Read Genesis 48:15-16.
Jacob Blesses His Family
“May the God before whom my fathers
Abraham and Isaac walked faithfully,
the God who has been my shepherd
all my life to this day,
the Angel who has delivered me from all harm
—may he bless these boys.”
How to Bless Your Family
An independent filmmaker told me a story recently about a shoot he did, here in Southern Oregon, just a few months ago. One day they were scheduled to film at the top of Mount Baldy in the Applegate Valley. It’s a very remote location, in fact, the director and his wife found themselves ten feet from a mountain lion a few weeks prior to the shoot, when they first scouted the area (fortunately the mountain lion fled).
The cast and crew had to hike a long single track trail, carrying a considerable amount of camera gear and other equipment, to access this location at the top. After a long day of shooting, they finished around dusk, and it was time to hike back down the mountain.
With darkness approaching, they were about halfway down when the director suddenly stopped and said, “Hold it. This is wrong. We’re on the wrong path.”
“No, we’re not,” his crew replied.
“Yes we are,” the director said. “We have to go back uphill to find the right way.”
So this cast and crew, who were exhausted from the hike up earlier in the day, and from the long day of shooting — how do you think they reacted?
Well they didn’t want to believe it. They didn’t want to hear it. They complained against the director. They wanted the path they were on to be the one that would lead them home, because it was easier, because it was downhill, because they had momentum. They were already heavily invested in their present path, they had already come so far. The only problem was, as badly as they wanted it to be the right path, it wasn’t.
After some debating, protesting, and complaining, the crew, very reluctantly, made their way back up the mountain, until they found the right path to lead them home. Which was a good thing, because had they not done so, they would have been lost, in the dark, in the Southern Oregon wilderness.
That’s how life is sometimes.
Over the years I’ve watched several Christians I love and care about drift away from walking closely with Jesus Christ. They become preoccupied with what the world has to offer. Little by little they begin to drift away from the path God has in mind for them. The one where they walk closely with Him. The path where they enjoy intimacy with Him.
After they’ve walked apart from Him long enough, they become convinced they’re on the right path. Then someone like me comes along and tells them otherwise. But they don’t want to believe it. They don’t want to hear it. Because it will be hard to turn around, to go back uphill, so to speak, and cover ground they’ve already covered.
But in order to find the true path, they must.
It’s heartbreaking, but it seems that often something catastrophic has to happen before they recognize where they’re at. A divorce, or a couple of DUIs, or a bankruptcy. And of course it’s not just the individual who suffers. The kids suffer. His or her spouse suffers. The parents suffer. In fact, everyone around them who loves and cares about them suffers.
You know what? It doesn’t have to be that way.
Abraham walked closely with God, and Isaac was blessed.
Isaac walked closely with God, and Jacob was blessed.
Now, here in our text, Jacob says, May the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, may he bless these boys.
Jacob’s family is blessed because Jacob walked closely with his God, as his fathers did.
Do you want your family to be blessed? Then ask Jesus Christ to be your shepherd all your life.
And walk the path God has in mind for you. The one where you walk closely with Him. The path where you enjoy intimacy with Him.
That you may be blessed. And so you can bless your family, in the way Jacob blessed his.
[Image via uplandaccess, Creative Commons]