Let me give you just very briefly seven common indications that there’s a curse over a person’s life.
Now I want you to understand I’m not saying if one of these things is true necessarily there’s a curse. But if several of them are true, the diagnosis is pretty obvious.
Also, you need to understand that curses by their very nature go on from generation to generation. That’s the special feature of both blessings and curses. And so we’re dealing not so much with individuals, although that could be true, but we’re dealing more with social groups like families or larger communities.
Now I’ll give you out of my personal observations seven things that I have found normally point to a curse. I never say to a person, “I know there’s a curse over your life.” That’s not my job. I simply say, “Well, in the light of what you tell me it seems to me that there probably is a curse. If you would like, we’ll pray together for release.” These are the seven things. It’s interesting you can compare them with Deuteronomy 28:15-68 and you’ll find basically they’re just saying in modern language what Moses said in Deuteronomy 28. But these are the seven things:
Number one. Mental and emotional breakdowns.
Number two. Repeated or chronic sicknesses—especially if they’re hereditary. The very word hereditary should alert you maybe there’s a curse coming from generation to generation.
Number three. Repeated miscarriages or related female problems. I think Ruth would agree with me that since we came to understand this we have seen scores and scores of women with problems like that released from them simply when they’re dealt with as a curse. If you care to read Deuteronomy 28 you’ll find that Moses viewed them the same way.
Number four. The breakdown of marriage and family alienation. Now one divorce in a family isn’t necessarily indicative but if a family’s whole history is divorces and the breakdown of family relationships and alienations, I personally would say you can be sure there’s a curse over that family.
Number five. Continuing financial insufficiency—especially where the income appears sufficient. Now if you happen to be short of money or poor for a time that’s not necessarily a curse. But if you’re always in that situation you need to be checking. Especially if according to the books your income should be sufficient. Let me tell you this little story, it always amuses me. A certain lady in the States got hold of my teaching and wrote me and said, “I believe there’s a curse over my husband’s family.” I wrote back and said to her, “Tell me why you believe there’s a curse over your husband’s family.” She wrote back and said, “My husband’s estate runs into hundreds of millions of dollars. Our annual income is a million dollars and we never have enough money.” I said, “I’m convinced!” Actually, there were other indications when we got down to it besides that.
Number six. Accident prone—which is statistically diagnosable. You’ll find that insurance companies will charge you a higher premium if they diagnose you as being accident prone. Again, it alone alerts me the moment I find out.
Number seven. Finally, a history of suicides or unnatural deaths in a family.
So those are my observations on the manifestations of curses, how they affect people’s lives. If ever there was good news, brothers and sisters, this is good news. On the cross Jesus was made a curse that we might be redeemed from the curse. I feel God wants me to pause a little while longer on this, I’m trying to work through. But another way of describing a curse is that there’s somehow a dark shadow over your life and it proceeds from somewhere in the past and you may not know where.
Or, to use another figure, there’s a long, evil hand that reaches out from time to time and just stops you when you’re about to succeed. You meet people who have all the qualifications for succeeding and get to the point of success time after time and it always eludes them. I would say perhaps in a way one of the key words is frustration. So, if I’m describing you to yourself, there’s an answer, there’s a way out, there’s a solution. I’m not interested in problems if I can’t find solutions. Just to preach problems, to me, is pretty well self-defeating.
Let me just give you another example. I try to get on and I feel the Lord won’t let me. I was talking about preaching in Zambia where I told the people about the storehouse, the storehouse keeper and the key. Well, I had those dear, blessed Africans, I think for six days, and I mean, Africans don’t measure time the way we do. If you preach three hours they say, “What’s the matter, why did you stop?” And they’re usually sitting on narrow wooden benches or on the earth, or whatever it may be. So I was really able to give them everything.
I’ll just tell you briefly what I did. It’s become my pattern, if I can do it I’ll do it. Sometimes I don’t have the time. Number one, we start where we are now, the exchange that took place at the cross. We lay that basis. When you lay that foundation you’ve got a basis on which to minister to people.
Then, I’ve lived eight years of my life in Africa. There are hardly any Africans that aren’t under a curse, and most Africans know they’re under a curse. So then I deal with release from the curse because I know that the curse is going to be the barrier to anything else I’m going to teach them. Now when we’ve got rid of the curse I prepare to face the demons. You see, if you teach deliverance to people under a curse, they’ll struggle but they won’t receive their deliverance. You might not like this, it might not suit your theology but we had 7,000 Africans there and for three hours I taught them on how to get rid of demons. First of all how to recognize demons and then how to get rid of them.
You don’t have to convince Africans demons are real. You just have to tell them how to get rid of them! So at the end of that time I said, “Now, if you feel you need deliverance I’m going to pray for you, I’m going to lead you in a prayer that you call upon the Lord. For whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered. Then stop praying and I’m going to tell the demons to go. You let them go, your business is not to go on praying, it’s to let the demons go.” Well, I’ve had a lot of exciting times in my ministry but I don’t know if I’ve ever had anything more exciting than the next hour that followed that.
It was a sort of football field auditorium type but it sloped quite steeply down from the back to the front. There was one man who rolled all the way uphill about 200 yards from here to there but the demon was gone by the time he got to the top. African demons are a little bit cultural. I have an adopted African daughter, I love the African people but I just know the particular way things go with them.
You see, an African who wants to hunt an animal, if it’s an elephant or a boar or whatever, he wants the spirit of the animal in him, then he can hunt the animal. Well the trouble is his poor wife usually gets the spirit too. When the spirit comes out it behaves like the animal. So you’ll get people behaving like snakes and people behaving like boars and people behaving like elephants.
Now this didn’t happen in the meeting but one of the missionaries we worked with told us they had a lady teacher who came to them for deliverance. She was a respectable, educated, well-dressed woman, but her problem was that her husband was an elephant hunter. And when they commanded the spirit of the elephant to come out she dropped on her hands and knees, crawled through the door, went up against a tree, put her forehead against the tree and started to push the tree down. Now that’s exactly what an elephant would do. But normally a lady teacher wouldn’t do that.
Anyhow, having had this session, that was number three, I felt now I can help them receive the Holy Spirit. But when you got so many demons around you don’t know what’s going to manifest itself. So I taught them how to receive the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues. I said, “Now I’m going to lead you in a prayer. When you’ve said the prayer I don’t want you to do any more speaking in your own language. I’m going to pray for you that you receive the Holy Spirit. The next thing I want you to do is speak in a new language.” When we got to that point there was about one minute of silence. Then one man over on my right started to speak in tongues. It was like pulling the bottom out of a barrel. In the next five minutes I think at least 4,000 people were speaking in tongues simultaneously.
See, that all came through building on the cross. When I can lay that foundation I’m totally confident of the results. But very often you hardly have time to do the job thoroughly.
Now we’re going to just rehearse our exchange. Galatians 3:13–14. Are you ready? “Jesus was made a curse that we might receive the blessing.” Again. “Jesus was made a curse that we might receive the blessing.” Now we’ll make it personal. “Jesus was made a curse that I might receive the blessing.” All right, praise God.