Derek Prince - Are Curses Out Of Date, Or Still Relevant Today?
Another specific source of curses is men who speak on behalf of God as God’s mouthpiece. There are many examples of this in the Bible. We’ll only look at just a few. the first is found in Joshua 6:26 after Israel had captured and destroyed Jericho. Joshua, the leader of God’s people, and God’s mouthpiece, pronounced a curse on anybody who would subsequently rebuild a city on that site. In Joshua 6:26: Then Joshua charged them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the Lord who rises up and builds this city Jericho. He shall lay its foundation with his firstborn, and with his youngest he shall set up its gates.
That’s a very specific curse, not a general curse. But the form that the curse would take would be that the person who rebuilt Jericho, it would cost him the lives of two of his sons. I’m sure most of the Israelites forgot that curse, it just receded into history. But about five hundred years later in the reign of Ahab, king of Israel, a man did just that thing on which Joshua had pronounced a curse. And this is recorded in first Kings chapter sixteen. in the reign of Ahab. 1 Kings 16, the last verse of the chapter, verse 34: In his days (that’s the days of Ahab) Hiel of Bethel built Jericho: he laid its foundation with Abiram his firstborn, and with his youngest son Segub he set up its gates, according to the word of the Lord which He had spoken through Joshua the son of Nun.
The marginal translation says at the cost of the life of his son. And most modern translations follow that. So, the man who went against the curse pronounced by Joshua five hundred years earlier, it cost him the lives of two of his sons. I often think to myself what did the doctors of that day say when they were asked to give the cause of death of these two young men? Would they have understood that it was caused by words pronounced by a servant of God five hundred years earlier? One of the things this brings out is that curses basically continue until something is done to cut them off. They’re self-perpetuating.
And then another remarkable example is found in 2 Samuel 1, a lament that David pronounced after King Saul and his son Jonathan had been killed by the Philistines on Mount Gilboa. In 2 Samuel 1:21... now you need to understand the cause of David’s intense grief. It was not merely that Jonathan was his dear friend or even that Saul had been killed. But it was the triumph of idol worshipers over the people of the true God. Because the Philistines were idol worshipers and when they found the bodies of Saul and Jonathan they mutilated them, cut off their heads, placed them on the wall of the city called Bethshan and proclaimed it in all their idol temples.
You have to understand in those days when two nations fought, generally speaking, it wasn’t merely the nations that were fighting but their gods were fighting one another. And when one nation was victorious, it was a victory for the gods of that nation. And so what grieved David so much as the servant of the Lord was that, in a sense, the idol gods had triumphed over the true God. And so he pronounced this lament. And I’m sure he didn’t stop to think what he was going to say but it’s a remarkable lament about the mountains of Gilboa, because it was on Mount Gilboa that Saul and Jonathan were killed. Oh mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, nor let there be rain upon you, nor fields of offerings: for the shield of the mighty is cast away there, the shield of Saul, not anointed with oil.
So David said let there be no dew, no rain, no fields of offerings. Those words were pronounced about three thousand years ago. And in this century, after the Jews returned to their land, they began to plant trees and re-cultivate every area. And they’ve been amazingly successful in growing trees on their mountains. But when they came to Mount Gilboa they had totally unexpected problems in making trees grow there. So the words of David pronounced three thousand years earlier still affected the situation on Mount Gilboa at that time.
And then there’s another example in 2 Kings 5. We don’t need to turn there, but the prophet Elisha had been used of God to bring healing to Naaman the Assyrian. He refused to accept any gift from Naaman because he didn’t want Naaman to think he could pay for his healing. But Naaman’s servant Gehazi thought that was a shame to turn down this offer, so he ran after Naaman without Elisha knowing it and asked for money and clothing. Came back and hid it away, came and stood in the presence of Elisha thinking that Elisha didn’t know, and Elisha said, Did not my spirit go with you when you ran after that man? And then he pronounced this curse upon him. He said, The leprosy of Naaman (who had been healed) cleave to you and your descendants forever. And it says Gehazi went out from his presence a leper as white as snow, in an advanced stage of leprosy. And notice the curse was on his descendants forever.
See, what comes out of all these examples is the perpetuation of a curse until somebody knows what to do to revoke it. You say can God’s servants curse in that way today? Well, Jesus cursed a fig tree, you remember, in the New Testament. And the next day it had withered from the roots, just one period of twenty-four hours. And when the disciples were astonished he said to them, You will be able to do what I did to this fig tree, and more. He said, You can remove mountains. Let’s leave out removing mountains for the moment. He said, You can do what I did to the fig tree.
Now I relate this with some trepidation, but this is a personal experience. In about 1965 I was part of a ministry team in a church in the inner city in Chicago. Right flush with the church, wall to wall on the corner was what the Americans call a saloon. I think the English call it a pub. But it was a very wicked place. It not merely sold alcohol, it peddled drugs and it was a center for prostitution. It was a very wicked place and it was right wall to wall with the church. Well, sometime about October we had a prayer meeting in the church and I was on the platform as one of the leadership team. And at a certain point without any premeditation I thought about this pub and I thought it really is an affront to God that it should be right there just where the people come into the church.
So I stood up and I said, I pronounce the curse of God upon that pub, or saloon. I didn’t think anymore about it. About two months later about 4:00 o’clock in the morning there was a phone call, Brother Prince, the church is on fire, do you want to come and see? It was the middle of winter in Chicago; I mean it was about 20 degrees below. I didn’t want to go and see but I thought, you know, if I hang around and just let the church burn without showing any interest it will look bad!
So, my first wife and I, we got in the car and we went there. Sure enough, not two blocks away you could see the flames and smoke. When we got there, however, we discovered it wasn’t the church that was on fire, it was the pub. But, you know, Chicago is situated on Lake Michigan. The wind was blowing off the lake and blowing the flames right onto the church. And as we stood there and watched helplessly, the wind changed 180 degrees and blew the flames away from the church.
The next morning the pub was destroyed and the church had suffered nothing but smoke damage which was covered by the insurance. And as I stood there and watched that I thought, God, am I responsible? I mean, I wasn’t jesting. And I thought that is the outcome of the words that I pronounced in that church about two months previously. You know what my reaction was? I realized I had tremendous power committed to me. Not because I’m different, because every Christian has that power. And my prayer was and is: God, help me never to misuse that power. But I give that as an illustration just to prove that the things we’re talking about are not out of date, they’re all relevant, they apply today.