Formations Lesson for August 8- The Family Blessing
July 27 2010 by Don Gordon, senior pastor, Yates Baptist Church, Durham

Focal Passage: Genesis 27:18-41

This story of Jacob and Esau plays on the same theme as last week’s text. It shows a conniving Jacob pulling the wool over his father’s eyes in order to obtain the family blessing. Last week’s text showed Jacob taking advantage of Esau’s hunger to obtain the family’s one and only birthright. This story tells about Jacob, under the sinister guidance of his mother, stealing Esau’s blessing.

The tragedy, to modern readers, is not only does Jacob steal Esau’s blessing, but there is no blessing left at all for Esau. We’d like to think that Isaac could bestow another blessing on the duped Esau.

Yet, according to the Hebrew mindset, a blessing was like an arrow shot from a bow. Once the string is released and the arrow shoots toward its target, there is no retrieving it. 

What power did blessing effect on the recipient?

For a father to bless a son meant that son would experience fertility, well-being, and prosperity. It guaranteed political power and preeminence. It created a hedge of protection around the blessed son.

No wonder Jacob connived to obtain it and Esau wanted to kill Jacob for having gotten it.

We live in different world today when the power of spoken blessing seems less determinative.

But maybe we need to reconsider the power of blessing on our children, and particularly the power of the father’s blessing on his children.

It may sound sexist, but the father has a power that is distinct from the mother’s.

The relationship of mother and child is organic. The child lives as embryo in the womb.

She carries and nurtures the child.

The father, on the other hand, is the outsider.

His relationship with the child is necessarily psychological, not physical. It is this reason why the blessing of the father is so crucial for the well-being of the child.

The child that doesn’t receive this blessing hungers for it for a lifetime. John Killinger, in his book The God Name Hallowed, writes about a woman who left the country at an early age because she didn’t feel her father loved her.

In her 30s, she suffered from acute depression. She traveled back to the States, had a tearful reunion with her father, and came back much elated at his assurance that he had always loved her.

“Still,” she said, “I will never be the woman I might have been if I had only grown up with this assurance. I am already marked for life.”

This story reminds us of the power of blessing and the danger of failing to give it to our children.                
7/27/2010 10:11:00 AM by Don Gordon, senior pastor, Yates Baptist Church, Durham | with 0 comments

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