"But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and His statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee."
Deuteronomy 28: 15
"Living Under the Curse"
"O Lord, you have freed us; you have saved us from the curse and from sin, having become both for our sake."
What does the phrase "under the curse" mean to me?
"An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart:
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!"
Merchant of Venice
"Great holiness demands great sacrifice."
Many years ago, when I was a young girl in elementary school, one of my friends got mad at me after I didn't do what she wanted. With her finger shaking in my face she screamed, "Dorothy, I put a curse on you." Her words scared me to death. I expected some horrible thing to befall me. I was "shaking in my boots." After a few minutes I said to her, "You better take that curse off me." I must have had a very serious look on my face for she burst out laughing as she assured me she was just kidding all along.
It may be as adults, reading through the Bible, when we come upon the word "cursed" our minds tend to go along the same line my childish head did when a classmate, upset with my behavior, told me I was "cursed." We begin to shake and worry that God has us living under a curse of darkness.
As Moses, in the book of Deuteronomy, reviewed with the people under his care, the guiding hand of God throughout their journey from Egypt to Canaan, He shared with them the "blessings" that surround a life infused with the presence of God. As he told all the people, when God is adored in your life, God's loving-kindness will follow you everywhere you are - at work, at play, at church, even when you're on vacation. Your life will over-flow with the abundance of God's love. What you do will have the blessing of God poured down like showers upon it. Your enemies will be confounded because rather than retaliate with an unforgiving spirit, you and I will respond with a spirit of forgiveness. Most of all, the blessing of God upon our lives places us in the center of God's will which gives our lives purpose and a solid foundation.
But in Deuteronomy 28: 14, the words of Moses contain a warning. "And you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I (God) command you this day, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them." God wanted His children to have an undivided hearts in purpose and will, for the sacred and the profane can not dwell in harmony together.
Moses continued in Deuteronomy 28: 15, by saying, "But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God, being watchful to do all His commandments and His statutes; then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you." In the Amplified Bible the phrase "being watchful" has the meaning of vigilance. In the King James Version of the Bible, the word is "hearken" which means to obey and listen intelligently. We give ear and discern.
Moses admonished the children of Israel, "But if you don't choose to listen with a discerning ear to what God has said, then curses will surely be able to take you down." Let's be clear, God wasn't putting some "witchy hex" upon His children. Nor was God threatening them as if to say, "Do what I say or else."
Instead, in the most loving, kind and gentle manner, God told His dear ones that blessings in our lives are naturally present when we choose to listen to Him. If we choose to do our own thing, however, curses follow. The word "curse," in the Hebrew, means "Execrate." I hadn't heard this word before so I did some study and here's what I found. In the Latin, this word, meaning curse, comes from ex sacr-, sacer or sacred. And when I looked up the word sacred, it means holiness.
So from the beginning of our study on Blessings and Cursings we have come full circle. Blessings are holiness filling our lives; curses are everything that is not sacred filling our lives. A curse isn't God taking revenge out on us because we disobeyed. A curse is everything that is not sacred filling the void left in our lives when we make the choice not to have God at the center of our being. If we make a choice to eskew God's blessings, the result is that what is unholy will invade the field which was meant by our Father to grow the seeds of His love, grace, compassion and forgiveness - those blessings God longs for us to pass on to others around us. I want to close our study on Blessings and Cursings with these wonderful words penned by Jonathon Edwards: "Holiness appeared to me to be of a sweet, pleasant, charming, serene, calm nature; which brought an inexpressible purity, brightness, peacefulness, and ravishment to the soul. In other words, that it made the soul like a field or garden of God, with all manner of pleasant flowers."
"(She) that sees the beauty of holiness, or true moral good, sees the greatest and most important thing in the world; Unless this is seen, nothing is seen that is worth seeing; for there is no other true excellence or beauty."
"Holy, holy, holy!
Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song
Shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy!
Merciful and mighty!
God in three persons,
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
Available May 2009