Sunday, October 6, 2019
Every child craves for affection, attention, a blessing from their parent. We see that true for even our spouse, our family, and everyone around us—they need a blessing and you have the power to give it! Listen as Pastor Kevin walks us through the story of Jacob and Esau and how we can learn three different ways to bless the people around us.
When my daughter was little, she had a loose tooth that was hanging on by a thread. I told her I would help her get it out, tied one end of some fishing line to her tooth and the other end to a doorknob. I had seen this on TV and was sure it would work… NOT! I tried it once, twice, three times, and Sarah was left in tears. What I thought would be easy and painless turned out quite differently. I thought at the end of this whole loose tooth thing, I would be the hero and there would be great joy! Instead, I had hurt the daughter that I deeply love.
This is what happens in some families. In the marriage, the family, that we think will be easy, painless, and full of great joy, somehow along the way something goes wrong. For some, the very word ‘family’ brings up pain.
In God’s design, family is the place where you should receive a blessing, where you should be celebrated, not tolerated. Yet, sometimes the home, where our children should be blessed, is the place they end up hurt. In Genesis 27, we find Esau as a 40-yr-old man who is bitterly weeping because he missed the blessing.
“As soon as Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry and said to his father, ‘Bless me, even me also, O my father!’ And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.” –Genesis 27:34, 38
This was the cry of an unblessed child… Esau missed the blessing, and so have many today.
The blessing: Every child craves it, every spouse needs it, all of humanity is crying out for it,
and you have the power to give it.
The blessing was the ancient practice of expressing affirmation and encouragement, and spoke to the good future of a person. It was an essential part of family life. The first thing God did to the first family was to bless them.
“In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Then God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply.’” –Genesis 1:27-28
The last thing Jesus did for His family—his disciples—was to bless them.
“Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting up his hands to heaven, he blessed them.
While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven.” –Luke 24:50-51
It was the responsibility of fathers and the priests to pronounce blessings! See 1 Chronicles 23:13 – as priests, Aaron and his descendants were set apart to dedicate the most holy things, to offer sacrifices in the Lord’s presence, to serve the Lord, and to pronounce blessings in His name forever. See Revelation 1:6 – He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God His Father.
The blessing: Every child craves it, every spouse needs it, all of humanity is crying out for it,
and you have the power to give it.
There was a little boy trying to get his dad’s attention… “Daddy!”… nothing… louder, “Daddy!” … nothing… finally his dad said, “What?” “I have something for you,” the boy said. “Close your eyes.” He gave his dad a wrinkled dollar bill and some change. Dad opened his eyes, “What is this for?” His son replied, “For you, if you will play with me.” The little boy was saying, Dad, bless me! Show me that I matter, that I’m worth spending time with.
Today, children are crying out for the blessing… longing for time spent together. There is nothing more agonizing than the cry of the unblessed child. We’ve all likely seen children being given a video game controller instead of a hug, given a movie to watch instead of time to play together.
I cannot go further in talking about how to bless our children without acknowledging the current culture’s disposition toward children as is seen in abortion. First, for those that have had an abortion, or every encouraged someone to have an abortion, let me be clear – there is grace, mercy, and healing for you. God’s grace is bigger than all of our sins!
This year, New York and Virginia have passed laws that allow for a child to be born and then killed. Abortion is the barbaric killing of the unborn, and in these cases, even children who have already been born. This cannot be hidden under the guise of being a mass of tissue. We must not be desensitized to how twisted our culture has become. It breaks my heart. Babies who have fingers, toes, a heartbeat, and can feel pain, are being killed at about 1 million a year in the US, close to 60 million since Roe vs. Wade. It is utterly shocking that we have laws that save the lives of unborn turtles and birds, but have made it legal to kill unborn humans! The scriptures tell us that God is involved in the creation of babies. See Psalm 139… just as God defends those who cannot defend themselves, so this is our respsonsibility. Will you consider fostering a child, adoption?
Let us go back to the practice of the blessing. The Bible gives us a picture in Genesis 27 of this ancient practice. When Isaac was getting older and wanted to bless his son before he died, he told Esau, his older son, to go hunting and get him some wild game and make him his favorite dish. Then Isaac would pronounce the blessing that belonged to him, his firstborn son, before Isaac died.
Rebekah (mom) overheard what Isaac said, and came up with a plan to make sure that the blessing went to Jacob instead. She cooked some stew, had Jacob go in and pretend to be Esau (Dad was blind), even putting goat hair on Jacob’s arms and neck to feel like it was his hairy brother, Esau. There was dysfunction in this home! The father, Isaac, loved Esau, and the mom, Rebekah, loved Jacob. They each had their favorites. God had made it clear that the younger son, Jacob, would be ruler of his older brother. While they were still in their mother’s womb, the Lord spoke this. (Side Note: When God speaks His intentions, His plans – He’s big enough to make it happen and He doesn’t need our help to make it happen.)
“Then his father Isaac said to him, ‘Come near and kiss me, my son.’
So he came near and kissed him.” –Genesis 27:26-27)
How do we give the blessing to our children and to each other today?
GIVE THE BLESSING OF ACCEPTANCE.
My Son – When Isaac said, “My Son,” he was saying, “I accept you, you belong, you are my child.” People become crippled when they have to earn acceptance based on performance. What does it look like to give your children the blessing of acceptance? How about the person at school and at work?
On the first day of class, a college professor asked his students to introduce themselves and answer the questions: What do I like about myself? What don’t I like about myself? When it was Dorothy’s turn to introduce herself, there was only silence in the room. The professor, thinking perhaps she did not hear the question, walked closer to her and repeated it again. Still there was only silence. Her long red hair hung down her face, almost obscuring it from view. Finally, with a deep sigh, Dorothy sat up, pulled back her hair, and revealed her face. Covering nearly all of one side of her face was a large birthmark – nearly as red as her hair. That, she said, should show what she didn’t like about herself.
Moved with compassion this godly professor leaned over and gave her a hug. Then he kissed her cheek where the birthmark was and said, “That’s okay, Honey, God and I still think you are beautiful.” Dorothy cried uncontrollably. When she could finally talk, wiping tears from her eyes, she told him, “I’ve wanted so much for someone to hug me and say what you just said. Why couldn’t my parents do that? My mother won’t even touch my face.” In this one simple act, this professor gave the blessing!
Years after Esau was crying bitterly, Jesus told a crowd about a loving father (see Luke 15) that, when he saw his prodigal son still a long way off, was filled with compassion. He took off running, embraced him, and kissed him. When the son began to apologize and say he was no longer worthy to be called his son, the dad interrupted him, and gave his son the best robe, put a ring on his finger, and shoes on his feet! He gave him a party!
“For this my son was dead, and he is alive again; he was lost, and is found.
And they began to celebrate.” –Luke 15:24)
He was giving the blessing of acceptance.
The beauty of acceptance in Christ is that you don’t have to earn it—you can’t earn it.
He accepts you just as you are and He loves you enough to not leave you just as you are! God’s amazing grace!
Oh, that you would know the love of God!
In the middle of Jacob’s trickery, trying to fool his dad and receive the blessing, Isaac said to his son, “Come near me and kiss me, my son.” So, he came near and kissed him. See Gen. 27:26-27 – when he did, he gave his son the blessing of touch.
GIVE THE BLESSING OF MEANINGFUL TOUCH.
I can vividly see André and David – two young boys in the Guatemala orphagage that we support as a church family. André had a scar down his face where his father took a machete to his head. David had been beaten because he didn’t make enough money shining shoes, so he finally ran away to flee the beatings. When I put my arms around those boys, I was giving them the blessing that their parents should have given them.
I think we underestimate the power of a godly touch. We fail, often miss the significance of holding our spouses hand, holding our children’s hands, putting our arm around somebody. Meaningful touch gives a lasting sense of love and acceptance – Isaac hugging his son, kissing him on the neck. Dads, one of the greatest things you can do for your children is to hug them.
Parents would bring children to Jesus so that he would touch them and bless them.
“And he took them up in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.” –Mark 10:16
Jesus didn’t just heal the leper; he touched him. Why? Jesus knew that the man that nobody wanted to touch, the man that everybody ran from, was hungry for the blessing of meaningful touch. People are dying on the inside a little bit every day when they are forced to go on without the blessing. In America, we are a touch-deprived culture compared to other nations and cultures. We find ourselves giving a quick hug with the 3-pat rule, meaning, “I’m-Done-Now!” While we may laugh at this, it actually hurts us.
Research shows that babies have skin hunger. Their skin needs to be touched in order to survive. In Germany, babies were taken from their mothers, not given touch, to see how this would affect their language when they grew up… and they all died! Babies born prematurely, when given skin-to-skin time with their mom, gain more weight and get out of the hospital earlier.
Meaningful touch can deepen the relationships in your family!
When I was in Ilo Ilo, Philippines to speak at a school, the principal said, “I recycle garbage.” What? All these children were considered “throw-away kids;” nobody wanted them, but we did. When I was done speaking on the love of God, those kids lined up for hugs from myself and our team. We gave the blessing to some children who had never received it.
How can you increase meaningful, godly touch in your home and your relationships?
GIVE THE BLESSING OF WORDS.
“And Isaac smelled the smell of his garments and blessed him and said:
From the dew of heaven and the richness of the earth, may God always give you abundant harvests of grain
and bountiful new wine. May many nations become your servants, and may they bow down to you.
May you be the master of your brothers, and may your mothers sons bow down to you.
All who curse you will be cursed, and all who bless you will be blessed.” –Genesis 27:27-29
In Scripture, the blessing was not a blessing until it was spoken. Abraham spoke a blessing to Isaac. Isaac spoke that blessing to Jacob. Then Jacob spoke that blessing to his children and two of his grandchildren. This was a special prophetic blessing that spoke to their future. We can follow this example and speak to our children’s future!
The blessing of words is speaking to the good future of your children!
If you are a parent, your children desperately need to hear a spoken blessing from you. If you are married, your spouse is hungry to hear a spoken blessing of love and acceptance. Your friends, co-workers, church family… we all… are hungry for the spoken blessing.
Years ago a man in his 30’s sat in my office, crying like a baby. Why? He called his Dad on his birthday and told him he loved him. He waited, thinking certainly his dad would reply that he loved him, too. But he heard nothing that day… just an empty, heartbreaking silence. In tears, he wondered why his dad couldn’t say he loved him. That grown man was saying, “Why can’t he bless me?”
One of the most powerful gifts we can give our families is the blessing!
Why is it some never speak the blessing? Because they were never blessed with words. For most, it may be because we just don’t take the time. Most parents really love their kids and want what is best for them. But because of over activity, being just too busy, the blessing doesn’t get spoken.
“Death and Life are in the power of the tongue.” –Proverbs 18:21
Your words are like packing material; they are either protecting or damaging.
A year ago this month was one of the most difficult seasons of my life. My dad’s health was failing and he was given months to live. In and out of the hospital, there were lots of tears. On October 31st, Dad was promoted to Heaven. Normally, at this time of year, we would be out hunting every Monday. It wasn’t the actual hunting that was the big deal because 90% of the time we wouldn’t get anything. It was the drive out to the woods when Dad would tell me I was doing such a great job, that he was proud of me. His words carried so much weight. It was the walks together out into the woods, hearing him pray over lunch, the hugs goodbye. Through his acceptance, encouragement, the touch of his hugs, the words of encouragement, my dad was giving me the blessing that all our hearts long for.
I challenge you to create a family blessing event (you could do this for your spouse too).
Here are some practical ideas:
- This could be something you do once, or maybe twice, a year.
- Prepare your child’s favorite meal; this is a night to honor their wishes… it might even be ice cream!
- Begin by holding hands – meaningful touch – as you pray over the meal.
- Pick 5-10 things about that child that you really appreciated over the year. Be sure to pick out charater traits, not just accomplishments.
- Affirmation Blitz for each child – get everyone participating – you set the tone! Speak positive words about/to them.
- Lay your hands on your child/children/spouse, and pray a blessing over them. Speak the blessing.
- Children, you could do the same thing to honor your parents.