The Bible is big (duh) and for decades I couldn’t get a handle on what it was really about. There was an Old Testament, that had cool stories about the creation of the earth, God speaking to people and the great miracles done in Egypt, but it also had stories of incest, rape, war, murder and adultery. And there was the New Testament, that had the amazing gospels about Jesus, the awesome book of Acts, but had a bunch of books that I couldn’t understand, written to ancient churches. Over the years I understood it better but I didn’t get an overall picture until I was a missionary in the Himalayas.
I’m a doctor and on one day I was making door-to-door visits when I became engaged in conversation over a cup of local tea. A man in the house told me that he believed that God had cursed his family. His son and brother had been killed by the war that year, the village water supply was contaminated by sewage (I’d rather not tell you where they all had to go to the bathroom), there was tuberculosis in the community meaning that anyone could catch it, the corn crop no longer produced ears, etc. It was a long list of really bad stuff but this was the first time I had heard someone say that they were cursed.
After being shocked by the comment I realized that the word cursed was the same word that God used when Adam and Eve sinned: Cursed is the ground because of you. (Genesis 3:17) That was at the very beginning of my Bible, on the second page, and I actually took out my Bible, read him the verse and used it as a way to point to Jesus as the Curse-breaker.
God has placed a curse on he entire world and we are still in it.
Over the next few days of research I also realized that the word curse is used again on the last page of the Bible. In the book of Revelation, John describes his vision of the world after Satan has been defeated and the world has been restored to the way that it was (it is actually a new world). He tells about how beautiful and peaceful it is and then he says, no longer will there be any curse. (Revelation 22:3)
When he comes back to restore all things he will remove the curse.
God talks about the beginning of the curse at the very beginning of the Bible and talks about the end of the curse at the very end of the Bible. There are other ways to understand the Bible, but you can’t deny that the Bible is a story about a curse that is on the earth, and this explains why we have earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanoes, AIDS and TB and even death.
If you are saved, then you have a powerful hope of heaven, the ultimate reprieve from the curse, but most people of the earth do not have that hope. Therefore, let’s not forget the world that still suffers from the physical effects of the curse and those that don’t know about God’s plan of rescue from the curse. We are going to heaven and nothing can take that away, but what about them?
Main points: The earth is under a curse from God until Jesus returns. Billions around the world suffer from the physical and spiritual effects of this curse. So what: To what degree is our Christian activity directed towards those cursed ones who don’t even know that there is a cure named Jesus? What percentage of your resources, and your churches resources--prayer, money and time--is spent on behalf of those who suffer the spiritual and physical effects of the curse? 51%, 20%, <2%?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.