Scripture:  So he blessed them that day, saying, “By you will Israel bless, saying, ‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’” So he put Ephraim before Manasseh.  (Genesis 48:22 NET)

Observation: As Abraham and Isaac had done before, so now Jacob pronounces a blessing, this time on Joseph and his children, whom Jacob claims as his own and after whom two of the twelve tribes are named thereafter.  A blessing on children was a custom in Bible times as fathers pronounced a blessing on their children, older people on younger people, and those recognized as being in authority over others under them.  It was this custom what led mothers to bring their children to be blessed by Jesus.  By their act, they recognized Him as someone worthy of respect, as someone with authority, and as someone whose blessing on their children would be a spacial mark and privilege.

Application: It seems like we have abandoned the practice of blessing our children for fear that we may be taking on God’s role or that we may be imitating other faith communities that do practice it.  Since it is a biblical practice, there’s nothing wrong in implementing it.  The question might not be if we should do it, but rather when and how.  As to the when, if a parent begins early enough, their children will grow up hearing it and therefore will not be uncomfortable with it.  As I was growing up, it was custom in our family that whenever we left home or ended a phone conversation with our mother, we would ask for her blessing, and her common response was to say “God bless you, my child.”  To this day, as an adult and after more than seven years since her death, I miss hearing her say those words.  So, a blessing may be pronounced when you part company, when your children leave for school or work, when you end a phone conversation, e-mail, or text message, or before they go to sleep.  As to the how, the context may be a situation they may be dealing with, a blessing for protection, or on their studies, or for them and their children, etc.  Maybe this would be a good time to revive this beautiful biblical practice.

A Prayer You May Use: Father, bless our children today, wherever they may be and whatever they may be doing.  Protect them, and may they sense Your presence in their lives and turn to You, at this moment, as we think about them.  Grant them Your forgiveness and Your grace, and may they too enjoy the gift of eternal life in Jesus.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



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