Effects of the Curse – Romans 8:18-25

Creation Groans In Anticipation For The Return Of The King

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Eager Expectation

Paul gives us some indications of what the creation is experiencing due to the sin of man.  It is interesting that creation itself is experiencing an expectation for the children of God to be revealed.  For it is only after ALL of the children of God are revealed will Christ come to redeem creation and burn with fire the curse that has been placed upon it.  Just as we are baptized with the fire of the Spirit, creation will be baptized with fire when then elements melt away.

Forcefully Frustrated

Up until now, creation has been frustrated by the curse placed upon it by God:

17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’

“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
18It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”

The Earth, and everything upon it, is under the curse.  It doesn’t do what it is supposed to do.  It is unable to reach its potential.  While many say that even the stars are “inanimate objects”, scripture indicates that day after day they pour forth speech.  Even the plants are to respond to God.

Bondage to Blight

There is decay in the world.  Iron turns to rust.  Cement crumbles to dust after centuries.  Mold, mildew, and other bacterial agents infect and destroy.  Disease strikes everywhere.  Prior to the curse, there would have been no “dis-ease”.  Even now, we see the effects of decay in everything that is around us.  The scientific name is Entropy.  Systems in order have a tendency to move towards chaos (not the other way around – that requires an intelligent force redirecting the efforts of the cursed physical material).    All of creation is in bondage to decay that the curse has wrought.

Great Groaning

Paul indicates that the creation is groaning.  That seems odd to us, since we don’t hear it with our ears.  But even Jesus said that the creation speaks to us:

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

Even we who are redeemed groan in anticipation of the return of Christ.  Facing sin day in and day out is mentally, physically, emotionally, and psychologically draining.  Walking in the world with the curse constantly interfering with every aspect of reality – including relationships, business, health, hopes, and dreams, along with the flaming arrows from the enemy, life can be draining and miserable.  Those who are “in the thick of it” long for the day when curse of sin is broken, and the glory and righteousness of God is revealed to all of the world, and that which was corrupted is finally redeemed by the one who paid the ultimate price.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Do I long for the return of Jesus?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, Your creation speaks to us.  The heavens declare Your glory, and creation reveals your eternal power and divine nature.  Help me to draw close to You today, Father.  Give me a greater sense of Your power and presence in my life.  Reveal to me what You would have me do, and help me to have such a longing in my heart for the return of Jesus that it aches for it.  Remember me today and help me to draw close to You.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

The Peace of Israel – Psalm 122:6-9

Those Who Bless Israel Will Be Blessed And Those Who Curse Israel Will Be Cursed

6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure.
7 May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels.”
8 For the sake of my family and friends,
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your prosperity.

Pray for Peace

There is a blessing and a curse in Genesis concerning Israel.  Those who bless her will be blessed, and those who curse will be cursed.  The Israelites are The Lord God Almighty’s chosen people.  He has seen them through wars, famines, earthquakes and every imaginable disaster and tragedy, including the Holocaust.  Everyone who has welcomed her and sought (and still seeks) her prosperity has been blessed by God.  And everyone who has (and still currently) seeks her destruction is being cursed by God.

Israel is the apple in God’s eye.  She is the jewel that He desires to use to show the world His goodness and grace.  Out of her came Jesus Christ, His appointed Savior.  God seeks her peace, and after almost two thousand years of being scattered to the four winds, God kept His promise and restored her to the land that He had given to her millennia before.  The fulfillment of this prophecy greatly angers the enemies of God, who greatly desire the destruction of her people.

Because of the hatred of her enemies, and because God is good and gracious, all who love God should love her and her people, and pray day and night that she be kept safe, and that her people would find peace.  If any harbor anger at her, this is unresolved unforgiveness in their hearts, and they need to take this before the Lord to have it dealt with.

Safe and Secure

Even now, Israel and her people are under a constant barrage and attack by the descendants of Ishmael.  Sarai, Abraham’s wife, was impatient with God, and offered Hagar to Abraham to start a nation.  And Abraham had a son through Hagar.  Here is the Bible’s description of him:

11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:

“You are now pregnant
and you will give birth to a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,
for the Lord has heard of your misery.
12 He will be a wild donkey of a man;
his hand will be against everyone
and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
toward all his brothers.”

Because of his nature, and the nature of his descendants, we should be praying for the safety and peace of Israel.  As long as the descendants of Ishmael are alive, they will forever torment, harass, harangue, bombard, murder, and try to destroy the descendants of Ishmael’s half-brother through Issac, and his descendants through Jacob, now Israel.

Make no mistake about it.  Ask any truly evil person the best way to hurt someone, and they will all tell you, without fail, that the best way to hurt someone is to hurt the ones that they love.  God’s love for his chosen people is immense.  It is only proper that the enemies of God, who cannot touch Him in His dwelling place, would make every effort, with every breath on their lips that they grudgingly receive from Him, plot to cause harm, destruction, pain, and misery to God’s children.

Indirect Impact

Besides seeking the welfare of God’s nation of Israel and her people for the sake of loving God, there is an indirect impact when this occurs.  God has PROMISED to bless those who bless her, and curse those who curse her.  This should make everyone pause and reconsider their position on Israel (either to strengthen their opinion for her, or to change their opinion from being against her).

Just about everyone seeks the blessing of God.  Although many worship anything and everything BUT the One True God, YHWH, they seek the blessing nonetheless.  Apart from Satanists, Anarchists, and Death Cults, just about everyone else is seeking blessing from the one or thing who/that they worship.

We seek the blessing of Israel because God loves them.  But it personally benefits us when we do so.  Although this may seem self-serving, for anyone who desires to be blessed by God who is in leadership of nations, they might want to seriously consider the impact that blessing Israel (in terms of friendship, financial aid, as well as military aid) might bring to their nation as opposed to ambivalence or antipathy.

Woe of Worship

The Psalmist says that the reason they are seeking the prosperity of Israel is for the house of the Lord.  For almost two millennia, since the Romans tore down the Temple of God in Jerusalem, the Israelites have not had a temple where they could worship.  In 688 C.E., the Fundamentalist Adherents to Islam (FAI) built the Dome of the Rock on the former temple Court of the Gentiles, and have greatly afflicted the Israelites ever since.

The good news is that the presence of God moved from the temple to the people when Jesus Christ, the Messiah, King of king and Lord of lords was obedient to God, was crucified, buried, and resurrected three days later.  He paved the way for the Holy Spirit to come and indwell all who would believe God, and who God then credited to them as righteousness.

God will soon reveal His Son as Messiah to the entire Israelite nation once He has gathered all who would return home again.  And when that happens, they will forget about the Solomon and Herod temples, because they will then realize that THEY are the temples (naos*) of God!

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I actively seeking the welfare of Israel?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have sovereignly chosen the Israelites as Your people.  Thank You for grafting me in to the True Vine, Jesus Christ, who feeds the native branches of Israel as well as the wild branches of the Gentiles.  Father, I pray that You would bless, protect, and prosper Your chosen people in Israel.  Grant the descendants of Jacob peace on every side.  Draw them back to the land that You gave to them millennia ago as their inheritance, and provide for their welfare mightily.  Sovereignly push her enemies back far away from her, and as David would say, “break their teeth” – destroy their strength that gives them the ability to harm her.  Father, whom You love, may I love just as much.  Help me to do anything and everything that I and my family can to seek and ensure the peace and prosperity of Israel.  And in this pursuit, bless and protect me from my enemies and her enemies, as they will surely turn their vitriol and abject hatred in my direction as well.  This I ask in the precious name of my one and only Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?


*Notes:  The Greek word naos used here is not just the temple, but a specific part of the temple – it is the Holy of Holies.  This was where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, and was the area of the temple where the presence of God dwelt.  In pre-resurrection times, only the High Priest of Israel could enter once a year to offer the sacrifice for the sins of the nation.  When Jesus died, the veil was torn, and symbolically ended the separation 0f man from God in worship and repentance of sins.

The Holy Spirit now indwells ALL believers, and because the container where the presence of God resides is the temple, our bodies are now the temple housing His Spirit.  When God reveals Jesus Christ as the Messiah to the Jews, they will no longer need to offer the ritual sacrifices for sin because they will accept that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection was the fulfillment of the temple sacrifice, His perfect, sinless blood as the final and permanent sacrifice for all of their sin, past, present, and future.