Curses and Causes
by Batya Wootten
“You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you” Deuteronomy 8:5.
A friend of mine who has four young children recently came to visit me. In these difficult times her husband can not find sufficient work. When she stood at my door I could see that her eyes were swollen from crying many tears and she looked rail thin. She is a sweet, itty-bitty mite and as we sat and talked, she told me that she was “trying to follow the Lord.”
She naturally said this because she was feeling the sting that often comes when a Believer has problems. She knows the Lord and walks in a Hebraic lifestyle, yet all was not well with her family. I soon concluded that she suffers from the same thing that many of us suffer from. I call it the, “Just ask Jesus into your heart and everything will be wonderful syndrome.”
Please do not misunderstand me. There is nothing more wonderful than having the Messiah come into your heart. Nothing. It is the absolute high point in one’s life. The experience changes everything. Life is completely different once we meet the Master. However, it seems that once we invite Him into our hearts, we enter into a “honeymoon state,” and after a while, that season is over and day-to-day life sets in – with which comes testing…
The problem is, some Believers think that if you have a problem, you are “in sin.” The truth is, if you are part of Israel, you have been chosen to choose. Israelites are destined to be refined in Abba’s “furnace of affliction.” There, He tests them, the Hebrew word being bachar, which is also translated as choose/chosen Isa 48:10.(See Note 1)
Assuming we define sin as meaning to offend our God, as in missing the mark of His high calling, or not hitting the bulls eye in His target, then we all stand guilty. We all fall short of His glory. In this life, our salvation is a process. Complete righteousness is immediately imputed to us in Messiah, then we begin to be transformed by the Holy Spirit into His image. By His Spirit we move from “glory to glory.” Death to self is a life-long process. Yeshua says, if we endure until the end, we will be saved Mat 10:22; Rom 8:29; 1 Cor 15:31; 2 Cor 3:15. The Greek word for “saved” is sozo, meaning to save, deliver, protect, heal, preserve, and to be made whole. This word is in the present tense and should be translated as “being saved.” This tense speaks of something that happened in the past and is continuing to happen. Our God does the saving, we cannot do it ourselves. It is both an event and a process in our lives. (See Note 2)
In Messiah we are granted a perfect peace that surpasses all understanding, yet we must suffer tribulation and affliction. If we are His sons, we will know persecution and tribulation. When difficult things happen to us we are supposed to consider His suffering and not become weary or discouraged. Instead we are to take heart and know that such experiences prove our sonship: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.”
Such chastening is not joyful, but painful – but if we allow it to be used to train us, it will profit us and help us become partakers of Abba’s holiness. So we want to embrace our difficulties and be strengthened by them, knowing that they will ultimately yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness Heb 12:3-13. (See Note 3)
Illegitimate sons know no chastening. Legitimate sons are chastened.
Grapes are squeezed and crushed, then wine is born. Our God is the Vinedresser and we are His vineyard. We will experience His crushing in this life. Again, He even promises Israel that He will test/choose them in His fiery furnace of affliction Isa 48:10.
Will our difficult times always be due to “sin” in the normal sense of the word?
No. Olives also are crushed, then they produce oil, which symbolizes the Holy Spirit. Sometimes the intent of our crushing is to show forth the Holy Spirit, the Ruach HaKodesh in our lives.
Speaking of a man who was blind from birth, Yeshua’s disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Yeshua replied, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him” John 9:1-3.
Sometimes, the Father is working a work in the life of an individual and showing His Glory. And, His Glory shines best when compared to darkness. In fact, to see the light in Goshen we must be surrounded by darkness. To be delivered from the lion’s den we must first be thrown into one. To be a prisoner who is exalted to the right hand of Pharaoh we first must be thrown into prison. To grow in faith, our faith must first be cultivated with testing. To see the deliverance of our God in our lives, we first need to be in a place wherein we desperately need to experience deliverance.
Due to errant teachings Believers often are not properly prepared to handle problems. If they have a problem, they often end up with yet another one because they admitted to having a problem. Many of us have told other Believers about our problems only to have them look down their spiritual noses at us – due to our supposed failure to live happily ever after.
This ought not be the way it is among Believers.
It is true that a “curse causeless will not come” Pro 26:2. A curse without cause will not alight on a Believer. Causeless curses do not come to rest on us. If we have a problem, there is a reason why we have it, and we need to quickly find its root cause. Problems always have a cause and an effect. When a problem surfaces in our lives, our Father is trying to teach us something – because something is less than perfect and He wants us to take note of it. He allows problems to arise because He wants to effect a change for the good in our lives: “I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope” Jer 29:11.
Abba wants to build us up and prosper us, but to do so, He must first uproot some things in our lives. Again, our job is to find the root cause of the problem that is being exposed. When we encounter a problem, our first question should not be a pharisaical “Who sinned,” but a compassionate and caring, “What is the root cause of the problem and what change does the Father want to effect?”
Problems can be likened to weeds. We can chop off a weed and it will appear to be gone, but only for a season, because if we do not pull up its root, it will one day return. Similarly, when it comes to problems, we want to ask the Spirit to give us a “word of knowledge” so we will know what needs to be rooted out, so we will know things that we might otherwise not have known. (The point is not for us to know anything about others but so the one being ministered to might “know” that the Spirit is working in their life.) A word of knowledge needs a companion “word of wisdom,” which reveals how to apply the knowledge. These are gifts of the Spirit and we need to seek them.
Troubles often make people sorrowful, but we need to keep sorrow in Biblical perspective. Paul said,” I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so you might not suffer loss in anything…. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death” 2 Cor 7:9-10.
“Repentance without regret” sounds like an oxymoron, like opposites that do not go together, yet in the economy of the Holy One, the two add up to perfect repentance: We are sorry for our actions, but we learned valuable lessons from the experience. This knowledge, in turn, worked positive change in us, which makes it hard for us to “regret” having chosen the path that we took. Even though it was a “wrong” path, due to our own choices, we had to walk it and learn certain things about ourselves. Our experience led us to the “godly sorrow” that produced good in us.
Another point about problems. Sometimes we feel that we do not hear the Father’s voice as often as we did when we were new Believers. Troubles arise and we want to know what to do about them, but Heaven seems silent. This might be so because, when we were babes, the Father would often reach into our world and touch us. However, as we mature, He gets quiet and does not reach out to us as in times past. The reason being, due to His great love for us, the Father is trying to get us to seek Him, because He wants us to grow up and learn to reach into His world. (See Note 4)
We want to mature and learn to reach into our Father’s world. Words of wisdom and knowledge are key gifts that will surely help us as we seek to walk in the great end-time purposes of our God. Being compassionate and understanding toward those who suffer will also help us move toward the purposes of our God, which is to build us up and not tear us down.
Finally, our God is called “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” He comforts us in our afflictions so that we will be able to comfort those who are being afflicted with the comfort with which we ourselves were comforted 2 Cor 1:3-4.
This is the essence of true “ministry.” We are called to be “witnesses” and one can only legitimately witness to that which they know first hand. When we have gone through hard times, we gain an understanding of how to share with others who are experiencing similar problems.
In these difficult days may we be used to comfort others in their time of need, even as our Master comforts us.
Amen and Amen.
1. See Strong’s & BDB word # H977, and the book, Redeemed Israel – Reunited and Restored, by Batya Wootten, chapter 8, “Chosen to Choose.”
2. See Strong’s # G 4982, and the book, Israel – Empowered by the Spirit by Smith and Wootten, chapter 3, “Burying Our Sinful Nature – Learning to be Obedient.”
3. Also see Acts 14:22 and the book, Israel – Empowered by the Spirit, by Smith and Wootten, chapter 21, “Gifts of Healings and Divine Health.”
4. Thanks to Graham Cooke for this excellent point: www.grahamcooke.com
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