The Course, and Cause, and Kinds of Curses (Part 1 of 2)

  1. Forces from a Different Dimension 

We live in a physical world ruled by laws all of which are not physical.  Some time ago, a very worried priest wanted audience with me over strange crises in his marriage.  As we talked, he recalled that the ancestor of his lineage is said to have warned or cursed that none of his descendants should marry from the clan that his wife had come from; that anyone would suffer specified consequences if they did.  But that was in the dismissible distant and inconsequential past.  All the same, he had noticed with unease that some of his kin, who had also defiantly or otherwise married from that neighbourly clan, had experienced the related concerns in their marriage, some of those concerns ending sadly in divorce.  It was like the diseased pointing finger that one denied but could not hide.  Was his marriage being targeted by forces from a different dimension?    

The Bible provides answers to that question and more; insights on curses and how some of them are activated.  We shall presently consider three basic kinds of curses and how they come upon people and upon places:

1) pronounced curses

2) inherited curses

3) attracted curses

  1. Pronounced Curses 

A pronounced curse is one that is uttered from the lips of the one who administers the curse, and might be heard or unheard by the target of the damnable pronouncement.  That was the kind that erratic Prophet Balaam was hired by King Balak to inflict upon the migrant nation of Israel (Numbers 22:6, 22; Joshua 24:9).  Those sojourners, far down in the valley, would never have heard Balaam making his utterances from the hills overlooking them.  Their not-knowing would have made little difference to the potency of that curse if God had not intervened in the way He did for those innocent migrants (Numbers 22:5-6; Deuteronomy 23:4).  Had God not intervened, how might they have sought to reverse a woe whose source was unknown? It will appear that distance in time and space does not mitigate in these matters.  That the target is far or the time has been long is secondary to the power of a curse (1 Kings 1:2:27).

  1. The Course of a Curse 

Like the consecrating oil that drips down from the high priestly head (Psalm 133:2), and like blessings, curses usually come from top down, from a higher to a lesser person, from a master to a servant, from a parent to a child, from a priest (of God or Satan) upon a person or people or place (Genesis 9:24-26; 28:1; 47:10; 49:28; Hebrews 11:20-21; Numbers 6:23; Deuteronomy 32:1; 2 Samuel 6:20; 2 Chronicles 30:27; Luke 24:50-51).  Sometimes, however, as an act of divine justice and retribution, a curse could flow up from a victim to their cruel oppressor (Exodus 22:22-24; Judges 9:19-20).  In other words, whereas the common course of a curse is usually from up to down, some causes could course the curse the other way up.

  1. The Cause of a Curse 

The first curse in the Bible was apparently pronounced by God against the serpent that had deceived Eve, or was the instrument of that deceit: “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed …” (Genesis 3:14).  Man sinned, but God did not curse man, or did not do so directly.  Rather, the ground was cursed on which man worked.

In the Bible, the curse on the serpent was the first, and the curse on the ground at the instance of fallen man, the second (Genesis 3:17).  It should be noted, furthermore, that God did not pronounce judgment until He had heard from or addressed all the parties in that case: the man, the woman, and the serpent.

As suggested by the ‘because’ in God’s sentence against the serpent, curses do not usually come without a cause (Proverbs 26:2).  Their legitimacy and potency is often in their cause, which is why sometimes an enemy might deliberately stir a provocation so as to create a cause for inflicting a curse: “Because thou hast done this…”  The breastplate of justice and right living frustrates desperate curses (Ephesians 6:14).  Only God knows how many times it has saved you, for “who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?” (1 Peter 3:13).  All evil arrows are not necessarily averted by prayers, but much more by right living, which is why we do not always know the many battles from which we are saved.  Balaam could not curse Israel because there was no cause.  Their report card at the time read thus: “He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.”  In apparent desperation, the hired curser announced, “he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it” (Numbers 23:20-21).  O Lord, grant unto us the blessing than no curser can reverse.  Amen.

Where provocations fail, sometimes the enemy could resort to tricky transactions.  That was how Esau lost his birthright.  It was paid for by someone else.  The gateway could be a gift accepted, a gesture allowed, a consent given, a trust broken.  “Because thou hast done this…”  Father in Heaven, help me to never give my enemy a cause for their evil.  In Your mercy, save us ever.  Amen.

From The Preacher’s diary,
December 20, 2022. 

to be continued

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