Does God Curse and Then Forgive?
An example of restoration is found in Isaiah 43:22-28, where God says, “I am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins”. This passage not only tells the people to plead together with God to be justified, but also identifies God as the source of the reproaches, defilement, and curse of Israel. I present this passage in the New King James Version for the sake of using the Strong’s reference for the word translated as profaned in verse 28.
Isaiah 43:22-28 (NKJV)
22 "But you have not called upon Me, O Jacob; And you have been weary of Me, O Israel. 23 You have not brought Me the sheep for your burnt offerings, Nor have you honored Me with your sacrifices. I have not caused you to serve with grain offerings, Nor wearied you with incense. 24 You have bought Me no sweet cane with money, Nor have you satisfied Me with the fat of your sacrifices; But you have burdened Me with your sins, You have wearied Me with your iniquities. 25 "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins. 26 Put Me in remembrance; Let us contend together; State your case, that you may be acquitted. 27 Your first father sinned, And your mediators have transgressed against Me. 28 Therefore I will profane the princes of the sanctuary; I will give Jacob to the curse, And Israel to reproaches.
The problem began, according to verses 27 and 28, with the sin of the “first father” (probably referring to Adam). It was propagated by the teachers of Israel. (Remember that Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, so there is a dual reference to Jacob personally and the nation or people of Israel.) The curse, reproaches, and defilement came about as a result of this sin. Verse 28 refers to being “profaned,” meaning “breaking one’s word” (Strong’s OT:2490 ll^j*, chalal [khaw-lal’]). This word has the Piel stem, which is in the intensive active in mood. This indicates a deliberate, rather than passive, action.
The question is this: Who is doing the deliberate activity of profaning or breaking of his or her word? Is it God breaking His word with intent, or was it the “princes of the sanctuary” who profaned and broke their word through sin?
The word translated as profaned is Strong’s OT:2490 and does not specify that the personal pronoun “ I ” be attached to its use.
Strong’s OT:2490 - “Therefore I have profaned” - ll^j,* chalal (khaw-lal’)
a primitive root [compare OT:2470]; properly, to bore, i.e. (by implication) to wound, to dissolve; figuratively, to profane (a person, place or thing), to break (one’s word), to begin (as if by an “opening wedge”); denom. (from OT:2485) to play (the flute):
KJV - begin (men began), defile, break, defile, eat (as common things), first, gather the grape thereof, take inheritance, pipe, player on instruments, pollute, (cast as) profane (self), prostitute, slay (slain), sorrow, stain, wound.
In the vast majority of the 143 instances in which this Hebrew word appears in the King James Version, it is not associated with the word, “ I.” Compare the New King James rendering to one in which the implied “ I ” is removed.
Isaiah 43:27-28 (NKJV)
Your first father sinned, And your mediators (teachers) have transgressed against Me. Therefore I will profane the princes of the sanctuary; I will give Jacob to the curse, And Israel to reproaches.
This passage might be read as follows if the reference to “ I ” is removed, not attributing to God the blame for the afflictions.
Isaiah 43:27-28 (Implied “ I ” removed and arranged for easier reading)
Your first father hath sinned, and you mediators (teachers) have transgressed against Me. Therefore have the princes of the sanctuary profaned, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches.
The choice to attach the personal pronoun “ I ” to the word is subject to the perspective of the translator.
If the assumption is made from the outset that God both blesses and curses, God will be found guilty of pronouncing curses and destruction.
On the other hand, if the assumption is made that God is offering blessings to man and that there is an adversary seeking to destroy man, the inferred “ I ” would not be written, and God would not receive the blame for these actions.
The “profaning” or “breaking of one’s word” was not on God’s part. He always holds up His end no matter what. He does not curse. Cursing is the result of sin.
The problem was then and always will be with humans not holding up their end of the bargain.
So does God curse and then forgive? No, God reveals sin, forgives and restores.
May God richly bless you in all that you do! - Dr Rich Masek
I invite you to read Ideolatry - God Is Not Your Problem - The Character and Nature of God to go deeper into this subject.
Chapter 10 - REASON, REMEMBRANCE AND RESTORATION
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