruation. Ruth and I have dealt with so many cases like this that wherever a person comes for prayer in that category, we just simply act on the basis that it’s a curse. In fact, we have come to the place where we really feel often we’re wasting our time to minister to the sick without first teaching them how to be delivered from the curse.
We once called for a line-up of people with female problems and in the middle of the line was a man! So when he came up I said, “What’s your problem? How can you have a female problem?” He said, “My problem is depression, and that’s female!” However, I didn’t accept his statement.
The next one, a breakdown of marriage and family alienation, where families fall apart, where marriages break up, where children are alienated from their parents, brothers from sisters. Very, very probably a curse at work. The next one, financial insufficiency. I want to be careful how I say this. I don’t think that poverty for a short period—it may be a test that God is putting us through. But if you’re always short, if you never have enough, if you’re always scraping, I think you very probably are under a curse. Then the next one is what they call accident prone. In other words, you’re one of the people that always has an accident, you know? This is kind of objective because insurance companies will check on you and they’ll give you a higher premium if they classify you as accident prone. I mean, that’s not natural to be the person who always breaks your ankle when you step off the curb or your wife always slams the car door on your finger or whatever it may be. Or, it’s always your eye that a little bug flies into. I mean, it’s not natural if it’s always going on.
And then finally, in a family a history of suicides or unnatural deaths. If there’s a frequency of those things in a family.
Let me just very quickly go through that again. Mental and/or emotional breakdown, repeated or chronic sicknesses—especially when they’re hereditary, female problems, breakdown of marriage/family alienation, financial insufficiency, accident prone and in a family, history of suicides and unnatural deaths.
Now, that doesn’t cover everything. So I try to give also what I call a general picture because there are lots of things that could be the result of a curse that are not in that list. And this is what I’ve come up with as a result of dealing with many different people. You could say a curse is like a long evil arm from the past. And you don’t know how far back. It’s stretched out and every time you’re just about to succeed or get to where you want to be, this evil arm trips you up and you have to get up and start again. You get so far and you’re tripped up again. And that really becomes the story of your life. You’d be surprised how many people have told me stories like that. And so many times they said, “Well, the same thing happened to my father or my grandfather. In other words, it seems to run in our family.”
Or, another simple picture is a dark shadow from the past over your life, shutting out the sunlight of God’s blessing. You can see other people walking in the sunlight and you know it’s there and real, but somehow the sun very seldom seems to shine fully on you. So, if any of those apply, you need to be seeking God as we continue with this message for the Holy Spirit to show you what your particular need or situation or problem is.
In Proverbs 26:2 the writer of Proverbs makes a very important statement. He says:
“Like a flitting sparrow, like a flying swallow, so a curse without cause shall not alight.”
In other words, if there’s a curse there’s always a cause. There’s something that caused it. My experience is in helping people that very often it’s helpful and sometimes necessary to discover the cause before you can deal with the curse. I’m going to take now some time to deal with Biblical causes of curses. It will be quite a lengthy subject, it will go beyond the present session into the next session.
Let’s go to Deuteronomy 28 for what I would call the primary causes both of blessings and curses. And fortunately they’re very simple. The first two verses of Deuteronomy 28 says this:
“Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come upon you, and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God.”
That’s a translation which I think is followed by most modern translations, but the Old King James used to say “if you will listen diligently to the voice of the Lord your God.” And in Hebrew, that phrase is formed by repeating the word listen. If you will listen listening—that’s emphatic—to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what He says. So very, very simply the primary cause of all blessings is listening to God’s voice and doing what He says.
Now the primary cause of all curses is exactly the opposite. In verse 15 of the same chapter:
“But it shall come to pass, 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.”
So what’s the cause of curses? Not listening to God’s voice, not doing what He says. So there basically you have the two root causes. The cause of blessing: listening to God’s voice, doing what He says. The cause of curses: not listening to God’s voice, not doing what He says. I want to tell you right now that if we later minister in this series and you are released from a curse, in order to remain in the blessing you will have to fulfill this condition: you’ll have to listen to God’s voice and do what He says. If you go back to not listening and not doing, you’re liable to come under a curse again.
There are also in the Bible a number of different sources and specific causes for curses. We’ve dealt with the general one, now we’ll deal with some specifics. The first source of curses—and this may surprise some of you—is God Himself. There are many curses in the Bible which God Himself pronounces. Probably one of the most common forms of God’s judgment on disobedient people or nations is to pronounce a curse on them. And then as the curse is worked out, that’s the outworking of God’s judgment. Do you understand that? God both blesses and curses.
So we’re going to deal, first of all, now with curses that proceed from God Himself. And there is one supreme cause which is stated in Exodus 20:3–5. This is the first part of the Ten Commandments. Let me say before we read the greatest and most common cause of curses in peoples’ lives is breaking the first two commandments. In fact, I’m inclined to believe you cannot break those commandments without coming under a curse. Now let me read those words.
“You shall have no other gods before me.”
But the Hebrew means just as much beside me. It’s not a question of having the Lord as the main god and other gods as well. He says, “I am the Lord and beside Me there is no other god.” So, you must not acknowledge any other god except the true God.
And the second is what we would call idolatry.
“You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: You shall not bow down to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.”
Notice that’s the specific feature of a curse, it goes on for at least three and probably four generations. Think of the billions of people on earth all of whose ancestors worshiped idols for countless centuries. Think of the pile-up of curses that there is. Travel in Southeast Asia. In my opinion it’s scarcely worth ministering in Southeast Asia if you can’t deal with the subject of the curse because basically ninety-five percent of all the people there are under a curse. That’s not to say that they’re bad people. I think they’re wonderful people. But there’s something from the past, you see.
It’s very important to see that having another god besides the one true God includes every form of occult practice. I cannot take time this evening to go into all the possible forms of the occult, because they are almost countless. But whenever you go to a source other than the true God for things which you are free only to seek from the true God, whatever source you go to you are actually making your god. So, if you go to a fortune teller for information about the future which God has said you shall not receive through that channel, through that fortune teller you’re making the power behind that fortune teller your god. You play with a Ouija board. If you get involved in all sorts of occult experiences of cults that deny the truth of the Bible. In all those things you are making a god who is not the true God. So, it’s very important to say this, the curses pronounced for the breaking of the first two commandments cover every form of occult.
Now, the Lord says up to the fourth generation. You do a little arithmetic, go back four generations. Every one of us has thirty ancestors. How many of us can say for sure that none of our thirty ancestors were ever involved in the occult? Maybe a few of us can, I don’t know. I certainly couldn’t.
To give you a very simple example of this. A good many years ago I was in a typical home prayer meeting which was the kind of thing that was going on in those days. I just found myself next to a young man of about twenty or so. I said to him, I suppose the Holy Spirit prompted me, “Have you received the Holy Spirit?” He said, “Yes, but...” And whenever a person answers that question yes but, you know what the but is. “But I don’t speak in tongues.” And it seemed to me he really wanted to speak in tongues. I wasn’t trying to force him. I didn’t argue with him but the Lord prompted me, I said, “Did you ever go to a fortune teller?” He thought and he said, “Yes, once when I was about fifteen. But I only did it for a joke, I didn’t mean anything by it.” I said, “You did go.” He said yes. I said, “You know, God forbids that kind of thing.” He was a little reluctant to acknowledge that but he did. I said, “May I lead you in a prayer in which you confess that as a sin and release yourself from its consequences?” He said all right. I think he only said it because he just wanted, you know, to get me off his back. So I led him in a very simple prayer, “Lord, I confess as a sin that I went to that fortune teller, et cetera.” I didn’t say another word to him, put my hand on his shoulder and prayed for him. He immediately began to speak fluently in an unknown tongue. In a few moments he was just lost. You see, there was an invisible barrier that kept him from the freedom of tongues. What was it? The occult. It’s just a simple example.
Now in Deuteronomy 27:15–26 we have twelve curses pronounced and when Israel went into the Promised Land they had to pronounce all these curses upon themselves. If they disobeyed the Law they automatically came under these curses. They couldn’t get into the Promised Land without. I think it’s very much the same in a way when we come into a relationship with God, if we’re obedient we come under the blessings but if we’re disobedient we’re in real danger of coming under the curses.
I’ll just give you my little summation of the things on which the curses are pronounced in Deuteronomy 27:15 and following. Number one, once again, idolatry, false gods. That’s always at the top of the list. Number two, disrespect for parents. And this is repeated in the New Testament, Ephesians 6:
“Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise, that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
My personal conviction is any person who does not honor his parents never will have it well with him, never. I can think of scores of examples of people. That doesn’t mean you can’t get saved, speak in tongues and go to heaven when you die. But there will be something missing in the quality of your life until you adjust your relationship with your parents. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with your parents or do everything that they say, but you have to respect them.
I think of another young man I dealt with. He had a very bad relationship with his father. His father was dead, buried in a cemetery more than a thousand miles from where we were. When this truth really penetrated he took a journey of a thousand miles to the cemetery where his father was buried, went to the grave, knelt at it, confessed his wrong attitudes to his father, wept his heart out and got up a different person. And from then the course of his life changed. I know that there are lots of parents, especially today, you have a lot of reasons for having something against them. I understand that. I say there are no delinquent children, there are only delinquent parents. Nevertheless, if you want to have it well with you you better do what God says. You can’t afford not to.
Then the next, and we must go quickly, in this list is treachery against a neighbor. The book of Proverbs says whoever rewards evil for good, evil will never depart from his house.
And then injustice to the weak or helpless. Personally, I can’t think of anything more weak or helpless than a baby in its mother’s womb. Personally, my conviction is anybody who deliberately procures an abortion comes under a curse. I would never minister to such a person without dealing with the curse. I want you to understand I’m not saying you’re cursed forever, please understand. I’m telling you the problem because I’m going to show you the solution.
Then elicit or unnatural sex, especially incest. And again, I don’t know what the particular figures are here, but in the United States it’s now estimated that one out of every four girls under ten has been sexually molested and one out of every five boys under ten. I cannot think myself that it will ever happen without a curse following it.
We’re going on from this list, Genesis 12 we have God’s call to Abraham. We need to look at that because it has something significant in it. God calls Abraham out, promises various things, and in verse 3 this is the end of the call. He says to Abraham:
“I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you.”
So there’s both a blessing and a curse. I believe that was necessary because whenever God singles out a man to be blessed, that man becomes the object of all sorts of evil satanic forces. So God incorporated a protection. He said to Abraham, “Anyone who curses you, I will curse.”
Now we won’t go on but in Genesis 27:29, that protection is extended by Isaac to Jacob in his father’s blessing.
“Cursed be everyone who curses you, Jacob.”
So you’ll see that line is Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which became what nation? Israel, that’s right. And what is the generic name for cursing or speaking against or abusing the Jewish people? Anti-Semitism. In my personal opinion, Anti-Semitism almost invariably is followed by a curse for an individual, for a nation. And if you look at the history of the last nineteen centuries, you see nation after nation after nation that came under a curse because they cursed the Jewish people. Ruth and I have a very good friend who is a Palestinian Arab born in Haifa, an American citizen who had a dramatic encounter with Jesus some years ago. I led him into the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He was a millionaire at the time. After he was saved, listen to this, he became bankrupt. He had the sense to say, “God, what are you telling me?” God said, “I’m dealing with your pride.” But God also showed him something, that he and all his ancestors had regularly cursed the Jewish people. And believe me, I’ve lived amongst the Arabs in Palestine. It’s normal, they all do it basically, with a few exceptions. God showed him that if he would change that attitude he would restore his blessing. He repented and asked God to give him love for the Jewish people. And he is a Palestinian Arab who is more pro Israel than most Jews. And he’s now a multi-millionaire. See? How important it is to discover the causes that are at work in your life.
Then there’s another very important curse pronounced in the prophet Jeremiah which is just a few short words, and I think often we pass them over without really appreciating their significance. Jeremiah 17:5–6:
“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.”
Notice please that that’s a very good description of somebody under a curse. Blessings are all around but he lives in a salt land. Rain falls everywhere else but it doesn’t fall on him. What’s the cause of that curse? Trusting in man, making flesh your arm. But the scripture says whose heart departs from the Lord. In other words, here is a man who’s known the supernatural grace and blessing of God and then turns back to relying on his own efforts. Turned his back on God’s grace. And that brings a curse.
I ask you to exercise your own judgment. But I would say that’s the condition of the greater part of the professing Christian church today. Almost all the major movements in the church that we know of today, and I will not name any, began out of a sovereign supernatural visitation and work of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise they’d have never made it in history. But most of them today, I would say, have turned away from the supernatural grace and power of God and have started to rely on their own efforts and what their own strength and ability can do. And on that count they are under a curse. I think that’s one tremendous problem with the Christian church, that whereas we should be in the blessing, because of disobeying Jeremiah 17:5, we’ve come under a curse.
I’ll go quickly now, in Zechariah 5:1–4, Zechariah had a vision of a flying scroll and there was a curse on each side of the scroll. One was a curse on anyone who steals and the other was on anyone who commits perjury. And in the vision this scroll would go into a person’s house, take up lodging there, and the whole house would disintegrate. See, that’s the nature of a curse. It doesn’t just affect the particular area but it has a kind of corrosive effect all around it. So we need to consider that. Next time when—I’m sure you do fill in an Income Tax Return—just bear in mind that if you are dishonest you’re exposing yourself to a curse. Because I’m sure you have to say this is a true return, et cetera, et cetera.
You know that at least in the United States nearly ten percent of the cost of retail goods is due to insurance against theft. Just think of how different the situation would be if people didn’t steal. Basically, that would be the answer to inflation. Can you see how real that curse is? That it affects a whole nation.
And then in Malachi 3, I think we have to look at this. Malachi 3:8–10:
“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. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be fruit 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 you out such a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”
Now I’m not teaching all Christians ought to pay tithes. Because as I understand the New Testament it’s not law, it’s grace. But I would suggest to you that grace should make us more generous than law. We’re told we have a better covenant established on better promises. Do you think on that basis we could offer less than the Israelites? But I’ll say this one thing. Stinginess toward God brings a curse. It is very poor economy to be stingy with God. And I tell Christians everywhere when the offering comes around, God does not need your tips. Really, if you stop and think for a moment, just to tip God half a dollar or a dollar or fifty pea or whatever it may be, don’t do it. You don’t have to give but you are giving to God. Actually, as I said, He does not need your tips. There’s such irreverence in the church in this matter of giving. We should realize that giving is part of worship and do it as worship. I’d have to say I’m British right to the core. About my own nation Britain, I think Britain came under a curse because the British Christians basically were stingy. Now, I thank God that’s changing. I think there’s a new day coming in Britain. I’ve lived through that. I was a pastor for about nine years in England. The motto of the church board in England is “You keep him humble, we’ll keep him poor.” And they certainly keep their side of the bargain!
And then in Galatians 1, here is another tremendously significant statement that affects the church. Paul is speaking about the gospel that was revealed to him supernaturally by Jesus. And he says in Galatians 1:8–9:
“Even if we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let it be accursed.”
The Greek word there is anathema which has been taken over into the English language. The word anathema means something so totally abhorrent to God that He will never have any dealings with it. It’s totally shut off from Him. What is the cause of that curse? Preaching anything under the name of the gospel which is not the truth of the gospel. When you put Jeremiah 17:5 and Galatians 1:8–9 together and apply them to the contemporary church, I think it’s marvelous there’s any blessing left. And you add Malachi 3, cursed is the one who is stingy with God.
Brothers and sisters, do you know what we need to do? We need to repent. We need to change our ways, we need to take God very seriously. There are a lot of different definitions of faith but I’ll offer you just a very simple one. Faith is taking God seriously. Taking the Bible seriously.
We’ve come to the end of this particular period. Let me briefly, if I can briefly, sum up the main causes of curses which we’ve looked at. First of all, false gods: idolatry and the occult. And that is right at the top of the list before any other. And then disrespect for parents, treachery against a neighbor, injustice to the weak or helpless, illicit or unnatural sex or incest, Anti-Semitism, depending on flesh rather than the grace of God, stealing or perjury, stinginess toward God, and perverting the gospel: preaching a message which claims to be the gospel but misrepresents it.
I was five and a half years in the British Army during World War II. And I heard many, many quote, chaplains preach. I didn’t know the Lord and I didn’t know the gospel when I went into the army. I met the Lord in the army. I cannot remember hearing one chaplain preach the gospel. So this is a tremendous issue that confronts us.
Now, we have to close this session but we’ll be continuing in the next one. I’ll be carrying on where I left off. I’ll be dealing with other causes of curses. Then we’ll come to the really important part which is how to be released from the curse. So may I ask that you remain in a prayerful attitude. That doesn’t mean you have to not talk to your neighbor but don’t let the anointing which is on you right now be dissipated because God has got a lot for you. He’s got a lot for many people here tonight. Don’t cheat yourself out of it. Maintain an attitude that qualifies you to be released from the curse and receive the blessing.