Generational Curses in the Church, Part I
Last night, I was scrolling through a Christian debate group on I belong to on Facebook when I stumbled across a clip someone shared featuring Pastor Dharius Daniels. I was BLOWN AWAY!!! Generally speaking, I’ve heard and now seen that the man is a BEAST! This clip absolutely proved it. He walks us through the generational “habit” of lying in the family of Abraham reaching the fourth generation, Jacob’s sons (minus Joseph and Benjamin). He mentioned how we so readily focus on generational curses in families, but rarely do we look at this same concept in the context of churches. My Lord! And it’s the truth! Generational curses in the Church are a very real problem, but as Jesus said, the truth shall set you free! Let’s dig in.
I would like to begin with a story.
A Tale of Three Pastors
There once was a pastor. A ground-breaking evangelist. Known around the world, and most certainly stateside, he built a great name for himself with the help of God. But somehow, somewhere, things went awry and his long-time friend and assistant pastor had to break with him, leave the ministry, and start his own church. It was not long after that, the evangelist went off the spiritual deep end.
The assistant pastor, now a pastor in his own right was given a beautiful, God-given vision for ministry and reconciliation and God began to raise him up in the area. Eventually, the “perfect” young man joined his church and after proving himself in service and calling, was made the assistant pastor of that church. It thrived! But again, things went awry. Intimidation and a host of other fear-based symptoms filled the heart of the pastor as he saw his young assistant grow and when it came time for the young man to leave peacefully and pursue the call of God on his own life, the older pastor threw him out in much the fashion he had been “thrown” out of the ministry he served in years before.
Wounded and broken, yet with the call and hand of God still on his life, the young man eventually forged ahead, launched his own ministry in the face of slanderous accusations, and began another great work in the name of God.
The former pastor replaced his assistant and handed him the keys of the kingdom. He abdicated his throne, forgot God’s vision for his ministry, and gave it all to the new, snazzy young man he’d elevated in the former assistant’s place. The ministry is now entirely unrecognizable.
And the slandered assistant who became a pastor in his own right has carried many of the wounds, many of the issues from his former pastor, who got them from his former friend and pastor, and they are now making their home and putting down roots in the young pastor’s church.
The issues I speak of in the first pastor, in the second pastor’s church, and in the third pastor’s life and ministry, are the spirits of homosexuality and the spirit of Jezebel*. Who can tell the end of the third man’s ministry? Only God.
*Not that they are gay or Jezebel, but the spirits are being tolerated in their presence.
That was a story I heard and saw unfold, much of it before my own eyes. But now I’ll share a story that you are more than likely familiar with because it’s in the Bible.
Sex and the Sword
A man after God’s own heart became king. He was a mighty warrior and a prophetic psalmist. His name was David. But David had a problem. He LOVED the women. He had several wives, and many concubines--inherited and selected, but all of this was not enough for him. He wanted his friend’s wife, Bathsheba, too. And through the abuse of his kingly authority, adultery, a baby conceived “on the wrong side of the blanket,” and a murder conspiracy, he got her. But the sexual immorality and violence didn’t stop there. David had many sons, at least four of which inherited their daddy’s issues.
Amnon, the firstborn and heir to the throne, raped his half-sister, the princess Tamar. He lusted after her strongly, but once he’d done the deed, he hated her twice as much. Tamar was ruined. And when their indecisive father, David, did nothing, her full-brother, Absalom, acted. He gathered all of his brothers to a special feast and when he gave the signal, his servants killed Amnon in retribution. And again, David did nothing. He was truly proving himself to be a weak father, even if he was loving. Perhaps too loving. Possibly in a way his own father, Jesse, never loved him?
[I heard a minister once conjecture that David could have been the son of a prostitute or conceived in some other honourless situation and this was why he is presented in Scripture as an unfavoured son, hidden on the backside of a mountain, tending sheep and running errands.]
A few years later, Absalom carried out the ultimate act of sedition and tried to steal the throne from his father. He bedded his father’s concubines on the roof of the palace in the light of day for all Israel to see that everything that belonged to his father was now his and in the end, he died a traitor’s death: hung by his vain glory, his hair, stabbed multiple times over, and run through with multiple javelins. But apparently this lesson was not enough to the sons of David...
David had another son, Adonijah, Absalom and Tamar’s full-brother, who also lusted after the throne. He, like his big brother Absalom tried to steal it for himself. He even tried it by attempting to go through his step-mother, Bathsheba, to acquire David’s youngest and most recent wife, Abishag, before his death. But his half-brother, Solomon, Bathsheba’s son and the true heir to the throne, saw through it and Adonijah was finally executed.
And then we focus on Solomon. He, like his father and half-brother, Amnon, lusted after women. He had 300 wives and 1,000 concubines. And there’s no telling how many sexual conquests he had outside of his harem, such as the Queen of Sheba, who tickled his lustful fancies and encouraged his preference for black women. His lust for women so overruled him that he was seduced away from his faith to worship other gods, whatever gods his many wives worshiped.
It can be imagined that his preoccupation with women and false worship combined with the bad parenting passed down from David made Solomon a bad father because when we see his son, Rehoboam, on the scene and throne, he is so spoiled and a far cry from his father, the wisest man to ever walk the face of the earth, and grandfather, a man after God’s heart, that he offended his people so much so that 10 out of the 12 tribes abandoned his kingdom to set up their own. Talk about generational curse with very real repercussions!
Abe’s family were liars. (Both Abraham and Isaac lied and told kings that their wives were their sisters--Abe was partially telling the truth--to save their own skin. Rebekah and Jacob deceived Isaac to trick him into blessing Jacob instead of Esau. And finally, Jacob’s sons lied and told their father Joseph was killed by a wild animal when they’d really sold him to their distant cousins, the Ishmaelites, as a slave.) David’s family were sex-crazed, violent, bad fathers. And the men in my own story struggled with and or tolerated homosexuality and the spirit of Jezebel.
Generational curses do indeed exist in the family and in the church and they do have, again, very real repercussions.
Since the concept of family is infused into the church, these curses--wounds, habits, spirits, whatever you want to call them--are also capable of being passed down in the church setting. David’s family was a great example of a generational curse at home, but David’s home life wasn’t entirely at fault. David’s spiritual father, Samuel, as well as his stand-in father, Saul, were also to blame.
David’s Daddy Issues
David may very well have gotten a bad parenting example from his natural father. But biblical proof shows us that he absolutely got that influence from Samuel and Saul as well.
Let’s look at Eli, Samuel’s spiritual father, for starters.
Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the Lord. And the priests’ custom with the people was that when any man offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fleshhook in his hand while the meat was boiling. Then he would thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; and the priest would take for himself all that the fleshhook brought up. So they did in Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. Also, before they burned the fat, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who sacrificed, “Give meat for roasting to the priest, for he will not take boiled meat from you, but raw.”
And if the man said to him, “They should really burn the fat first; then you may take as much as your heart desires,” he would then answer him, “No, but you must give it now; and if not, I will take it by force.”
Therefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, for men abhorred the offering of the Lord. (I Samuel 2:12-17)
Now Eli was very old; and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the Lord’s people transgress. If one man sins against another, God will judge him. But if a man sins against the Lord, who will intercede for him?” Nevertheless they did not heed the voice of their father, because the Lord desired to kill them. (I Samuel 2:22-25)
Eli’s godless sons made the people of Israel despise the offering through abusing the privileges of the priesthood and bedding women in the very doorway of the tabernacle! A priesthood they never should have had because they did not know the Lord. (Where is the fear of the Lord??) But Eli is most to blame because he “heard everything his sons did” but didn’t actually do anything to stop them. He certainly didn’t defrock them. Thus, should be we surprised at all when we hear similar stories of Samuel’s sons?
Now it came to pass when Samuel was old that he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. But his sons did not walk in his ways; they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice. Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” (I Samuel 8:1-5)
Like the sons of Eli, the sons of Samuel abused the privileges of their position and “perverted justice.” This sin was so great that it caused the people to go against the will of the Lord and beg their judge to abdicate his position and instead, give them a king “like all the nations” even though they weren’t like all the nations. But what could have caused this perversion to be in Samuel’s sons? He was a man of God and a God-fearing judge of Israel right? Sure. But I believe the answer lies in his upbringing.
Samuel was the much prayed for son of his mother, Hannah. For a long time she was barren and in her desperation, she cried out to the Lord and promised to “loan” (give) her child to the Lord. Thus, when God answered her prayer, and when the child was old enough to be weaned (probably about three years old), she brought him to the temple and left him there. His family visited once a year when she brought him new clothes. God was grateful for her gift and blessed her with five more children to raise at home. But Samuel stayed in the temple where he was raised by his spiritual father, Eli, away from his biological father, Elkanah. (See Samuel’s story starting in I Samuel.) Elkanah was his biological father, but, but default, the man was an absentee father.
Is it any wonder that David’s sons exhibited many of the same negative personality traits as Eli and Samuel’s sons?
And then we have Saul. The insecure, mad king, who was also a poor father. This man verbally abused his children and used them as pawns. He offered his first daughter, Merab, as a prize to whomever could slay Goliath. When David accomplished the feat, Saul--true to his bi-polar nature--gave Merab to another man. Then once David accomplished another near impossible Philistine-slaying feat, he was forced to stand by his word and give his younger daughter, Michal, to David as wife. But this didn’t stop the mad king from trying to kill David in his daughter’s bed. And we can imagine that David’s brotherhood with Jonathan was something that, depending on his mood, made Saul equally happy and angry. Happy because this young giant-slayer was his son’s friend. Happy that this young slayer of “ten thousands” was not, in his heart, a threat to Saul’s would-be dynasty. Happy that he could often keep tabs on David while he was in the castle or doing his bidding. But that feeling never lasted. The next moment, he was “eyeing” the young man and inflamed when Jonathan would not share David’s whereabouts with him. Saul loved and hated David, probably until the day he died.
So it was, when David had finished speaking these words to Saul, that Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” And Saul lifted up his voice and wept. Then he said to David: “You are more righteous than I; for you have rewarded me with good, whereas I have rewarded you with evil. And you have shown this day how you have dealt well with me; for when the Lord delivered me into your hand, you did not kill me. For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him get away safely? Therefore may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. And now I know indeed that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. Therefore swear now to me by the Lord that you will not cut off my descendants after me, and that you will not destroy my name from my father’s house.” (I Samuel 224:16-21)
These two men, Saul and Samuel, were David’s father figures--whether he wanted them to be or not. And their mark on his life and, indeed, his household is painstakingly evident.