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    Mar 14, 2010

    A Blessing Beyond Words

    Passage: Genesis 49:1-27

    Preacher: Eric Stapleton

    Series: Are you hungry?

    Category: Old Testament, Law and Gospel

    Keywords: israel, blessing, gospel, law, jesus, curse, generational sin

    Summary:

    How can we bless our children--through our Life, Our Actions and Our Words. Is that all there is to it? How did Jacob (Israel) in the Bible, bless his 12 sons and speak truth into their lives? In Genesis 49 we see the real legacy that Jacob leaves his sons and the eternal one that God leaves us in Jesus Christ.

    Detail:

    A Blessing Beyond Words

    Exposition

    Movie Clip

    Hale and Pace—the Reading of the Will http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUxYjIQrjlc

    Famous Last Words—we remember them from a person who has a significant relationship with us because they are the last words. We always hope they are going to be good words that both speak truth to us but also make us feel good about ourselves and our future. Last words aren’t always like that though as we saw in the clip.

    1-2

    Genesis 49:1 (NIV)*

    1Then Jacob called for his sons and said: “Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.

    This is the time when Jacob is going to bless his sons. He is going to speak truth to his sons. He is going to tell them what is going to happen in the days to come, he’s going to tell them the legacy that they will have. OK, so what was this blessing? This was a tradition of the day and it has three aspects I want to make you aware of:

    The Blessing Defined*

    The blessing is given from an authority and is bestowed, the blessing has to do with physical prosperity, and the blessing is an invocation of God's blessing upon the person. The first time we see it mentioned in the Bible from human to human is when Noah curses his grandson Canaan and blesses his other two. Later, we see it through Isaac blessing one of his sons, Jacaob. It's a custom we still carry out today we call it the last will and testament, it's usually just about inheritance. It's really sad commentary on today's society that usually when you see this idea of a will be read in TV show or movie it's usually portraying siblings fighting and arguing over who should get what etc. And this makes it seem like the father or the one willing his estate, is not really loved or value beyond the prosperity he can offer to his offspring. I think this is very telling about our society and its values.

    Given from Authority

    There had to be an authority figure to give the blessing. Traditionally, it's a father. In this culture father is the head of the household. The idea is that the father is leaving behind something of himself that's more than his seed to his sons who will then go on to be the authority of their households. It's a transfer of power. The next generation is now carrying on the family name and legacy.

    Prosperity

    This is also about prosperity. This was usually the point that the sons were to receive the inheritance, the material wealth of their father. The older son got the fatter portion in the younger son or sons were to get the rest. What do you do when you have 12 sons? We'll see in a minute how Jacob handles it.              

    Invocation of God's Blessing

    This was also meant to be an invocation of God's blessing. Not just asking for God's blessing on the children but to point the children in the direction of God and recognize that all good things come from him. Also, it was a reminder of who they were, they were God's people and they should live accordingly.

    Other Examples

    Now Jacob wasn't the first person to bless his sons. Jacob's dad, Isaac, blessed him. And these two instances aren't the only pattern of blessing that we see in the Bible. For instance, we don't see Abraham blessing his son Isaac and we don't see a father blessing Abraham. Abraham really was kind of a pioneer of the faith for his day. If his earthly father did bless him, who knows what kind of pagan blessing it would've been... "may the God of thunder anoint your crops and make them as fertile as Nimrod's wife." Even if it happened Moses didn't record it but he did record an authority figure bestowing the blessing upon Abraham.

    Abraham

    Genesis 14:17 through Genesis 14:20 (NIV)
    17After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).

    18Then Melchizedek king of Salem£ brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19and he blessed Abram, saying,

         “Blessed be Abram by God Most High,

           Creator£ of heaven and earth.

    20   And blessed be£ God Most High,

           who delivered your enemies into your hand.”

    Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

    So, who was Melchizedek?* I don't know. He was a priest of God before there was an established line of priests. He's out of nowhere. The book of Hebrews has a little bit more on him…that’s not the point. But what's important is he is an authority that Abraham recognizes as such. And this guy, this Melchizedek blesses Abraham and Abraham gives him a tenth of everything.

    Jesus

                   Jesus, if he was blessed by his earthly father Joseph, the Scripture doesn't record it. But we know as to Joseph that he is not Jesus father. And you can imagine the rumors that went around surrounding his birth. Other men growing up got the blessing from the father, the rite of passage that included the words, "this is my son with whom I am well pleased." Jesus didn't have an earthly father like these other young men. These other young men, their fathers were there very real, tangible authority. When they said, "son, you get a good job," that counted for something. In Jesus family, they all knew the Joseph wasn't the real father. And Jesus was probably ridiculed for it growing up and then one day

                   Matthew 3:13 through Matthew 3:17 (NIV)*
    13Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

    15Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

    16As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

     

    Bar/Bat Mitzvah

    This is huge. It's Jewish tradition that when a boy he reaches the age of 13, he is no longer a boy but a man. He is no longer under his parents provision under the law to follow the 613 laws of the Torah. The sentiment at the end of the ceremony, this bar or bat mitzvah is this is my son or daughter with whom I am well pleased. So, maybe Joseph and Mary were getting all excited when Jesus is coming of age at the same time they really don't know what to do. But, when Jesus turns 12 they get a reminder. When Jesus is 12 years old they all go to Jerusalem and Jesus stays there while they're gone back to Nazareth. They come back to get him and ask him what he was doing, and he says, "how is it that you didn't know what I was doing? I'm about my father's business." The year before he would've turned 13, he does this. If you know anything about a Jewish bar mitzvah, you know it's not something you just throw together. It involves family and invitations*, there is even software you can especially by to make the invitations. It's a big stinking deal. Don't know how long into Jesus twelfth year he was but they weren't gonna be making any preparations for bar mitzvah or whatever they called it back in Jesus day. The important thing though is Joseph is not the one to say, "this is my son with whom I am well pleased."

    I only say all that to point out that it's not always the father that bestows this blessing. There's another application for this last sentiment as well and I'll get to that at the end of the sermon.

    So, to the blessing. Jacob knows he is about to die so he calls his sons to gather around him.

    Israel's Sons

    Genesis 49:2 (NASB)*
    2           “Gather together and hear, O sons of Jacob;

         And listen to Israel your father.

     

    Jacob, here calls himself Jacob, his given name and then he reminds him of his God given name. This is important. He’s prefacing this by not only establishing his familial authority over them, but also reminding them that God gave him a new name and all the promises that go with that name—Israel will become a great nation. So, everything that he says after this will be very important and the implication is that it is from God.

     

    Reuben

    Genesis 49:3 through Genesis 49:4 (NASB)*
    3           “Reuben, you are my firstborn;

         My might and the beginning of my strength,

         Preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.

    4   “Uncontrolled as water, you shall not have preeminence,

         Because you went up to your father’s bed;

         Then you defiled it—he went up to my couch.

     

    So, Jacob breaks the tension about the “incident.” Reuben slept with his father’s concubine, his brother’s mother. Yeah, icky. It wasn’t forgotten. He loses preeminence among his brothers. But it’s really no surprise. This is the third generation in a row where the eldest son doesn’t get the blessing. Ishmael, Esau, and Reuben. Stinks to be them.

     

    If Reuben doesn’t get the double portion, who does? Right, John talked about that last week, Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. So, again, for the third generation in a row, the youngest gets the better blessing.

     

    No hero, judge or prophet ever comes from the tribe of Reuben. 

    Simeon and Levi
    Genesis 49:5 through Genesis 49:7 (NASB)*
    5           “Simeon and Levi are brothers; 

         Their swords are implements of violence.

    6   “Let my soul not enter into their council;

         Let not my glory be united with their assembly;

         Because in their anger they slew men,

         And in their self-will they lamed oxen.

    7   “Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce;

         And their wrath, for it is cruel.

         I will disperse them in Jacob,

         And scatter them in Israel.

     

    If you remember, sports fans, Levi and Simeon are the ones who destroy Shechem because of the rape of their sister. This also plays out in the future…Simeon’s allotment of land in the promise land is contained within Judah and Levi’s tribe doesn’t get its own portion of land either…the end up the priestly line.

    Judah

    Genesis 49:8 through Genesis 49:12 (NIV)*
    8                  “Judah,£ your brothers will praise you;

           your hand will be on the neck of your enemies;

           your father’s sons will bow down to you.

    9      You are a lion’s cub, O Judah;

           you return from the prey, my son.

         Like a lion he crouches and lies down,

           like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?

    10   The scepter will not depart from Judah,

           nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,

         until he comes to whom it belongs£

           and the obedience of the nations is his.

    11   He will tether his donkey to a vine,

           his colt to the choicest branch;

         he will wash his garments in wine,

           his robes in the blood of grapes.

    12   His eyes will be darker than wine,

           his teeth whiter than milk.£

    Judah gets preeminence over his brothers. Whereas Ephraim and Manasseh are granted a double portion, Judah gets the authority. Now we know that Israel’s first king was Saul from the tribe of Benjamin, but if Saul had bothered to read the Cliff Notes of Genesis chapter 49 here, he would have turned down the position, cause he just doomed to fail. Levi is the priestly tribe, Judah is the kingly tribe and from that tribe came…Jesus

    Zebulun

    Genesis 49:13 (NIV)
    13               “Zebulun will live by the seashore

           and become a haven for ships;

           his border will extend toward Sidon.

     

    Issachar

    Genesis 49:14 through Genesis 49:15 (NIV)
    14               “Issachar is a rawboned£ donkey

           lying down between two saddlebags.£

    15   When he sees how good is his resting place

           and how pleasant is his land,

         he will bend his shoulder to the burden

           and submit to forced labor.

     

    Dan
    Genesis 49:16 through Genesis 49:18 (NIV)
    16               “Dan£ will provide justice for his people

           as one of the tribes of Israel.

    17   Dan will be a serpent by the roadside,

           a viper along the path,

         that bites the horse’s heels

           so that its rider tumbles backward.

    18   “I look for your deliverance, O LORD.

    Notable Danites…anyone, anyone…right Samson, dude with the long hair, killed a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of donkey.*

    Gad

    Genesis 49:19 (NIV)
    19               “Gad£ will be attacked by a band of raiders,

           but he will attack them at their heels.

    Asher

    Genesis 49:20 (NIV)
    20               “Asher’s food will be rich;

           he will provide delicacies fit for a king.

    Naphtali

    Genesis 49:21 (NIV)
    21               “Naphtali is a doe set free

           that bears beautiful fawns.£

     

    I think he was just running out creative things to say at this point. He’s probably thinking, “why did I have so many stinkin’ kids?”

    Joseph

    Genesis 49:22 through Genesis 49:26 (NIV)*
    22               “Joseph is a fruitful vine,

           a fruitful vine near a spring,

           whose branches climb over a wall.£

    23   With bitterness archers attacked him;

           they shot at him with hostility.

    24   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,

    25   because of your father’s God, who helps you,

           because of the Almighty,£ who blesses you

         with blessings of the heavens above,

           blessings of the deep that lies below,

           blessings of the breast and womb.

    26   Your father’s blessings are greater

           than the blessings of the ancient mountains,

           than£ the bounty of the age-old hills.

         Let all these rest on the head of Joseph,

           on the brow of the prince among£ his brothers.

     

    What can Israel add to Joseph? Joseph already rocks and has lived three lifetimes in his years.

    Benjamin

    Genesis 49:27 (NIV)
    27               “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf;

           in the morning he devours the prey,

           in the evening he divides the plunder.”

    Application—Law and Gospel

    So what? What does this have to do with my life now? Depends on you are in the story. Are you a father wanting to bless your children? Are you a son or daughter who feels that you need a blessing but didn’t get one? Are you single and wondering whom you will have the opportunity to bless if you never get married, by choice or by circumstance?

    One of the things that I like to harp on is the difference between law and gospel. The law tells what we should do, what we ought to do, the gospel tells us what Christ did because we don’t do. The law is like the Ten Commandments, but some think that the law is just limited to the Old Testament. That’s not true. When Jesus says, “Be perfect as your father in heaven is perfect” that statement is a ‘law’ statement within the Gospel narrative. It is the summation of the demand of the law, be like God!

    The Gospel is the good news. The bad news is that we don’t measure up to God’s perfect standard and we all deserve hell. The good news is that Jesus died to take our place for our refusal to live up to God’s holy standard. He lived the perfect life that we won’t so that we inherit eternal life and all the perks that go with it. Read your policy, you’ll find out what I’m talking about. A useful acronym for this is GRACE…God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Instead of the burden of shame for wrongs we’ve done, we get the joy of being clean and guilt free.

    I say all that because the application part this whole blessing thing involves both law and gospel. How do we bless our children? I’m going to use the Law as an acronym for the first part. LAW. Life, Actions and Words. We bless our children through our life, through our actions and through our words. I put it in that order because one, it works with the acronym and two, because the first two, Life and Actions, give power and weight to the third.

    Think of the words like the tip of a spear. It cuts and pierces but in needs the weight of the shaft (actions) and the force of the throw (Life) to make it (the words) be effective.

    Authority Figure

    Life*

    Our life is a story to our children...our past, present and our future. Not just particular events or accomplishments, but the broader picture. In writing we call it a character arc. What does the A to B look like in your life? Does it glorify God and the work He is doing in your life? We’re not talking about individual actions or major events and highlights but rather the lines that connect them. Maybe in your younger years you wrapped yourself around a telephone pole or three in car and lived to tell about it. Or maybe you wrapped yourself around other types of things. Maybe you’re not too proud of such things, but how did you react to that…did you stay on that path, repent, change, what? If somebody looks at your story, what characterizes it? Is it a life of devotion, gradually growing closer to God? Is one of continually repeating and being stuck in some besetting sin? Is your life characterized by consistent faithfulness, hard work, generosity?

    Jacob's

    Let’s look at Jacob’s life.

    Good

                   He believed God. He was a hard worker. He raised 12 sons. He wrestled with God not just that one event but constantly wrestled with both God and men and overcame…that’s why God changed his name to Israel.

    Bad

                   He is cheater. He’s a bit of coward and he played favorites with his wives and his sons.

                   Wouldn’t you say that both the good and the bad affect his 12 sons? Reuben slept with his concubine. Would Reuben have done that if Jacob hadn’t been playing favorites with his sons and wives? Reuben is accountable but Jacob’s consistent life choices have also have a say in how his sons turn out and the ultimate blessings and curses that come down upon their offspring.
    Exodus 20:5 through Exodus 20:6 (NIV)*
    5You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

    This quote about generation sin and cursing occurs in three different books in the Old Testament. Moses had a little row to hoe on this one, trying get the point across.

    Jacob, himself was a third generation deceiver. His grandfather Abraham practiced it as did his father Isaac before him. He passes on some different stuff to his kids. He also passes on his faith and belief in the one true God…this is good.

    Actions*

    They say actions speak louder than words and that image (an action captured) is tale worth a thousand words. Let’s take a look at some stories:

    Jacob's

    Good

                   Actions are things that are done. They are the deeds that you do in the circumstances that you are placed in.

                   Some good things that we see Jacob do:

    Let’s get my actors up here.

    [Worshiping God]

    Now, I don’t know what it looked like for Jacob to worship God, but that’s what his sons saw. They saw their dad and their mothers praying. They see their building an altar to God, worshiping with burnt offerings and such.

                   We see, as did his sons, Jacob’s efforts to appease his brother Esau in recognition of how he had wronged him.

     


    Genesis 32:13 through Genesis 32:21 (NASB)*
    13So he spent the night there. Then he selected from what he had with him a present for his brother Esau: 14two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15thirty milking camels and their colts, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 16He delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by itself, and said to his servants, “Pass on before me, and put a space between droves.” 17He commanded the one in front, saying, “When my brother Esau meets you and asks you, saying, ‘To whom do you belong, and where are you going, and to whom do these animals in front of you belong?’ 18then you shall say, ‘These belong to your servant Jacob; it is a present sent to my lord Esau. And behold, he also is behind us.’” 19Then he commanded also the second and the third, and all those who followed the droves, saying, “After this manner you shall speak to Esau when you find him; 20and you shall say, ‘Behold, your servant Jacob also is behind us.’” For he said, “I will appease him with the present that goes before me. Then afterward I will see his face; perhaps he will accept me.” 21So the present passed on before him, while he himself spent that night in the camp.

    What Jacobs sons saw at a young age was their father recognizing his sin and trying to make restitution. Do you think that didn’t come into play when they bowed down before Joseph in Egypt some years later?

    Genesis 42:18 through Genesis 42:22 (NASB)*
    18Now Joseph said to them on the third day, “Do this and live, for I fear God: 19if you are honest men, let one of your brothers be confined in your prison; but as for the rest of you, go, carry grain for the famine of your households, 20and bring your youngest brother to me, so your words may be verified, and you will not die.” And they did so. 21Then they said to one another, “Truly we are guilty concerning our brother, because we saw the distress of his soul when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen; therefore this distress has come upon us.” 22Reuben answered them, saying, “Did I not tell you, ‘Do not sin against the boy’; and you would not listen? Now comes the reckoning for his blood.”

    Today, in our culture that could seem like a bit of stretch, the idea that their father’s act of trying to make peace with Esau was the sole reason they had a sense of ‘what comes around goes around’ or having a sense of remorse. Why? Why does that seem like a stretch? Because it’s in the Bible man. We’ve read this all our lives from Sunday school. Even if we haven’t, the concept of reaping what you sow isn’t just limited to the Bible, man. This concept is in so many stories that you read all the time. Really, where’d you get those stories? The library? Barnes and Noble? Amazon.com’s Kindle. No libraries in Canaan, man. (Sorry, I’m having a Jeff Bridges moment here.) No Kindle, no bookstores, no newspapers. There was no Bible. Jacob’s life and actions were the Bible! He was their Sunday School Story, their source of truth. His life and actions make up, in part, our Bible, too.

    Fathers, in spite of the competing media, friends, TV, music, I say that you are your child’s Bible, you are God’s word to your children and you will influence how they see God’s Word when they get older.

    *More actions…in chapter 35, God asks Jacob to move to Bethel and get rid of the idols, the foreign gods. These idols weren’t introduced by Jacob but by Jacob’s wives from Laban’s household. I think this was a family event. Jacob digs hole beneath that tree in Shechem and his sons are like, “Dad, why are moms crying.” “I took away their gods.” “What are you doing with them? Doesn’t this one, Baal, bring the rain that brings the crops?” “No son, God, the real God, brings the rain and blesses the crops. Now put a little more dirt there..”

                   Bad    

    Let’s look at some of the bad things that he did:

    He played favorites with both his sons and his wives.

    [pose  Rachel and Leah and Jacob]

    Take a moment and think about what might have been like to see images like this. As a son, you may not be privy to the conversations between husband and wives, but that didn’t make you blind to the obvious preference he had for Rachel over Leah. What if Leah was your mom? We have an idea of how it affected Reuben, he disrespected his father and Rachel by sleeping with her maid.

    [Jacob in Anguish]

    Also, how would it affect you to see that your plan to get rid of Joseph, failed. To see your father in anguish over the brother you hated. Why did you hate that brother, because of his playing favorites with his sons and their mothers…Joseph was Rachel’s kid. Rachel actually, physically, bore two children…Joseph and Benjamin but by the custom of that day, she gave her husband her maid, Bilhah and she bore Dan and Naphtali.

    Mourning isn’t bad, but context is everything. We know how Judah reacted to this, he ran away and lived apart from God’s people. If wasn’t for God’s intervention, he would have tanked his whole family line. Which produced…Jesus.

    Words*

    We talked about Life and Actions and those two components really help define what we mean by our words. Our words to, about and in front of children have a huge impact. They are as the words of God.

    Words are powerful, but their impact is heavily weighted by who is saying them. In the book of Proverbs in the Bible has a lot to say about Word, more specifically though, the part of the body that forms the words.

    Proverbs 10:18 through Proverbs 10:21 (NIV)*
    18               He who conceals his hatred has lying lips,

           and whoever spreads slander is a fool.

    19   When words are many, sin is not absent,

           but he who holds his tongue is wise.

    20   The tongue of the righteous is choice silver,

           but the heart of the wicked is of little value.

    21   The lips of the righteous nourish many,

           but fools die for lack of judgment.

     

    All these proverbs have to do with controlling the tongue, knowing when to speak and when to shut up, whose tongue is worth listening to and whose is not and the penalty of misusing it.

     

    James 3:5 through James 3:12 (NIV)*
    5Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

    7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

    9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt£ water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

     

    Words are important…God says so.

     

    Jacob

    Good

    Jacob really didn’t say a lot worth recording, good or bad. One thing he was good at doing was speaking up when he felt he was wronged.

    Even when his beloved son, Joseph suggested that Jacob will bow down to him, Jacob is quick to say..”Let me get this straight…”

    When he is cheated by Laban, he points it to him, “dude, that’s not who I married. Hey, hey, hey, you gave me ugly one with the weak eyes. What’s up with that? No, no, no, Leah stop crying, I didn’t really mean it.” Not all of that is in the text. Later on, he rebukes Laban for cheating him and basically says, “hey what’s right is right, right?”

    When his sons Levi and Simeon kill all the men of Shechem, he rebukes them for it:
    Genesis 34:30 (NASB)
    30Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me odious among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and my men being few in number, they will gather together against me and attack me and I will be destroyed, I and my household.”

    Let’s read between the lines here.*

    Genesis 34:31 (NASB)*
    31But they said, “Should he treat our sister as a harlot?”

     

    Bad

    Because sometimes it’s what we don’t say or don’t do that has a bigger impact. When his daughter was raped by that man from Shechem, Jacob was silent. He didn’t say anything or do anything.

     

    Personal Example

    There was a nice watch that a boy wanted. His dad shows him the watch and asks him if he likes it. The boy glows, yes he wants that analog/digital watch. It's awesome. The father tells the boy that the watch is too good for him and that he doesn't deserve the watch. But the dad only does that because he already bought the boy the watch. Much to the boy's surprise, he gets it as a gift. The father tells the boy that he asked him about the watch to make sure the boy liked it. What the father doesn't do is take back the words, "you don't deserve it, it's too good for you." When the 13 year old boy does indeed break that watch less than a year later, the words of his father are confirmed. He wasn't good enough. So, how does this affect the boy? Anything good that he receives, he knows he doesn't deserve. Now when the boy later hears the gospel, he totally gets the part about not deserving the eternal life that Jesus buys for him on the cross, but he never quite gets a hold of the concept that he is now a new creation part. He believes one day that when he gets to heaven, one day, Jesus is going to look at him and say, "OK, you, too, get in here before I change my mind."

    Sometimes I pray for that kid. Sometimes. Most of the time, I forget. It’s hard, I don’t always remember because sometimes have trouble believing that kid deserves it. See, that kid is me. I’m the boy who broke the watch.

    Words have an Impact

    Which brings me to last part. I’ve just gone over the ways in which we bless our kids—not merely through the last words of a will or on our deathbed but through our Life, our actions , which back up and make all the important, our words. This amounts to living the right life, doing the right actions, refraining from the wrong ones and being careful to say the right words. If that’s all there was to it, then you might as well be Buddhist or pick your religion, any religion that has a list of moral standards—most of them do.

    There’s more to Blessing Our Children and leaving them a Godly legacy than living the right life and leaving an abundant inheritance.

    One of the things I purposely left out of the first part of this sermon was what God said to these people, to Abraham, to Jacob.

    Yes, Melchizedek says, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High,” but God says,

     


    Genesis 17:2 through Genesis 17:5 (NASB)*
    2           “I will establish My covenant between Me and you,

         And I will multiply you exceedingly.”

    3Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying,

    4   “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you,

         And you will be the father of a multitude of nations.

    5   “No longer shall your name be called £Abram,

         But your name shall be £Abraham;

         For I will make you the father of a multitude of nations.

    Isaac says to Jacob,

     


    Genesis 27:28 through Genesis 27:29 (NASB)
    28         Now may God give you of the dew of heaven,

                And of the fatness of the earth,

                And an abundance of grain and new wine;

    29  May peoples serve you,

         And nations bow down to you;

         Be master of your brothers,

         And may your mother’s sons bow down to you.

         Cursed be those who curse you,

         And blessed be those who bless you.”

    God says,

    Genesis 28:13 through Genesis 28:15 (NASB)*
    13And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. 14“Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

     

    And says this to him against the backdrop of Angels ascending and descending on some cosmic staircase in super surround sound and Disney Real 3D. What was Jacob more impressed with, his dad’s words…look at his reaction to God’s Word: “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” If they another movie version of this I could picture a young Tom Hanks saying those lines.

     

    God’s Words are more important, BUT how your children receive those words will greatly be influenced by your life, actions and words. God set it up that way. Before I resolve that tension, let me address those who aren’t fathers.

    A few years ago I remember a big push in men’s ministries to pursue the blessing of your father if you didn’t get one. Now the generation that pushed this was a generation whose fathers were present but largely disengaged with their sons, daughters and families.

    But what sons and daughters that are coming of age today are dealing with is not merely fathers who were disengaged relationally or emotionally, many of them checked out physically as well. They left their families and didn’t feel the moral obligation of the institutionalized fifties to tough it out. So, it’s a little different. What’s a guy gonna do, go down to south Florida and get a good word from his broken down, alcoholic dad who is living with a 22-year-old girlfriend. What words of blessing does that dad really have to offer some son or daughter who would even recognize the value of a fatherly blessing?

    And is where the threads come together for those who are fathers and those who aren’t, for those who were blessed by their fathers and those who weren’t. When all is said and done, it’s God’s Life, Actions and Words that truly bless you and that’s gospel, that’s law and gospel.

    All that stuff I said earlier about needing to live it, act it and say it is true, but how do you do that? You need to receive and believe God’s Life, Action and Word for your life. As you do, God, through his Holy Spirit changes you into that man or woman who lives it, acts it and says it.

    What is it that God says that’s is a life changing blessing? Read it, find out. Read passages like Jeremiah 29 where God tells his people that he has plan for their lives that is good and understand that in the greater context that ‘God’s People’ includes if you are in Christ. Understand how far away from God your sin takes you away from God but how close Christ brings you back, that you are valuable and loved by God not just as a part of whole body of believers but uniquely and individually. When you receive the truths in here, it does change you.

    But that all starts with believing the God did send Jesus Christ, his son, to live a sinless life and die a torturous death on the cross and then raise him from the dead for your sins so that you also can be called a son of God and inherit eternal life. Let’s pray.