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Read:  Genesis 49

Remember the dilemma of Abraham?  He had to choose Isaac over Ishmael, and send his son by Hagar away. God, not Abraham, would bless Hagar and Ishmael, and their future.  Only Isaac would receive Abraham’s blessing. 

In the next generation Rebecca and her son, Jacob, deceived the patriarch Isaac and stole Esau’s blessing as the oldest son.  It tore the family apart and sent Jacob fleeing for his life. Isaac was only willing to bless one of his sons.

It’s Jacob’s turn; he is the family elder and patriarch. He knows his days are coming to an end and he wants to give his blessing.  But Jacob breaks with tradition.  Jacob blesses all of his sons!  YES!  For generations the assumption was that the conveying of God’s blessing, was like the traditional giving of family blessings, that is, limited and determined by birth order. But nowhere is God’s blessing limited in this way, and Jacob seems to realize it.  He blesses all of his sons, in proportion to their faith. The blessings are unconventional, a bit prophetic, and speak of reward or punishment, for their level of faithfulness.  The blessings also reflect the role these tribes will have in the future, (in 400+ years) when they enter the promised land.

What about you and your blessing?  What final words, thoughts, wishes, and blessings would you convey to your children?  The ancients understood that words had great power, for good or for ill.  They believed in both blessings and curses by the power of the spoken word. We don’t believe in “magic” words for blessings or curses, but we have too often failed to realize the power of our words.  The words we speak to our children, and the tone of those words, are powerful.

When a baby is to be baptized I encourage the parents to memorialize that event:  take pictures and video, have a party, and to write a letter to the baby about their hopes and dreams for their child’s future, including growing in faith (the letter being sealed until the child becomes an adult).  Why do we tend to think of blessings with scarcity rather than with abundance?  Why do we think it must wait until the deathbed?  Be generous with your blessings, and loving in your thoughts, prayers, actions and words.  A blessing or a curse is still a very powerful thing.

Shalom,

Pastor Rob Nystrom