Then we come to another tremendously important area. Perhaps the most common of all, what I call self-imposed curses. People pronounce curses on themselves. In Genesis 27 we have the story of how Isaac was going to bless Esau and the mother Rebekah who is the first Yiddish yamama, if you know what Yiddish yamama is, switched them and she got Jacob acting like Esau and claiming the blessing. Jacob wasn’t reluctant but he was afraid and he said this in verse 11:
“Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Look, Esau my brother is a hairy man and I am a smooth skinned man. Perhaps my father will feel me and I shall seem to be a deceiver to him and I shall bring a curse on myself and not a blessing. But his mother said to him, Let your curse be on me, my son.”
She took on herself the curse that would have been to Jacob. It was a self-imposed curse. If you go to the end of the chapter, just the last verse, you’ll find Rebekah beginning to use very negative language about herself. Rebekah said to Isaac in verse 46:
“I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob takes a wife of the daughters of Heth, like those who are daughters of the land, what good will my life be to me?”
“I’m tired of living. What’s the good of living?” That’s a typical statement by somebody who is under a curse. See? Never permit yourself to say that. Don’t make negative statements about yourself. Don’t say I’ll never be able to do this. I never succeed. I’m no use. I’m a failure. I just can’t take it anymore. And then you go on and you say I wish I were dead. I’d be better off dead. Do you know what you’re doing? You’re inviting the spirit of death. And he doesn’t take many invitations.
Ruth and I have dealt with countless people who needed to be delivered from the spirit of death because they’d invited it, they imposed a curse upon themselves. And we’ve learned one beautiful verse that has helped hundreds of people. I’ll share it with you, Psalm 118:17:
“I shall not die, but live, and declare [or proclaim] the works of the Lord.”
If you have made a negative remark about yourself, if you’ve imposed something negative on yourself, you need to revoke it by the positive. You see, as a remarkable example you know that Peter denied three times he knew the Lord. Later on after the resurrection beside the Sea of Galilee Jesus had a personal talk with Peter. And three times he said, “Do you love me?” He made Peter affirm three times that he loved him. Why did he do that? Because Peter had to revoke the negative statements he’d made before the crucifixion. See? So if we’ve said something negative and brought some dark shadow over us, we need to revoke the negative and replace it by the positive. And this verse is a perfect one. “I shall not die . . .” It doesn’t mean you’ll never die but it means that Satan is not going to kill you before your time.
“I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.” I think it would be good for all of us to say that. The first time you say it after me. “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.” Now let’s all say it together this time. “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.” Once more. “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.” Now saying that may change the destiny of your life.
All right. Let’s go on to another example, the great tragedy of the Jewish history. In Matthew 27 Jesus is before Pilate and Pilate is willing to release him. We read in Matthew 27:24–25:
“When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather a tumult was rising, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: you see to it. And all the people answered and said, His blood be on us and on our children.”
What’s that? A self-imposed curse. The great tragedy of Jewish history. And by those words a strand of tragedy was woven into Jewish history which was run for nineteen centuries. What a lesson not to say the wrong thing about ourselves.
I pointed out to you previously that God had protected Abraham against curses. He said, “Anyone that curses you, I will curse.” There’s just one area that God could not protect the Jewish people from, from themselves. And that’s true in our lives many times. God can protect us from everything except what we say about ourselves.