1. CHRIST REDEEMED US FROM THE CURSE OF THE LAW
Gal. 3: 13a: Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us-
2. OTHERS MAY CURSE US
Certainly, there are those who curse others: Goliath cursed David:
Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. He looked David over and saw that he was only a boy, ruddy and handsome, and he despised him. He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. (I Sam.17:41-43 ).
Abishai cursed David, the Lord’s anointed:
As King David approached Bahurim, a man from the same clan as Saul’s family came out from there. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he cursed as he came out. He pelted David and all the king’s officials with stones, though all the troops and the special guard were on David’s right and left. As he cursed, Shimei said, “Get out, get out, you man of blood, you scoundrel! The LORD has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The LORD has handed the kingdom over to your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a man of blood!” Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head.” But the king said, “What do you and I have in common, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the LORD said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?’ ” David then said to Abishai and all his officials, “My son, who is of my own flesh, is trying to take my life. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. It may be that the LORD will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today.” So David and his men continued along the road while Shimei was going along the hillside opposite him, cursing as he went and throwing stones at him and showering him with dirt. (II Sam.16:5-13)
But he was later punished for it:
“And remember, you have with you Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, who called down bitter curses on me the day I went to Mahanaim. When he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the LORD : ‘I will not put you to death by the sword.’ But now, do not consider him innocent. You are a man of wisdom; you will know what to do to him. Bring his gray head down to the grave in blood.” (I Kgs.2:8-9).
Some curse parents:
” ‘If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother, and his blood will be on his own head. (Lev.20:9)
The Mosaic Law says that such people should be put to death,
“Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death. (Ex.21:17)
And there are even those who curse God:
Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. (Isa.8:21)
Do not slaughter a cow or a sheep and its young on the same day. (Lev.22:28)
Say to the Israelites: ‘If anyone curses his God, he will be held responsible; Then Moses spoke to the Israelites, and they took the blasphemer outside the camp and stoned him. The Israelites did as the LORD commanded Moses. (Leviticus 24:15,23)
Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. (I Cor.12:3)
3. DECLARING CURSES ON SOMEONE
There are also a few passages where others have placed or declared a curse on someone: Joshua told the deceitful Gibeonites that they were cursed and would never cease to be slaves for the house of God:
You are now under a curse: You will never cease to serve as woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God.” (Josh.9:23).
Israel couldn’t give wives to the survivors of Benjamin since the sons of Israel had sworn, “Cursed is he who gives a wife to Benjamin” And the elders of the assembly said, “With the women of Benjamin destroyed, how shall we provide wives for the men who are left? The Benjamite survivors must have heirs,” they said, “so that a tribe of Israel will not be wiped out. We can’t give them our daughters as wives, since we Israelites have taken this oath: ‘Cursed be anyone who gives a wife to a Benjamite.’ (Judg.21:16-18).
And there was the time when Saul strictly placed the people under oath, saying, “Cursed be the man who eats food before evening, and until I have avenged myself on my enemies.” So none of the people tasted food since they feared the oath. However his son, Jonathan, ignored it, and Saul was going to put him to death, but the people rescued him.
Now the men of Israel were in distress that day, because Saul had bound the people under an oath, saying, “Cursed be any man who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!” So none of the troops tasted food.
The entire army entered the woods, and there was honey on the ground. When they went into the woods, they saw the honey oozing out, yet no one put his hand to his mouth, because they feared the oath. But Jonathan had not heard that his father had bound the people with the oath, so he reached out the end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it into the honeycomb. He raised his hand to his mouth, and his eyes brightened. Then one of the soldiers told him, “Your father bound the army under a strict oath, saying, ‘Cursed be any man who eats food today!’ That is why the men are faint.”
Jonathan said, “My father has made trouble for the country. See how my eyes brightened when I tasted a little of this honey. How much better it would have been if the men had eaten today some of the plunder they took from their enemies. Would not the slaughter of the Philistines have been even greater?”
That day, after the Israelites had struck down the Philistines from Micmash to Aijalon, they were exhausted. They pounced on the plunder and, taking sheep, cattle and calves, they butchered them on the ground and ate them, together with the blood. Then someone said to Saul, “Look, the men are sinning against the LORD by eating meat that has blood in it.”
“You have broken faith,” he said. “Roll a large stone over here at once.”
Then he said, “Go out among the men and tell them, ‘Each of you bring me your cattle and sheep, and slaughter them here and eat them. Do not sin against the LORD by eating meat with blood still in it.’ “
So everyone brought his ox that night and slaughtered it there. Then Saul built an altar to the LORD ; it was the first time he had done this.
Saul said, “Let us go down after the Philistines by night and plunder them till dawn, and let us not leave one of them alive.”
“Do whatever seems best to you,” they replied.
But the priest said, “Let us inquire of God here.”
So Saul asked God, “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will you give them into Israel’s hand?” But God did not answer him that day.
Saul therefore said, “Come here, all you who are leaders of the army, and let us find out what sin has been committed today. As surely as the LORD who rescues Israel lives, even if it lies with my son Jonathan, he must die.” But not one of the men said a word.
Saul then said to all the Israelites, “You stand over there; I and Jonathan my son will stand over here.”
“Do what seems best to you,” the men replied.
Then Saul prayed to the LORD , the God of Israel, “Give me the right answer.” And Jonathan and Saul were taken by lot, and the men were cleared. Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and Jonathan my son.” And Jonathan was taken.
Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.”
So Jonathan told him, “I merely tasted a little honey with the end of my staff. And now must I die?”
Saul said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if you do not die, Jonathan.” But the men said to Saul, “Should Jonathan die-he who has brought about this great deliverance in Israel? Never! As surely as the LORD lives, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground, for he did this today with God’s help.” So the men rescued Jonathan, and he was not put to death. Then Saul stopped pursuing the Philistines, and they withdrew to their own land. (I Sam.14:24-46).
Gen.9: 25 has been a difficult passage for commentators. It should be studied in light of Ezekiel 18.
He said, “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.” Genesis 9 : 25
The word of the LORD came to me: “What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel: ” ‘The fathers eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD , you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son-both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die. (Ezekiel 1:4)
“But suppose this son has a son who sees all the sins his father commits, and though he sees them, he does not do such things: “He does not eat at the mountain shrines or look to the idols of the house of Israel. He does not defile his neighbor’s wife. He does not oppress anyone or require a pledge for a loan. He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked. He withholds his hand from sin and takes no usury or excessive interest. He keeps my laws and follows my decrees. He will not die for his father’s sin; he will surely live. But his father will die for his own sin, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother and did what was wrong among his people.
“Yet you ask, ‘Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?’ Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.
“But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die. None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live. Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD . Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? (Ezek.18:1-4,14-23).
The Bible never mentions any demonic activity to be related to curses, nor any magical element.
4. DO NOT WORRY MORE ABOUT BEING A RECIPIENT OF CURSES
It appears from Scripture that being a recipient of the curses that we have seen thus far are not what we are to be concerned about.
“Let my accusers curse, but You bless” They may curse, but you will bless; when they attack they will be put to shame, but your servant will rejoice. (Psalm 109: 28).
Also, “Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, so a curse without cause does not alight” (Prov. 26:2): an unjustified curse (Ber), one that “is uncalled-for arrives nowhere” (NAB).
In fact, “he who seeks evil, evil will come to him” (Prov.11:26-27).
5. CURSES THAT WE NEED TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT
The curses one is to be concerned about are those that God inflicts, that come from Him “those the LORD blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be cut off.” (Psalm.37: 22)
“Command the Israelites to send away from the camp anyone who has an infectious skin disease or a discharge of any kind, or who is ceremonially unclean because of a dead body. (Num.5: 2)
The LORD will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him. (Dt.28: 20)
The LORD your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you. (Det. 30:7)
You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the LORD your God, a covenant the LORD is making with you this day and sealing with an oath, . . . I am making this covenant, with its oath, not only with you . . . When such a person hears the words of this oath, he invokes a blessing on himself and therefore thinks, “I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way.” This will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry. The LORD will never be willing to forgive him; his wrath and zeal will burn against that man. All the curses written in this book will fall upon him, and the LORD will blot out his name from under heaven. The LORD will single him out from all the tribes of Israel for disaster, according to all the curses of the covenant written in this Book of the Law. (Deut. 29:12,14,19-21)
‘This is what the LORD says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people-all the curses written in the book that has been read in the presence of the king of Judah. (II Chr.34: 24)
I will pursue them with the sword, famine and plague and will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth and an object of cursing and horror, of scorn and reproach, among all the nations where I drive them. (Jer.29:18)
Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel. (Gen.49: 7)
God also made the men of Shechem pay for all their wickedness. The curse of Jotham son of Jerub-Baal came on them. (Judg.9: 57)
Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people, that they would become accursed and laid waste, and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the LORD . (II Kings 22: 19)
I will make them abhorrent and an offense to all the kingdoms of the earth, a reproach and a byword, an object of ridicule and cursing, wherever I banish them. (Jer. 24: 9)
Early in the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came from the LORD : . . . then I will make this house like Shiloh and this city an object of cursing among all the nations of the earth.’ ” (Jer. 26:1,6)
I swear by myself,” declares the LORD , “that Bozrah will become a ruin and an object of horror, of reproach and of cursing; and all its towns will be in ruins forever.” (Jer. 49: 13)
The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.” (Gen.4: 10-12)
If you do not listen, and if you do not set your heart to honor my name,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not set your heart to honor me. (Mal.2: 2)
Even Balak, who wanted his enemy, Israel, cursed: Then Balak’s anger burned against Balaam. He struck his hands together and said to him, “I summoned you to curse my enemies, but you have blessed them these three times. (Num.24: 10)
said to Balaam, whom he had hired, “perhaps it will be agreeable with God that you curse them for me” . . . Then Balak said to Balaam, “Come, let me take you to another place. Perhaps it will please God to let you curse them for me from there.” (Num.23: 27).
But God would not curse them, because they had not met the Israelites with food and water but had hired Balaam to call a curse down on them. (Our God, however, turned the curse into a blessing.) Neh.13: 2).
In Dt.11: 26-28; 30:19 God, through Moses, declared to Israel,
“See I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse; a blessing if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the Lord your God but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today by following other gods which you have not known.”
God will bring the curses mentioned in Deuteronomy 27.
And these tribes shall stand on Mount Ebal to pronounce curses: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan and Naphtali.
The Levites shall recite to all the people of Israel in a loud voice:
“Cursed is the man who carves an image or casts an idol-a thing detestable to the LORD , the work of the craftsman’s hands-and sets it up in secret.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
“Cursed is the man who dishonors his father or his mother.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
“Cursed is the man who moves his neighbor’s boundary stone.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
“Cursed is the man who leads the blind astray on the road.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!” “Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
“Cursed is the man who sleeps with his father’s wife, for he dishonors his father’s bed.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
“Cursed is the man who has sexual relations with any animal.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
“Cursed is the man who sleeps with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
“Cursed is the man who sleeps with his mother-in-law.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
“Cursed is the man who kills his neighbor secretly.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
“Cursed is the man who accepts a bribe to kill an innocent person.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
“Cursed is the man who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!” (Dt.27: 13-26)
Read also Deuteronomy 28: 16-68.
You rebuke the arrogant, who are cursed and who stray from your commands. (Psalm119: 21)
Tell them that this is what the LORD , the God of Israel, says: ‘Cursed is the man who does not obey the terms of this covenant- (Jer.11: 3)
This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD . (Jer. 17: 5; 48:10)
“Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the LORD Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations. (Mal.1: 14)
You are under a curse-the whole nation of you-because you are robbing me. (Mal. 3:9).
“Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the Law, to perform them” who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” (Gal.3: 10b)
“Cursed is the man who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!” (Dt.27: 26)
All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. “Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you.” (Dan.9:11).
The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked” (Prov.3: 33a).
Let anyone who doesn’t love the Lord, be accursed. If anyone does not love the Lord–a curse be on him. Come, O Lord! (I Cor.16:22)
Let any angel or man who preaches a gospel contrary to the true one, be accursed. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! (Gal.1:8-9).
As many as are of the works of the Law are under the curse of the law . . . All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” (Gal.3: 10a,13)
6. BUT CHRIST DELIVERS US
BUT, we are told,
Christ redeemed [delivered] us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us-for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on an tree’- in order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Gal.3: 13-14).
God said to Abraham,
I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Gen12:3). The Lord “blesses the dwelling of the righteous (Prov.3: 33b).
Therefore, you are free. Be blessed!
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