In the Old Testament blessing, God illustrates His love for us while giving us a powerful tool to impart unconditional love to our own families. My husband and I often give this blessing when a new season of life occurs. A new school year. A transition, perhaps from high school to college or from school to the workforce. A move. A wedding. The birth of a child. Or simply at the end of a visit before we have to part again.
With this in mind, I’m sharing the elements of the Old Testament blessing now to give you time to prepare for the kids and grandkids in your life who may be starting something new this fall.
Touch: “‘They are the sons God has given me here,’ Joseph said to his father. Then Israel said, ‘Bring them to me so I may bless them.’ Now Israel’s eyes were failing because of old age, and he could hardly see. So Joseph brought his sons close to him, and his father kissed them and embraced them.” (Genesis 48:9-10 NIV)
We need appropriate physical touch. Science backs up what God as hardwired in. Without loving touch, development gets wonky. Go ahead, let those preteen or teenaged eyes roll. Deep inside, they want—and need—that hug, but don’t forget about a pat on the shoulder as you walk by too.
Words: “Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall. With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility. But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel.” (Genesis 49:22-24)
Word pictures coupled with Scripture serve as great tools for affirmation. Be creative and tailor your words to each individual. If you chose Scripture for them when they were born, remind them of those life verses.
High Value: Simply taking the time to give a blessing demonstrates the value of that person in your eyes. Isaac really dropped the ball here. Read Esau’s words after learning Isaac had already given a blessing to Jacob (who he thought was Esau at the time), “Then he asked, ‘Haven’t you reserved any blessing for me?’ Isaac answered Esau, ‘I have made him lord over you and have made all his relatives his servants, and I have sustained him with grain and new wine. So what can I possibly do for you, my son?’ Esau said to his father, ‘Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me too, my father!’ Then Esau wept aloud.” (Genesis 27:36-38)
Blessings are powerful. Craft a lot of them!
A Special Future: Here’s the future Isaac spoke over Jacob, “May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness—an abundance of grain and new wine. May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.” (Genesis 27:28-29)
What special future do you see for your loved ones? Speak it over them. Encourage and challenge them with a great vision for the future. Pray that God’s plans come to fruition for them.
An Active Commitment: Be a resource to help fulfill the blessing. Our blessings for our older children include prayer for godly spouses, strong marriages, and wisdom in parenting. We actively support that blessing through physical resources, conferences, and wisdom—when asked. Oh, and we’re always free to babysit.
John Trent and Gary Smalley’s The Blessing is a great resource on these principles of the Old Testament blessing. Take advantage of every opportunity to make impact in your family.
Workout of the Week: Bless Their Heart
Memory Verse: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26 NIV
Just Do It: Start crafting your blessing.