20 January 2017
Reading: Genesis 49-50; Psalm 8; Luke 20
These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and these are the blessings with which Jacob blessed his twelve sons. Each received a blessing that was appropriate to him. (Genesis 49:28 NLT)
The entire 49th chapter of Genesis is the record of Jacob’s specific blessings on his individual sons and their descendants, spoken just before his death. These blessings were actually prophecies about them and what would happen to their tribes in the future. Jacob spoke out of his knowledge of his sons, out of his role as head of the family, and out of insight given by God’s Spirit.
Even though they are five years apart in age, both my daughters left home at the same time, in 1988, when we were living in Kingston, Jamaica. Stephanie, our older daughter, who had been at University in Missouri, had come back to tutor missionary children and help us at the Bible Training Centre in Kingston. When our younger daughter, Melissa, graduated from high school in Kingston, both she and Stephanie moved to Atlanta to begin the next chapter in their lives. Before they left, I took several days thinking and praying about an appropriate Father’s Blessing for each of them. I crafted a unique and appropriate blessing, spoke it, and then gave each of them a written copy of her blessing.
The words spoken by parents, teachers, in fact by anyone in authority or of significant influence, are powerful in the ears and hearts of the hearers. Words are powerful for good or for harm, for blessing or for cursing. Unfortunately, those powerful words are often chosen carelessly, spoken thoughtlessly, even spoken in anger or frustration.
Jacob wisely, prayerfully, and confidently spoke words of prophetic blessing to each of his children. Let’s not wait until the end of life to think about the words we speak to those we influence. Let’s carefully and prayerfully speak words of appropriate blessing to our spouses, our children—to each person and to all the persons we influence.
Father, May my words to my family, my friends, my co-workers, and all with whom I engage in conversation, be words of appropriate blessing for each of them. May my words be carefully chosen and thoughtfully spoken. May I speak blessing and may I be a blessing. Amen.