Pro 26:2 ESV (2) Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, a curse that is causeless does not alight.
To understand curses, we must study what a covenant is. A covenant is much more than just an agreement, treaty or contract. The closest thing we have to it today is the marriage covenant. It involves the spiritual, physical, legal, and social realms. In Hebrew life, there were several different types of covenants: land, salt, and blood to name a few. The land covenant is when a territory is given to a certain tribe for all time – such as when God gave the land of Israel to the Jews forever. Even if an individual would buy or sell a parcel of land – every 50 yrs at Jubilee the land would go back to its original owner. So we see that the land covenant supersedes mere real estate transactions. If you understand this concept – you’ll understand the reason behind the bitter fighting over territory in the Middle East. A salt covenant would usually be between two people who each took a bag of salt – and exchanged a handful – one bag to the other – then shook the bags – to signify that if this salt could ever be divided up to its original states – then the covenant could be broken – which of course is impossible. The strongest of all covenants was the blood covenant. Here the two parties would make a cut on their arms and then let the blood flow together. All that one person had now belonged to the other and vice versa. Only death could break this type of covenant. Each covenant had a list of blessings and cursings. The standard pattern is – if you enter a covenant with me – here is what you can expect in terms of rights and privileges and if you ever break this covenant – here are the curses. Deuteronomy 28 is the perfect example of this. Now let’s look at just one more concept: trespasses vs. iniquities.
Isaiah 53:5 ESV (5) But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.
H6588 - trespass פשע pesha‛ BDB Definition: 1) transgression, rebellion 1a1) transgression (against individuals) 1a2) transgression (nation against nation)
1a3) transgression (against God) 1a3a) in general 1a3b) as recognised by sinner 1a3c) as God deals with it 1a3d) as God forgives 1a4) guilt of transgression 1a5) punishment for transgression 1a6) offering for transgression H5771 - iniquity עוון / עון ‛âvôn BDB Definition: 1) perversity, depravity, iniquity, guilt or punishment of iniquity 1a) iniquity 1b) guilt of iniquity, guilt (as great), guilt (of condition) 1c) consequence of or punishment for iniquity
If we think of like this – it may help us. Let’s say the father of a house loses his temper and yells at everyone. The trespass is losing his temper. He needs to go before God and repent for that sin. The iniquity however is much broader – the wife was terrorized and demeaned, the children were scared witless. The effects of the sin (losing his temper) had repercussions on his family – fear, resentment, anger, etc. Now let’s say the father accepts Jesus as his savior – he is forgiven of his sin (losing his temper) but the effects of that sin (fear and anger in his family) are still under the “curse” and long term effects can be seen. The good news (gospel) is that Jesus paid for it all. When we become born again – our sins are forgiven but we often suffer from the consequences of other people’s sin or even the consequences of our own. For example, the son of this father grows up and discovers he has a temper (generational iniquity). The blood of Jesus applied will still be effective. When the Spirit of God reveals to us the root of a problem whether it by reason of our own sin or the sins of the fathers, we bring it to the foot of the cross and obtain redemption through the blood of Jesus. We renounce the curse and its effects and receive full release in the name of Jesus!
Exo 20:5-6 ESV (5) You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,
(6) but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
As we saw in the previous study, every man is responsible for his own sin (trespass). We also saw how iniquity can affect not only the person involved in a particular sin – but also the people around the sinner or related to the sinner. One of the definitions of iniquity is perverseness. Let’s use the example of sexual abuse to illustrate this concept. Forcing yourself- whether through manipulation, guilt, threats or direct physical power – on another person sexually is a sin. Moreover, sex with anyone that is not your spouse – is a sin. I will generalize here for the purpose of illustration – not all victims suffer the same symptoms or behavior. What happens to children who were abused sexually when they grow up? For women, the effects can follow several paths: 1. They grow up thinking of themselves as sexual toys for the pleasure of men. They crave attention from men excessively – some to the point of sexual addiction. It is an abnormal craving –never satisfied – because the one person they wanted love from wasn’t there. Very often these women marry abusive men or go from one relationship to another – “looking for love in all the wrong places.” 2. They grow up hating men and scared of them at the same time. They may wear “frumpy” clothes so men won’t be attracted to them, they may gain excessive weight to appear unattractive etc. For men who were molested as children – the path often leads to aggressive behavior and often to abusing others. Boys tend to take their anger out on others while girls tend to take their anger out on themselves (cutting, anorexia, depression, etc.) The vast majority of serial rapists and murderers were severely abused as children. When great grandpa molested his daughter who married a man just like dear old dad who molested his daughter, etc – what we then have is a generational iniquity. Sexual abuse affects not only sexuality, but gender formation, intimacy, relationships, trust and worldview. I believe that is why it is one of the favorite tools of Satan to destroy people. Generational iniquity doesn’t have to be just about sex however. Alcoholism and drug abuse also are passed down from the generations before us. Chronic poverty, lack of education, cultic beliefs, physical illnesses and more are passed down in families. As a general rule, if you can look at your family tree and notice a pattern of iniquity – you probably need to address it.
Steps to Freedom
1. Repent of what you are responsible for – your own personal sin. If you hold unforgiveness, bitterness or resentment – let it go. Apply 1 John 1:9 liberally! 2. Renounce any family curse or iniquity that the Holy Spirit reveals to you. Have someone pray with you if you need help.
3. Receive – the full pardon and redemption that is available at the foot of the cross. Jesus was not only wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities. Hallelujah!