Wednesday, October 19, 2022

The Blessing and Curse Pattern

Big Idea: Choosing God’s way brings blessing. Choosing willfully against God’s ways brings baggage and consequences that are the opposite of blessing. 

Blessings from a Beggar

Shopping at West African market
It was hot so I waited in the shade to be picked up after shopping at the West African market. Islam, the predominant religion there requires giving to those in need. Those in need ask. After awhile one gets a little jaded when the next open hand insistently reaches out.

I was alone that day and exhausted. A very old woman shuffled to me with graying, matted eyes. She held out her hand, not sure if I spoke the language. She said in Maninka, "White lady, please, I need money for food."

I sighed at the interruption, and reached into my bag. I was exhausted from the sun and a busy schedule.  I fumbled through my colorful bag over fruit and canned goods till I reached my money. I grabbed a bill. It was about 15 cents US equivalent at the time but more than what’s usually given a beggar. The woman took it, sighed and moved it in and out focus. Then she looked startled!

“Why, white lady, you have given me much! I shall eat rice today!”

She poured out Maninkan blessings on me including one of my favorites, “May God pour out His blessing on you!” My eyes started watering up with tears. I wanted to scoop her in my arms with love like Jesus surely did with the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8:48). I blurted back “Bless YOU!” but she was already making her way to a rice stand.

A Blessing

Blessing, what does it mean? It is a common word that we use casually within both the church and in secular society.

As with the Tree of Life, the word is used like bookends from Genesis 1 to Revelation. It carries a developing theme. On the fifth day of creation when the living creatures were created God blessed them. God said to the creatures, “Be fruitful and multiply.”

We tend to think of blessing in terms of plenty. It is indeed tied to abundance. It might be financial, but it might be abundance and goodness of family, spiritual strength and peace and so on. The blessing pattern on the patriarchs of Genesis develops quickly to include responsibility for what God has entrusted to them. They are blessed to be a blessing. They are stewards, a responsible party, for what they are given. We should do likewise!

A Curse

Many might think curses are about voodoo or witchcraft with hexes put on people. Rather God allows people to choose their own way and deal with the consequences. One reads in Exodus 11:10 “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.” Pharaoh had hardened his own heart already numerous times. The intent of Exodus 11:10 is that God let Pharaoh’s own hard nature take over, causing its own consequences and difficulties. In the New Testament we have the example of Romans 1:28, giving people over to a depraved mind due to similar stubbornness.

Check out this BibleProject video on the Blessing and Curse for more insight.

[The four blogs for October are based on the four primary patterns (also known as themes) in the movements of Genesis presented by the BibleProject.]

Up next: Exile Pattern
Previous post: Tree of Life Pattern


1. How do you usually use the word blessing? Is it a word you use a lot or not very much? Why?

2. Has this blog given you a new insight on blessing and/or curse as a Biblical pattern? Reflect on this passage from Numbers 6:24-26 and thank God for His blessings offered to you.

“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”

Numbers 6:24-26 NIV

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