A father’s blessing

05 December 2023
‘My son is like the smell of a field that the LORD has blessed.’

Every child longs for their father’s blessing, and every father is called to bless their children. When Isaac blessed his sons, he was acting on God’s behalf, using his divinely delegated power to impart blessing. A father’s blessing was a cherished institution, but its effectiveness rested on the fact that Isaac blessed his sons as an act of faith and not out of mere sentiment or favouritism. By Hebrew custom, a father’s blessing comprised two elements.

1) A meaningful touch. ‘Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who touched him…Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come here, my son, and kiss me”’ (Genesis 27:22, 26 NIV). A patriarch’s blessing included the laying on of hands, a kiss, and embrace of acceptance and love. Jesus knew exactly what children needed, that’s why ‘he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them’ (Mark 10:16 KJV). And such expressions of love still bless our children who crave them from us.

2) A spoken word of affection. Before blessing Jacob, his father said to him, ‘Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed’ (Genesis 27:27 NIV). To a city dweller these words may not mean much, but not to Isaac’s boys. This old outdoors patriarch who loved nature was in essence saying, ‘That’s my boy – an outdoorsman who loves spending time in God’s creation, just like me!’ He couldn’t have spoken more affirming words to his son. Dad, let your words not be critical, demeaning, or insensitive, but words that say, ‘I couldn’t be prouder than to call you my child!’

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