We have all read books or watched TV where curses or spells were uttered in the course of the storyline or the program. But what are curses, are they real and how can they affect us, if they can affect us at all. Are they used by the powers and principalities we have to be aware of as warned against in Eph. 6:10-18.
According to Wikipedia: A curse is any expressed wish that some adversity or misfortune will befall or attach to one or more persons, a place or an object. In particular ”curses” may refer to such a wish or pronouncement made effective by the supernatural or spiritual power, such as a god or gods, a spirit, or a natural force, or else as a kind of spell.
Throughout the Bible we read of many examples of curses, starting in Genesis.
Before we go to the curses in Genesis let’s have a look again at the story of Genesis 1 and 2.
Gen.1, day 6 of creation: male and female were created as spiritual beings in God’s image and likeness, with the mandate to exercise dominion over all what was made. While in Gen. 2 the spiritual beings became flesh. God took dust from the earth and breathed His life into Adam. A rib was taken out of the male, and a female was formed. They were placed in the Garden of Eden (Paradise). Authority and power was given to Adam to cultivate and tend the garden. In the garden they could eat from every tree except from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which was standing in the middle of the garden. On the day that they would eat from that tree they would certainly die.
Gen. 3: Lo and behold, they were confronted by the serpent (satan in disguise) at the tree, who brought God into disrepute, making Him out to be a liar. They listened to the serpent, listened to satan’s lie, they did not take dominion over the serpent, they did not exercise their authority wisely, and thereby ceased having dominion. Death entered in.
After some blame was thrown from Adam to Eve to the serpent; God cursed the serpent (3:14). The serpent was cursed more than any livestock and more than any wild animal. The serpent had to move on his belly and eat the dust off the ground. Feeding on the dust which man shakes off from his foot. In verse 15 we read of the enmity (not really a curse) between the seed of the woman and the seed of satan which continues throughout the whole of the Old Testament; the quest to eradicate the seed of Abraham promised in Gen.17. Abram becoming a Father of many nations, though old age would hinder both Abram and Sarai from having offspring, they believed the promise of Him who is faithful. Sarah conceived and the seedline continued. Many times an attempt was made to kill the offspring of the woman. Think of Moses’ time where all the 2 year olds were to be killed, but Moses was kept safe. And again with Jesus’ birth when the magi came to Herod. Herod, furious after he found out he was outwitted by the magi, gave orders to kill all the 2 year old baby boys in Bethlehem and surrounding region (Matthew 2:16). Jesus was kept safe.
Back to the curse in Genesis.
Gen. 3:17 gives us a picture of the ground being cursed, not by God but by Adam, who did not exercise his authority, as the son of God, against satan. Adam ate of the fruit, gave in to the lie of satan, death entered into the creation. Adam did not subdue his earth, therefore losing his dominion with the result the ground is cursed because of him. Now Adam had to work by the sweat of his brow, work hard, and fight against the brambles and weeds.
“Do what is right, don’t let the flesh overtake you, don’t let it rule over you” was the warning God gave Cain (Gen. 4:8 ), but Cain gave in, did not listen to the voice of God, and killed Abel (4:11), with the result that Cain was cursed, alienated from the ground that opened its mouth to receive his brother’s blood. Cain had to work the ground, which will never again give him its yield. Cain would be a restless wanderer on the earth from thereon.
Many more examples are mentioned in the Bible like Noah, Joshua and Moses (think of the 10 plagues on Egypt) on instruction from God. Moses went to Pharaoh to tell him to let the Israelites who were enslaved to go free. Pharaoh not taking heed of the words of God was the recipient of the plagues, together with all Egyptians.