Importance of Blessings
Genesis 25:27-34; 27:1-40
Every person can understand the importance of blessing by understanding the elements in Isaac’s blessing.
If you look up the word blessing in the dictionary it will probably say something like, “wishing another well. This well wishing is often accompanied by a gift.” This is a good start to the idea of blessing, but I think that it goes much deeper than just wishing. It is really looking for God’s best to be expressed in this person’s life. In the passage we are studying today, Isaac wishes to bless his oldest son Esau, but Jacob tricks his father into blessing him instead. If we would look at the response of Isaac and Esau when they realize what happened we should get a grasp of how significant this blessing really is. In v. 34 it says, “He burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, "Bless me— me too, my father!" This was obviously a devastating blow to Esau. Then in v. 36 we read of his pleas with his father to come up with something to reverse what has already taken place.
The significance of this in our society clearly pales in comparison to what it meant for these people. You would have thought something major had been stolen, and in their society, it had been. Jacob had taken something that belonged to his brother and it would never be returned. It was now something Jacob would have for the rest of his life.
Much of what Isaac has for his son is prophetic in nature. By that I mean they are things he has received from God and is now passing along to his son. Your blessings and my blessings might not have as much power behind them if we don’t have the prophetic unction to go with it.
Today is “Father’s Day” and I would like to challenge you to think about blessing children or friends, as we look at the elements included in the blessing Isaac gives to his son.
Element I. Riches
A. In v. 28 Isaac seems to be adequately convinced that this is the son he wants to bless and so he begins. The first phrase is, “May God give you of heaven’s dew and of earth’s richness— an abundance of grain and new wine.” Israel is a pretty dry place. When rain falls the seeds that are on the ground grow up quickly. Rather than relying on the rain to water the crops they have to rely on the dew to bring the needed water. This would contribute to riches for this person in this society. It is what is needed in order for this person to be prosperous. They would need an abundance of dew. This would in turn produce a large crop. It would bring about goodness and riches.
B. I will often tell my children that one of them will have to be wealthy when they get older because that is the only retirement plan that my wife and I have. When I say that it is done in a joking manner. The beneficiary of that goodness would be me. Imagine what it would mean to a child, whether they are adult or a youngster if a parent would look them in the eye and say, I hope that God blesses you and does really great things with your life. I think that has the potential of changing the life of that young person.
C. I would like to challenge you to get into the habit of letting your kids know what to wish for them. You can even pray with them for God’s blessings. If you are a pessimistic person it is easy to find the negative things in a person’s life. Rather than focus on what they are, or what you are afraid they might become, force yourself to focus on something positive. Pray that God would allow that positive to come true in their life. The beauty of this is that you can do it at any time in their life. You don’t have to wish they were younger.
Element II. Power
A. In v. 29 of this blessing Isaac says, “May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you.” I would guess that in Jacob’s world a kingdom would be like a city. If we would outline kingdoms in our area we might say Grand Ledge is a kingdom, and DeWitt is another kingdom. Williamston would be a kingdom, and East Lansing would be another kingdom. I hope you get the idea. A kingdom would be a fairly small area probably controlled by a king who had laid claim to that area. Even at that it would be a big deal for these kingdoms to recognize Jacob as someone important that they should take note of. He would be a man of importance that these kingdoms would recognize. It might not be on the scale of a kingdom today, but it would still be very important.
B. I would guess that if we were to ask people who hold a political office of how they got started, they might come up with the name of a person who originally said to them, you would get good in this kind of a position. In essence they were blessing that person, wishing them to take on that responsibility. That might in turn cause them to seek others who would encourage them as well.
C. That verse speaks of people serving and people bowing down. He wanted his son to be in a position of authority. He would be the kind of person who would make decisions and others would see to it that those decisions would be fulfilled. It would do a lot for our children if we bestowed this kind of a blessing on them. I think of how important it is to have solid Christian leaders in positions of authority in our companies and in our government. This might just be the kind of motivation that a child needs to seek that kind of a position. Even if your children are adults, you can pray for this kind of blessing for them.
Element III. Superiority
A. This one is a rather sticky situation. Remember that Jacob is in the process of tricking his father into thinking that he is Esau. He is stealing Esau’s blessing. This part of the blessing is that he would be “lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you.” The blessing that Isaac offers is, “he would be over all of his siblings.” This was probably something that would have been culturally appropriate. Esau was the oldest twin of Jacob and Esau. In 25:27 we are told that Isaac loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob. Each of these parents had their preferences and these preferences come out in this blessing. It seems to be a setup for sibling rivalry.
B. In chapter 25 Jacob tricks Esau out of his birthright. What this was is the sons of a father would have the father’s stuff divided up among them plus one added to it. That extra portion would go to the oldest son. In chapter 25 Esau comes in from hunting. He is exhausted and hungry. It seems that he is probably almost to the point of death. Jacob had some stew cooking and Esau asks for some. Jacob gives Esau the stew after he convinced Esau to give him his birthright. Perhaps this means that the extra portion that the oldest would normally receive would now go to Jacob. This is an indication of the social structure in the society that these people lived in.
C. Imagine the thrill of knowing that a child of yours is the president of a company. Or maybe he or she is the leader of a non-profit organization. We might not look for our children to be leaders over each other, but we might want our children to be leaders in the society we live in. I want my children to grow up to be godly adults. This would be even greater if they could be influencers in the societies they live in as godly adults.
Element IV. Justice
A. In the very last part of Isaac’s blessing he says, “May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed." Those who cursed Jacob would be the people who would be his enemy. In this situation it could even be his very brother since he stole the blessing from Esau. Whoever the enemy of Jacob might be Isaac was praying that person would be cursed. By way of contrast Isaac asks that whoever blesses Jacob would also be blessed. The friends of Jacob would receive the good things of God and the enemies of Jacob would experience the bad.
B. It seems that in my house I will often hear someone crying, and when I go to investigate I find that someone hurt someone else. If I ask a reason they will often say because the other person started something. We try to live by the rule in our house that someone else hurting you does not give you the right to hurt them. They will often feel that this is just not fair. When Jesus was giving the Beatitudes he said, “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:39). For a lot of us we want to see that evil person receive their just rewards. We want them to be punished for the deeds they did, whether it would be against us or against someone else. I believe that this is the kind of blessing that Isaac was seeking for his son. He wanted his son to experience real justice. It would not be the son getting even, but it would be God extracting justice.
C. We can be praying for justice to be served in every way in that person’s life. We don’t take justice into our own hands, but we allow justice to be served in that person’s life.
I have a friend whose brother claims to be an atheist, even though he was raised in a Christian home. This man has been going through some very difficult trials. He has lost a number of jobs and charges have been brought against him in a reckless driving case. His parents decided that they would engage in prayer battle for this son. They tell him what they are praying for. They prayed that charges would be dropped, they were dropped. They prayed for a job, and that has come close to being fulfilled. What are these people doing? They are blessing their son, who is desperately in need of prayer.
I would challenge you to consider those people who are around you who could use a blessing. Maybe you have never blessed your children. Today would be a great day to start that practice. Maybe you have a friend or a neighbor or maybe even a parent who needs to be blessed. I would encourage you to look for people you can be praying a blessing for and you might even let them know you are praying about that.