Read Genesis 49
Focus on verse 28
It is hard to believe that it has been nearly a decade already since my father died. I am grateful for the fond memories I have of him, and for the way he encouraged me to pursue the call to ministry. I suspect it was somewhat disappointing to him that I abandoned what we had initially thought was my passion, that being, inheriting the small farm he spent his life developing. Despite that possible disappointment, I never once felt that he was disappointed in me. Regardless of his own feelings, it seemed to me that he always encouraged and supported the direction my life had taken even when it became apparent that taking over the farm was not part of that plan.
In today’s reading we find Israel (formerly known as Jacob) on his deathbed speaking his blessing over each of his twelve sons.
All these are the twelve tribes of Israel. This is what their father said to them as he blessed them, blessing each with the blessing suitable to him.(v. 28)
The blessing a father gave to his children was then, and continues to be of great importance, whether the father and/or the sons acknowledge it or not. The father who ignores this does immeasurable harm to his children. Children who slight their father’s blessing reap the consequences of that disregard as we see in the account of Jacob and Esau. It is interesting that not all the blessings Jacob pronounces over his sons are positive. He actually curses the anger of Simeon and Levi! What Jacob does in this instance is what might in some circles be considered giving them a “prophetic word”. Whatever one may choose to call it, it is what it is, and as we look ahead at the twelve tribes and who they become and where they settle in Canaan after the exodus, it proves to be an accurate prophecy in each case.
The point here however, is not the prophetic nature of Jacob’s blessing as much as it is the importance of a father’s blessing in the lives of his children, particularly his sons. Too many young men I have known who spend the greater part of their lives trying to gain the approval of a father who did not recognize this reality. How much more important for us all to realize that our heavenly Father desires also to bless us with His blessing if we will only receive it.