Growing up in my church, I heard a lot about Generational Curses. It was common to hear friends talking about “alcoholism runs in my family” when you choose to drink. Yet, the more we talked about those curses, the more I started to see their manifestations in my family’s life. The brokenness of their spirits gave me pause, not often knowing what to do.
I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generationsExodus 34:7 (NLT)
I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin.
But I do not excuse the guilty.
I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren;
the entire family is affected—
even children in the third and fourth generations.
Abraham bore Ishmael first then Issac. Ishmael was illegitimate and Issac became the blessed child.
Issac had Esau then Jacob. Jacob tricked the blessings and birthright away from Esau and become Israel.
Jacob (Israel) had twelve children and eventually Joseph, one of the youngest, became the one that would honor his family after being despised by his older siblings.
Judah, one of the twelve kings of Israel, had three boys. The first borns, Er and Onan, were wicked in God’s eyes and died. Judah ends up having twins, Perez and Zerah, with the widow, Tamar. Zerah was thought to be the first born by sticking his hand out first, but Perez ends up being born first.
Spoiler Alert: Perez is a great ancestor of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 1:3)
[Unrelated note: Note that Jesus says the first will be last and the last will be first. (Matthew 20:16) Cool little connection I just noticed.]
This is four generations of familial dysfunction and the failure of birthright to be passed down properly. Abraham, Issac, Israel, and Judah were all liars and tricksters that received their just desserts in due time yet great patriarchs of Christianity. Sarah, Rachel, and Tamar had trouble baring children, with Tamar literally having her husbands die before pregnancy. Sarah and Rebekah were all used to say they were their husband’s sister instead of the truth and so much more. There’s so much dysfunction that it’s amazing but God still used them.
But when did all the troubles stop? When Joseph lived a righteous life.
If, however, he begets a son
Who sees all the sins which his father has done,
And considers but does not do likewise…
But has executed My judgmentsEzekiel 18:14, 17 (NKJV)
And walked in My statutes—
He shall not die for the iniquity of his father;
He shall surely live!
Let’s look at two of the sins that the patriarchs of Israel struggled with: sexual immorality and impatience.
Sexual Immorality (Genesis 39):
It’s clear that Joseph was “handsome in form and appearance”. He was given complete control over Potiphar’s home and access to whatever he desired except his wife. Potiphar’s wife makes a pass at Joseph. After numerous attempts and Joseph literally fleeing from her, he still gets sent to prisoner. Yet, the Lord was still with Joseph.
Impatience (Genesis 40-41):
Joseph was sent to prison but received favor from the prison keeper. It isn’t fully detailed how long he was in prison for, but it is safe to assume for a long time for something he didn’t do. Joseph helps interpret two of the Pharaoh’s Officers’ dreams but is betrayed by the butler and forgotten for two years. At the end of two years, Joseph interprets the Pharaoh’s dream and is elevated to Governor over all of Egypt.
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In as much as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.”Genesis 41:30-40 (NKJV)
Joseph then has a heartwarming but probably exhausting play with his brothers after they come to Egypt for food. Joseph eventually reveals himself to his entire family and brings them all to Egypt. Jacob rejoices with the new knowledge of his once thought dead son, is alive and well. On his deathbed, Israel blesses Joseph’s two children, Ephraim and Manasseh, in reverse order, once again, putting the first last. (Ephraim turns out to be the ancestor of Joshua and King Jeroboam)
Joseph lived to see three generations of his family before his passing and many years of peace. He was blessed by the Lord to be an establisher of the nation of Israel and didn’t experience the same strife that his forefathers lived. Joseph broke his family’s curses by standing rightfully on God. He never took the credit for the Lord, and never forgot his blessings. Joseph is proof that you can establish a new family legacy and not be bound to the past.
How do you break generations of dysfunction and sin? Sins of the father visit but do not have to have a home with the son. Make a decision today to live without it.
This is a lot easier said than done. I’ll talk more about the choice to head in a new direction next time.
Turn Your Brightness Up!