Read Genesis 27:26-37
It’s been three weeks since we looked at Genesis chapter 27. When we did we looked at the story of Jacob stealing the blessing in its entirety. Today I want to revisit this chapter and explore Isaac’s blessing and blessings in general. Specifically we’ll look at four aspects of a parents blessing upon his or her child: touch, appraisal, positive prediction, and continued commitment.
Blessings are a big deal. So serious is the Jewish tradition concerning blessings that it’s written in the Talmud: “It is forbidden to taste of the pleasures of this world without a blessing.” A father or mother’s blessing upon his or her child is one of the most important types of blessings of all. As a parent, you and I can learn from Isaac’s pronounced blessing.
Verses 26 and 27 say, Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come here, my son, and kiss me.” So he went to him and kissed him.
So we see that Isaac began his blessing with a touch.
You might not realize it but touching people is one of the most powerful means of blessing people that you have. Studies on touch show that patients touched by their doctor perceived their visits to have lasted twice as long as patients who weren’t touched. Students who were touched by their teachers were twice as likely to volunteer in class. The human touch can ease depression. The human touch can improve relationships.
In a Cal Berkley study touches among teammates on NBA teams were measured. Among all NBA teams the top two touchers were the Boston Celtics and the L.A. Lakers — the last two NBA champions at the time of the study. New York Times .
A former counselor once told me that a patient of his came back to visit him a few years after her counseling sessions had ended. She was doing extremely well and credited my counselor friend with her improvement.
“What was it that made the difference?” he asked, “The wisdom I shared? My insights into your family life perhaps?”
“No,” she replied. “It was the hugs.”
Imagine with me what it must have meant to the leper that Jesus touched in Mark chapter 1. In Jewish society at that time, it was illegal to touch a leper — illegal. Lepers walked while speaking the warning, “Outcast, unclean. Outcast, unclean,” so people could stay clear and completely avoid any possibility of touching. It’s hard to think of someone who would crave the touch of another human being more. Disregarding man’s law Jesus reached out. His physical touch accomplished amazing things with the leper. I want to encourage you to get in the habit of physically touching those you love. And beyond that, find others who will be encouraged by your touch — you know who they are. Show people God’s love. Do as Jesus did — touch them.
A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.
Also when the people took their children to Jesus he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:16)
In our story in Genesis 27, when it came time to pronounce the blessing, Isaac began with a touch. Mom, dad, you can make such a difference in the life of your kids if you make a point of showing them love through pure and tender touching. And specifically, when you pronounce blessing upon them, touch them while doing so.
Verse 27 says that …he blessed him and said, “Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the LORD has blessed.”
When I was a firefighter one of my coworkers who was responsible to perform employee performance evaluations always used to title them with the words “Performance Appraisal.” I liked that. Appraisal sounds so much more affirming and encouraging than the word evaluation. I think that’s the idea behind this part of Isaac’s blessing. He gives an assessment, in a positive and encouraging way, of how he, Isaac, perceives his son. Dad, mom, you’ll do well if you do the same. Sharing your wisdom and insight into your son or daughter’s strengths will help them to become aware of what gifts they’ve been given by the LORD. You might be surprised at how your son or daughter responds if he or she hears on a regular basis, “These are the talents that God has blessed you with. This is what is great about you!”
3) Positive Prediction
“May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness—an abundance of grain and new wine. 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.” (verses 28-29)
Not only will our kids benefit from hearing what we see in them presently but they’ll also benefit from hearing what we see in their future.
A few years before pastor Chuck Smith, of Calvary Chapel fame, was born his sister stopped breathing when she succumbed to spinal meningitis. His mother, in a panic, carried her to a church just a few blocks from their home where the pastor there told her to take her eyes off her daughter and to focus on Jesus. So, taking the pastor’s advice, Mrs. Smith prayed to Jesus fervently. She told Him that she’d serve Him in ministry or any other way He desired if He would only heal her daughter. And her daughter, Chuck’s sister, Virginia was indeed healed. A few years later Chuck was born and his mother told the Lord that it was through Chuck that she would fulfill her vow. From that point forward she treated her son Chuck as a pastor in training! She read scripture to him often. She taught him to read by the age of four and had Chuck read scripture to her. She treated him as though he were destined for ministry and of course he ultimately became one of the most influential pastors of our generation. Chuck started Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa which, in and of itself, would be a great accomplishment for anyone. But beyond that, as a result of Chuck’s influence, today there are 1,400 Calvary Chapel style churches in the United States alone. (See 1/5/2012 Greg Laurie interview with Chuck Smith)
My pastor talks often of the environment you find in the home of an Orthodox Jewish family. In such a family the parents talk about their grade school age kids as though they’ve already become a doctor, or a lawyer, or a scientist. Perhaps that’s part of the reason why there are a disproportionately greater number of Jewish doctors, lawyers, and scientists! I’m not a name it and claim it guy but there’s definitely a positive dynamic that occurs when we talk to our kids about the positive possibilities for their future.
4) Continued Commitment
After Isaac blessed Jacob Esau showed up and, concerning Jacob, Isaac told him, “I blessed him—and indeed he will be blessed!” (v. 33)
When Jacob asked Isaac what blessings there might be left available for him Isaac answered Esau, “I have made him lord over you and have made all his relatives his servants, and I have sustained him with grain and new wine. So what can I possibly do for you, my son?” (v. 37)
We see here that Isaac is committed to standing by his blessing. He’s committed to supporting Jacob regardless of opposition, difficulties, or trouble.
I know of a man who for years rose up every morning before work and quietly made his way to the bedroom of each of his sons. One at a time he laid his hands on them and prayed blessing on them. This man’s sons are grown now, they’re adults — and every one of them is greatly blessed.
We can bless our children–and indeed they will be blessed if we make a continued commitment to them through prayer.
This is what Job did for his children when early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them… (Job 1:5)
The Anatomy of a Pronounced Blessing
I would encourage you to practice pronouncing blessing upon your children. Blessing that incorporates the four dimensions of a blessing discussed in this post. And beyond that I would encourage you in day to day life to touch your kids in a pure, loving, and tender way. To appraise them, share with them your insights into the gifts and talents that God’s blessed them with. To offer positive predictions of what they’re future holds. And to continually commit to them in prayer.
It’s God’s pattern for you and for me on how we can bless our kids demonstrated by Isaac. Follow His pattern and your kids will be blessed indeed.
And so will you.
The Ultimate Blessing
Jacob disguised himself as Esau in order to trick his father into blessing him but you and I don’t have to do that. For you to be blessed you can approach the One who possesses the ultimate blessing just as you are. In fact the very purpose of His blessing prescribes that He accept you as you are, with all your faults and flaws and failures. Because Jesus died for all of your faults, flaws, and failures — so you can be reconciled to God. So it doesn’t matter what you’ve done or what you are. You can come to Him for help.
Do you surf porn? Bring yourself to Him.
Are capable but not providing for your family? Come to Christ.
Are you filled with anger? Go to Him.
Are you filled with pride? Give yourself to Jesus.
Are you filled with pride or envy? Surrender yourself to Him.
26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come here, my son, and kiss me.”
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 heaven’s dew
and 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.”
30 After Isaac finished blessing him, and Jacob had scarcely left his father’s presence, his brother Esau came in from hunting. 31 He too prepared some tasty food and brought it to his father. Then he said to him, “My father, please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.”
32 His father Isaac asked him, “Who are you?”
“I am your son,” he answered, “your firstborn, Esau.”
33 Isaac trembled violently and said, “Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him—and indeed he will be blessed!”
34 When Esau heard his father’s words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me—me too, my father!”
35 But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing.”
36 Esau said, “Isn’t he rightly named Jacob? This is the second time he has taken advantage of me: He took my birthright, and now he’s taken my blessing!” Then he asked, “Haven’t you reserved any blessing for me?”
37 Isaac answered Esau, “I have made him lord over you and have made all his relatives his servants, and I have sustained him with grain and new wine. So what can I possibly do for you, my son?”