Monday, January 08, 2018

The power of a blessing

Jacob leaves home - Artist unknown
Jacob leaves home - Artist unknown
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Genesis 25-28

TO CHEW ON: " ' May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples.' " Genesis 28:3 NIV

The answer to Isaac and Rebekah's prayers, the twins Esau and Jacob, are who we read about today. Theirs sounds like a toxic family where father and mother favor different children. Mother and son #2 trick father and son #1 out of bestowing and receiving the blessing usually reserved for the firstborn son. In such a less-than-perfect beginning the destiny of nations is set.

This incident contains three blessings.
- The blessing Isaac gives to Jacob (thinking he is blessing Esau) - Genesis 27:27-29.
- The blessing Isaac speaks over Esau (after the one he has planned for him is spoken over Jacob) Genesis 27:39-40.
- The blessing with which Isaac sends Jacob away from home - Genesis 28:3-4.

["Bless: behrahch #1288 - To bless, salute, congratulate, thank, praise, to kneel down. In OT times, one got down on his knees when preparing to speak or receive words of blessing … From God's side, he is the Blesser, the One who gives the capacity for living a full rich life" - Dick Mills, Word Wealth, New Spirit-Filled Live Bible NIV, Kindle location 126,606.]

Several things strike me as I read about these blessings.

1. They are a big deal. Esau is distraught when he discovers Jacob has tricked Isaac into giving him the firstborn's blessing (Genesis 27:34).

2. The words of blessings, once spoken, cannot be retracted. My Bible's notes expand:
"The ancients knew far better than we moderns about the power of the spoken word. A blessing, a curse, a creative word, a destructive word, can all have great effects when spoken in faith" - R. Russell Bixler, notes on Genesis, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, KL 9792.

3. These blessings address the big picture and change the course of history.
  • Isaac's inadvertent blessing of Jacob contains a blessing of spiritual prosperity (Genesis 27:28), political supremacy (Genesis 27:29), and a curse on enemies (Genesis 27:29).
  • Isaac's blessing of Esau is as big as he can make it without contradicting his words to Jacob. The conflict predicted between his descendants (the Arabs) and the descendants of Jacob (the Jews) continues to this day.
  • Isaac's blessing on sending Jacob away is warm and expansive, pronouncing a blessing of many children and an inherited land.

Though we don't have a custom of bestowing blessings on our children in a formal way, we do bless and curse them when we praise or belittle them, tell them they have what it takes or give them the message we think they are failures. Let's watch our words to them. We can also bless them even when they're not present as we pray into their futures. We have no idea of the impact our words of blessing or cursing will have on their histories, let alone the destinies of our families, communities, nation, even the world.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to bless my children and grandchildren with positive words and faith-filled prayers. Amen.



  Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Thanks for reading! This year we are using The Bible Project "Timeless Reading Plan" to read through the Bible in 2018. If you'd like to read along in your own Bible, you can download a pdf of the reading plan HERE.

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