Bible Study # 4
A BIBLICAL STUDY ON BLESSINGS AND CURSES:
Numbers 6:24-26 ““The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”” (NIV)
Many people don't realize that blessings and curses are powerful and effective. According to the Scriptures we can bring a blessing or a curse upon ourselves by our words and/or our actions; we can bless or curse other people and we can also be blessed or cursed by others. We can also, of course, be blessed or cursed by God.
In the beginning God blessed His creation, and although believers and unbelievers alike still enjoy many of these common blessings today (rain, sunshine, food etc.) we live in a fallen world as a result of Adam's disobedience. Adam sinned and brought a curse upon himself, his children and this beautiful planet God created for our benefit and enjoyment.
Yes, it is true: our whole world suffers as a result of the Adamic curse - the animals, plants, the weather, the water and the very air we breathe. We live in a cursed, fallen paradise. There is one exception: after the Flood God said that He would never again curse the ground because of man. (Ge 8:21)
God originally intended that everybody should enjoy eternal, abundant, fruitful, healthy, happy and peaceful lives. Instead we are afflicted with bloodshed, sickness, famine, hardship, depression, barrenness and death (to name a few examples).
The good news is that all is not lost, because once we become reborn children of the Living God we experience His forgiveness and will consequently be blessed with eternal life, joy, peace and a sound mind. God will heal our emotions, our shattered lives and our relationship with Him.
The main principle behind blessings and curses:
God will bless those who are obedient to Him by accepting His Son, Jesus Christ as their personal Savior with eternal life. Once we have accepted Christ we need to confess and repent of our sins. If we fail to do so we will move out from under God's protection. We will give the devil and his minions a legal foothold in our lives and they may then 'legally' target and attack us.
People who never accept Christ as their Savior will live and die under the Adamic curse. If they are good, honest, loving and caring people they can still enjoy many blessings here on Earth, though. The opposite is also true - evil people will reap the consequences of their evil actions - in this life as well as in the next. It might not always seem as if they're living cursed lives: they might be rich, healthy, powerful etc., but this doesn't mean they're blessed. Curses work in strange ways. The devil will always demand his pound of flesh.
(Note: If we as Christians fail to confess and repent of our sins we will not lose our salvation, but God will remove His hand of protection over those unconfessed and unrepented areas of our lives. We will have to suffer the consequences of our actions.)
Specific blessings/curses mentioned in Scripture:
The Bible mentions specific blessings or curses which are connected to certain acts or attitudes on our part:
Examples of specific blessings:
- God will help those in trouble if they show concern for the weak; (Ps 41:1)
- someone who doesn't associate with wicked people but enjoys meditating on God's Law will be
prosperous; (Ps 1:1)
- those who are poor in spirit will go to heaven; (Mt 5)
- people who are meek or humble will inherit the earth; (Mt 5)
- the merciful will receive mercy; (Mt 5)
- the pure in heart will see God; (Mt 5)
- peacemakers will be called God's children; (Mt 5)
- believers in Christ will find rest after death (* eternal salvation); (Re 14:13)
- those who bless Israel will bring blessings upon themselves (Nu 24:9).
* (Italics mine)
Examples of specific curses:
- if one should betray a friend for financial gain one's children can become cursed with blindness;
- Anybody who undertakes to rebuild the fallen city of Jericho will do so at the cost of their eldest and
youngest children's lives; (Jos 6:26);
- Those who curse Israel will bring curses upon themselves; (Nu 24:9)
- all those who worship idols, dishonor their parents, try to rob their neighbors of their property, mislead the blind, have sex with animals, sleep with their father's wives or commit incestuous acts with their sisters or half-sisters and commit murder or accept bribes to kill someone will be cursed with hunger, defeat, disease, oppression and infertility wherever they go; (Deu 27:28)
- in Biblical times people who cursed their parents were to be put to death; (Ex 21:17)
- those who pervert the Gospel of Christ will be cursed with eternal condemnation;
- if we put our trust in others or trust in our own strength instead of trusting God, or if we turn away
from God we will not prosper and our lives will become lonely wastelands; (Jer 17:5) and
- since no-one is able to do all that God's Law requires of us, anyone who relies on the Law for their salvation will bring a curse upon themselves. Fortunately Christ set us free from the curse of the Law which leads to spiritual death. (Gal 3:13)
Generational blessings or curses:
Sin puts us under a curse which will affect our descendants up to the fourth generation. If, for instance, a person's great-great grandfather was an unrepentant adulterer he would have given demons a legal foothold in his life and in the lives of all his unborn children up to the fourth generation after him. Said person would then be affected by the unconfessed and unrepented curse.
Demons would have received the right to tempt and harass any of his descendants. Should any of them give in to similar temptation the children of the new offender will also be cursed for the following three or four generations until it is confessed and broken in the Name of Jesus.
(Occult practices, divorce, incest and other sexual perversions, wife or child battering, adultery, poverty and unbelief are possible examples of curses which could be handed down from generation to generation.)
Although the Bible doesn't specifically mention generational blessings, there are references made to it. One example is that God blessed Abraham's children and made them into a mighty nation. The Book of Psalms teaches that the children of God-fearing people will be blessed and that they will inherit the land (Ps 115:14 and Ps 25:13)
Being blessed or cursed by ourselves or others:
People can bless or curse one another or themselves as well. Jesus taught us not to curse others, but instead to bless those who curse us. He would never have bothered to tell us this if curses and blessings weren't truly effective.
Blessings or curses originate in our minds. If we harbor unforgiveness, resentment or bitterness towards other human beings, or if we are jealous of them or covet what they have, we might intentionally (witchcraft) or unintentionally end up speaking curses over their lives.
In Biblical times a curse could be put upon a married woman by a priest if her husband suspected her of being unfaithful to him. Such a curse would only affect her if she was guilty since undeserved curses have no affect on people (Pr 36:2). This is an important point to remember: no curse can affect us if we abide in Christ and do God's will. If we don't harm others, they cannot harm us.
It is also possible for a person or an animal to accept a curse in someone else's stead. A Biblical example is the case where Jacob's mother told him that, in the event of his father Isaac cursing instead of blessing him for what he was about to do, such a curse would then fall on her (Ge 27:13). The Israelites also had a custom of having their sins put upon a goat. Said scapegoat would then be released into the desert, having made atonement for the sins of Israel. (Le 16:10)
Jesus became our scapegoat - he made atonement for our sins and broke the Adamic curse over our lives.
Anyone who curses God or misuses the Name of the Lord will not be held guiltless. The third of the Ten Commandments forbids us to misuse God's Name. In Biblical times those who cursed God were stoned to death.