Chapter 3 – What Is A Curse?
A curse: to utter a wish of evil against someone, to utter or call for mischief, or for injury that can cause one to fall, to vex or arrest, all meant to bring people into great calamities.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary (which used the KJV to explain it’s definitions)
Have you ever wondered why things go certain ways in your family? Have you ever wondered why certain things happened in your childhood? Or why cancer keeps showing up every generation in one family line but not others, or why alcohol or drug abuse keeps afflicting good people? Or how about why somebody is retarded? Why do we have such continuing violence in our family; and why do we seem to always want to get even? We claim things like, “I could never forgive you,” and hold onto our unforgiveness toward others for years. We could go on and on about problems. But we want to get to the solutions.
Have you ever wondered why weeds grow in your garden?
And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Obviously curses exist today. They are the fruit of disobedience and double-mindedness (Deuteronomy 28:15-29; James 1:6-8, 22). Curses were well known in the Old Testament. For example, Balaam was hired by King Balak to curse God’s people (Numbers 22:6). God cursed not only the serpent, the ground of Adam, and the capacity of Cain to grow anything at all, but he also cursed the woman in childbearing (Genesis 3 and 4).
Do curses exist still today? Well, do women still anguish in childbirth? Do men still have to sweat to make a living? In fact, why is it that women in many modern cultures even find it necessary to work to help with family finances? Are neglected, television baby-sat latch-key children the product of a family living under the blessings of God or under a curse in their alienation from God? Are fathers or mothers who abandon their families a blessing or a curse to them and their future generations?
The Power of Words
Notice in the examples of curses on Balaam and Adam, on Cain, and on other men and women, that the curses were delivered through words. Statements were made involving words. You see, words transmit spiritual power. God Himself used words to create the universe. When words are spoken by a being that has spiritual authority, the words they speak carry power. Of course, when God speaks, things happen! But realize also, that when we speak words from God, things happen also. This is how miracles are done in the name of Jesus Christ.
Just as the Holy Spirit brooded upon the waters, and then moved when God spoke the world into being, so does the Holy Spirit move as we speak words from God. Angels also help, as noted in Hebrews 1:14; ministering spirits are to help carry out the words of God spoken by believers. But oppositely, when a being with spiritual authority speaks evil, for example a curse, those words authorize devils (evil spirits), to exercise power against the object authorized by those cursed words. A drunken father, for example, who curses his children does more than just speak evil words. He literally authorizes devils to act upon those words that he has spoken because he has authority over those children.
The Bible says that curses remain with mankind all the way through the Bible, even up to the last chapter in Revelation.
And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
The Bible also declares that Jesus Christ became a curse for every man, and that He hung on a tree for our curses.12 How can it be that curses still exist among Christians and non-Christians alike, yet Jesus’ accomplished work on the cross set us free from curses?
We will explore this question more fully in chapter five. But the short answer is that Jesus Christ certainly did handle our curses. But like all of His works, each one must be received by faith. For example, I Peter 2:24 declares that by His stripes, we were healed. We already were healed of every sickness, disease, bruise, and infirmity. So why are so many Christians sick? For the very same reason they continue to labor under curses: they have not learned to receive by faith the deliverance that Jesus authorized us to freely take for ourselves.
Let’s take a look at how this often affects believers today. Believers frequently forget to consult God when they are sick or injured. They immediately go to a doctor or a hospital, or perhaps their medicine chest. Yet God said that by the stripes of Jesus Christ they were healed, and that His will is that all believers be healthy and prosperous. Jesus taught the twelve and then the seventy to heal and cast out demons, and declared in Mark 16 that all who believe shall heal the sick. In spite of all this, believers run to the doctor first instead of to God’s solution first. This is certainly idolatry of the first order!
So the believer consults with the doctor who diagnoses a sickness or a horrible disease. Because the believer’s faith is so completely hinged on the words of the doctor instead of on the words of the Lord, the doctor’s words often become an article of faith to the believer. God commonly changes the “facts” of a condition as the believer begins to step toward Him in faith. But having shown little faith at all in God from the very start, the believer is usually so overwhelmed by the medical “facts”, that whatever faith they had for their healing is completely undermined.
What has happened? The words spoken by the medical professional became a curse. The dire diagnosis is, in fact, a prophecy which, when received in faith, gives authority to the words spoken. This is how a word curse works. Words are spoken, which give authority to devils such as fear, doubt, worry, cancer, and all kinds of sickness and disease.
Are all medical professionals bad? Of course not. They are handy for when our faith is weak. We all experience times of weak faith as human beings, so if you have been through a time such as this, don’t condemn yourself. Just get bigger in your faith the next time! God permits doctors because of our unbelief. But in having weak faith we get on such thin spiritual ice that devils have a ball manipulating our faith and emotions. This gives enormous authority to ravage God’s children!
Remember, satan was stripped of all his authority when he sinned against God. So where does he get his authority to work against God’s people? From the ones who have it – God’s people! How do they give it to him? Through their own words and unbelief. Remember again, words transmit spiritual power. Even when those words come from other people whom we trust, such as doctors, when those words are heard and believed as “fact”, they gain authority over us. How did these words get authority? By putting our faith in them as “fact.”
As the believer repeats the news of his or her malady, the “facts” gain even more authority with each repetition. Remember the Shunammite women of 2 Kings 4 whose son died in the field? She immediately went to find the man of God, Elisha, declaring “it is well” instead of reinforcing satan’s authority with faithless “facts.” She knew that Elisha had the faith and the authority that she needed, and that God was not bound by the “facts” of her son’s death. She refused to curse herself with words that gave authority to satan to make the death of her son into a permanent condition.
God turned the whole situation around by raising the boy back to life. Here’s how this worked: the Shunammite woman gave her authority to Elisha, who spoke the revelation that God gave him. Upon speaking those words, spiritual power was released, and the boy arose alive.
Jesus Christ said to the Pharisees that every idle word spoken by people will require an accounting. They will be judged by their words, and by them, condemned.
Matthew 12:36 and 37
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
Thus, with the privilege of speaking words comes the necessity to speak them with caution. We must, at the very least, refuse to give satan authority to use the power of cursed words against ourselves or others; words that provide authority for evil spiritual attack against others.
God does not bring curses upon mankind to be mean or get even! Man brings them upon himself by willful disobedience or ignorance of God’s Word. The choice is ours.
In the next chapter we will discover God’s antidote to satan’s curses, and how they work. How wonderful God is to enable each believer to walk in the deliverance and continuous blessings that are available in Jesus Christ.
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
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