Even the book at the beginning comes to an end at some point! Genesis ends first with Jacob’s death, followed by the death of Joseph.
Before he died, Jacob wanted to bless his grandsons born to Joseph in Egypt. The rights of the firstborn son and the blessings given by a father were profound back in those days. Genesis has been filled with stories of deception related to the birth order and birth rights: Jacob himself stole his own brother Esau’s birthright and blessing…and then, in one of his last acts on earth, he did it again with his grandsons! Joseph steered his oldest son towards his father’s right hand and the younger son towards the left…but Jacob, blind as he was from old age, crossed his arms and blessed the younger Ephraim with his right hand, signifying that Ephraim will be the grandson from whom many nations will come.
Then he gathered his twelve sons together and blessed each of them individually and foretold their futures. This makes me realize once again the power behind our words.
Leah Bortins, founder of Classical Conversations, encourages parents to intentionally predict excellent things from their children. Tell her she will one day be a successful writer or a famous mathematician. Open the door to the possibility that your child will one day discover a cure for cancer. Teach them that they will make a difference…that God has a beautiful plan for their lives just as much as he has a plan for ours. The trick for us as parents is to keep our own aspirations out of the way and let God do the work!
I am convicted deep down in my soul as I write these words. I haven’t had a great week in the encouraging department towards my daughter. Today she told me (in an admittedly dramatic moment after I required her to rework several math problems she’d done incorrectly) that some of my words this week tore her heart apart and that our relationship isn’t the same anymore…
I’ve apologized, and I realize it wasn’t so much the words I said as the manner in which I said them. Sometimes I wish the Lord would take away my ability to speak until I learn how to use my tongue for blessing! Lord, please help me sensor not just my words but also my manner of speech. Let me be my family’s most ardent cheerleader, aside from You! Show me how to speak blessing into their lives as you did through Jacob so long ago. And thank you for adopting me into your family despite my warts and failures. Thank you for picking me back up and setting me on the right road when I stray…
Helen Keller’s teacher Anne Sullivan spoke blessing into her life every time she encouraged her to do what the world considered impossible. I want that same determination for my daughter’s life — to do what God has called her to do, regardless of what the world says is possible. She has an idea for a special kind of engine. I couldn’t tell you anything about it because mechanics aren’t my forte — but I encourage her to draw plans and work with her dad and friends. If she tries to build it, I’ll be the first in line to learn how it works. I want to spread blessing all over the place!