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The Blessing

Father’s Day Message, June 15, 2003 (Topical)


Scripture Reading: Genesis 27:1-34


ILLUSTRATION: “Is handwriting on wall for venerable cursive?” Chicago Tribune, Tuesday, June 10, 2003. (Idea that fatherhood, like longhand math and cursive writing, will never go out of significance – in spite of gay marriages, single parenthood, cloning.)

But are fathers owning up to their significance?

ILLUSTRATION: “Parents Do Little About Kids’ Faith Training” George Barna

Those who have missed out on their parents’ blessing have not been enabled emotionally to leave home. They have never been truly ‘accepted’ and therefore cannot build other meaningful and healthy relationships because the one of first importance was not there.

The importance of ‘leaving home’:

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24 NIVUS)

Let us look at another resource, a book by Gary Smalley and John Trent entitled “The Blessing” that opens with a story about a young man’s struggle with his lack of blessing. (page 9-11) [Note: this book was given to me in remembrance of my Father-in-law who himself received it on Father’s Day.]

By the way, blessing in Hebrew means to kneel, to lay hands on, to bestow favor.

The lifelong search for parental blessing will lead many to hope and healing if and when they find it. Providentially, God also provides other means of blessing when the parental blessing is not possible for one reason or another.

The Jewish blessing began with Abraham and was passed on (normally from oldest son to oldest son) through the generations. This was true up until the birth of the Messiah. Now all in Christ can receive the Father’s blessing through his Son and it can be passed on by introducing others to Christ.

“"Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34 NIVUS)


 “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me."” (Luke 7:23 NIVUS)


 “He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."” (Luke 11:28 NIVUS)


 “When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them.” (Luke 24:50 NIVUS)


 “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.” (John 1:16 NIVUS)


 “The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay, is stated in these words: "‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.’” (Acts 13:34 NIVUS)


 “6  David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7  "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8  Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him."” (Romans 4:6-8 NIVUS)


 “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile— the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,” (Romans 10:12 NIVUS)


 “8  The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you." 9  So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” (Galatians 3:8-9 NIVUS)


 “He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.” (Galatians 3:14 NIVUS)


 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3 NIVUS)

Big Question:

What are the major elements of a family blessing such as we see in the OT?

Smalley and Trent give us five major elements: “A family blessing begins with meaningful touching. It continues with a spoken message of high value, a message that pictures a special future for the individual being blessed, and one that is based on an active commitment to see that blessing come to pass.”

I.       Cycle One – Meaningful Touch

          A.      Narrative

          B.      Implication

          C.      Illustration

“Then his father Isaac said to him, "Come here, my son, and kiss me."” (Genesis 27:26 NIVUS)


 “9  "They are the sons God has given me here," Joseph said to his father. Then Israel said, "Bring them to me so I may bless them." 10  Now Israel’s eyes were failing because of old age, and he could hardly see. So Joseph brought his sons close to him, and his father kissed them and embraced them.” (Genesis 48:9-10 NIVUS)


 “But Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn.” (Genesis 48:14 NIVUS)


 “13 ¶ People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14  When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." 16  And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.” (Mark 10:13-16 NIVUS)


 “40 ¶ A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, "If you are willing, you can make me clean." 41  Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" 42  Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.” (Mark 1:40-42 NIVUS)

          D.      Application

Lovers holding/joining hands. Laying on of hands by prophet/transferring sin. Handshake. Lower blood pressure, live longer, protect children from immorality.

II.      Cycle Two – A Spoken Message

          A.      Narrative

Abraham spoke a blessing to Isaac. Isaac spoke it to his son Jacob. Jacob spoke it to each of his twelve sons and to two of his grandchildren. Esau was so excited when he was called in to receive his blessing because, after years of waiting he would finally hear the blessing.

          B.      Implication

This is more than just being present. Silence communicates confusion. Children should not be left to fill in the blanks. Spoken words at least give the impression that the person is worthy of attention.

          C.      Illustration

“And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3 NIVUS)


 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 NIVUS)


 “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21 NIVUS)


 “27 ¶ Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. 28  Do not say to your neighbor, "Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow"— when you now have it with you.” (Proverbs 3:27-28 NIVUS)


 “3  When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4  Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5  Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6  The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” (James 3:3-6 NIVUS)

          D.      Application

Workaholism, withdrawal.

III.    Cycle Three – Attaching “High Value” to the One Being Blessed

          A.      Narrative

“27  So he went to him and kissed him. When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he blessed him and said, "Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the LORD has blessed. 28  May God give you of heaven’s dew and of earth’s richness— an abundance of grain and new wine. 29  May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed."” (Genesis 27:27-29 NIVUS)

          B.      Implication

Loving for who your child is and not for what they can do. Picturing a person’s value beyond performance.

          C.      Illustration

“You are a lion’s cub, O Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness— who dares to rouse him?” (Genesis 49:9 NIVUS)


 “21  "Naphtali is a doe set free that bears beautiful fawns. 22 ¶ "Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall.” (Genesis 49:21-22 NIVUS)


 “All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.” (Genesis 49:28 NIVUS)


 “He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” (Psalms 1:3 NIVUS)


 “How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead.” (Song of Solomon 4:1 NIVUS)

          D.      Application

Using word pictures to bless.

1st key – use as everyday object

2nd key – match the emotional meaning of the trait you are praising with the object you have picked

3rd key – word pictures unravel our defenses

“Do not stare at me because I am dark, because I am darkened by the sun. My mother’s sons were angry with me and made me take care of the vineyards; my own vineyard I have neglected.” (Song of Solomon 1:6 NIVUS)


 “I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.” (Song of Solomon 2:1 NIVUS)

4th key – word pictures point out a person’s potential

“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18 NIVUS)

IV.    Cycle Four – Picturing a Special Future for the One Being Blessed


          A.      Narrative

“28  May God give you of heaven’s dew and of earth’s richness— an abundance of grain and new wine. 29  May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed."” (Genesis 27:28-29 NIVUS)

          B.      Implication

This is not grandiose unattainable expectations that move a person further away from the actualization of the blessing.

Words that picture a special future act like a campfire on a dark night – a beacon of warmth, genuine concern, and fulfilled potential that draws one out of the dark unknown to illuminate a path of hope and purpose.

This brings out the best in those we bless.

          C.      Illustration

“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIVUS)


 “2  In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:2-3 NIVUS)

          D.      Application

The power of words can be absolutely prophetic and liberating.

The law of physics says that water cannot rise above its source. But we must not forget the power of the sun that can evaporate the downward flow at any point and rise it to the top again.

We must follow the example of the Lord to foster faith through his consistency in the past.

“Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,” (Psalms 105:5 NIVUS)


 “For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.” (Psalms 33:9 NIVUS)

We must also demonstrate commitment in the present. Our blessing provides a guiding light to follow.

V.      Cycle Five – An Active Commitment to Fulfill the Blessing

          A.      Narrative

The first four elements are the building blocks of the blessing, but the mortar that holds them together is an active commitment.

“15  Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16  If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:15-16 NIVUS)

          B.      Implication

This is the responsibility that goes with giving the blessing. This is the God behind the blessing we bestow on our children; our reliance on him to fulfill our staying power to confirm our children’s blessing. Words alone cannot fulfill a blessing but must be backed by all things possible to help the one blessed to be successful.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

The 1st step – commit the person being blessed to the Lord.

Isaac Blesses Jacob

“May God give you of heaven’s dew and of earth’s richness— an abundance of grain and new wine.” (Genesis 27:28 NIVUS)

Jacob Blesses His Sons

 “15  Then he blessed Joseph and said, "May the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, 16  the Angel who has delivered me from all harm—may he bless these boys. May they be called by my name and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, and may they increase greatly upon the earth."” (Genesis 48:15-16 NIVUS)

They could call on God to confirm their blessing because they were sure of God’s commitment to them.

To Isaac

“That night the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.”” (Genesis 26:24 NIVUS)

To Jacob

 “13  There above it stood the LORD, and he said: "I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14  Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15  I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you."” (Genesis 28:13-15 NIVUS)

The 2nd step – commit our lives to their best interests.

          Understand their uniqueness.

“All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.” (Genesis 49:28 NIVUS)


 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 NIVUS)

          Training a child means taking a personal interest.

          This also means doing what is best for them – even if it means correcting or disciplining them. This too can be a ‘blessing’. Sometimes we need to balance praise with correction.

“3  "Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, the first sign of my strength, excelling in honor, excelling in power. 4  Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel, for you went up onto your father’s bed, onto my couch and defiled it.” (Genesis 49:3-4 NIVUS)

The 3rd step – become a student of those we wish to bless.

1.     What do they most often daydream about?

2.     When they think of their years as a young adult, what would they really enjoy doing?

3.     Of al the people they have studied in the Bible, who is the person they would most like to be liked, and why?

4.     What do they believe God wants them to do for humankind?

5.     What type of boyfriend or girlfriend are they most attracted to, and why?

6.     What is the best part of their school day, and what is the worst?

“A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” (Proverbs 15:30 NIVUS)

          Bright eyes gladden the heart. Do our eyes ‘light up’ when we listen to those we wish to bless? Parents need to realize that their children are incredibly complicated people. If we were to begin today to list all their wishes, goals, opinions and dreams, it would take a lifetime. And that is just the right amount of time needed to finish the course on becoming a student of your loved one.

Want to be accountable? Take time to ask your children how you are doing in terms of giving them the blessing. Be prepared to pay the price in terms of time, energy and effort that it takes to see the blessing become a reality in their lives.


Read “Daddy’s Blessing” by Randy and Lisa Wilson and challenge fathers to do likewise with their children.

Some helpful suggestions:

-         Since the last blessing, what has this child said or done that reflects obedience, trust, or worship of God?

-         Can the meaning of this child’s name be applied to something he or she did or said this week?

-         What words does this child need to hear to feel loved?

-         What is this child good at?

-         What is this child’s greatest joy?

-         What is this child’s greatest fear?

-         How would I describe this child with one word?

-         What does this child bring to our family that no one else does?

Big Answer:

What are the major elements of a family blessing such as we see in the OT?

A family blessing begins with meaningful touching. It continues with a spoken message of high value, a message that pictures a special future for the individual being blessed, and one that is based on an active commitment to see that blessing come to pass.

Timeless Truth:

The value of a parent is apparent – that to bless is to caress the soul.

Get ready for a life-changing moment. The blessing may be the single most powerful memory your children will leave home with. Light the candle --- of their hearts!

Fatherhood never goes out of style.

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