The FATHER’S BLESSING
Imparting The Blessings Of God To Your Children
The Body of Christ, in large part, is missing out on something of great significance – THE FATHER’S BLESSING. Through surveys in multiple conferences, I’ve found very few persons who have ever received a fathers blessing through their earthly fathers. The father’s blessing is rarely experienced in Christian circles, even though this blessing is strongly mandated in scripture.
The Heavenly Father has set the example and precedent for the father’s blessing. The patriarchs of the Old Testament, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob clearly understood the power of a father’s blessing and practiced it. The benefits of the father’s blessing are far reaching and readily make the difference between success and failure; victory and defeat; happiness and misery in an individuals life.
Blessing is the opposite of curse. No curse ever happens without a cause, for “Like a flying swallow, so a curse without a cause shall not alight” Prov. 26:2. The absence of the blessing makes way for the curse to lay hold. In other words, the cause for curses in a person’s life may be due to the failure of a father to fulfill his responsibility to bless his child.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit” Prov. 18:21.
Most are aware of the reality of spoken curses. Supernatural, demonic powers gain entrance through evil, negative words spoken by one person over another. For instance, when a child hears his mother or father speak such word curses as, “You are a problem child. You are stupid. You never do anything right. I wish you had never been born”, the curse has a right to align upon that child.
Some well-intentioned but misguided ministers attempt to cancel the power of a curse with another curse or by sending the curse back where it came from. The Old Covenant law required, “An eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth” Matt. 5:38, But the New Covenant way to deal with those who curse you is to bless them. Jesus taught,
“You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good for those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you are persecute you.” Matt. 5:43-44.
Did it ever occur to you to bless your enemies? This is God’s way of protecting yourself from curses spoken by others against you. If, on the other hand, you have bitterness, unforgiveness, hatred and anger in your heart against your antagonist, you are making a landing strip for the curse to alight.
Demon-power is the force that makes curses a reality. To have a curse is to have a demon; to have a demon is to be cursed. The power of a blessing is supernatural; it is the presence and work of the Holy Spirit, producing joy, peace, prosperity, fruitfulness; and providing health, success and protection. To be blessed is to be in God’s favor and to have His face shine upon you.
Through a Bible study on the father’s blessing we discover several vital principles to guide us in pronouncing this blessing.
The Heavenly Father’s Example
I. God blesses Adam and Eve
As soon as Adam and Eve were created, “God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” Gen. 1:28. Thereupon, Adam and Eve were fruitful, multiplied and had dominion because God spoke a blessing over them. Yes, He spoke a blessing. Blessings must be spoken, for life is in the power of the tongue.
The Father’s blessing is for fruitfulness and dominion. Fruitfulness includes bearing children but much more. A father will do well to affirm the blessing of fruitfulness stated in Psalm 1:3: “He shall be like a tree planted by rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither, and whatever she does shall prosper.”
Isn’t it amazing that by the simple act of faith in speaking blessings over another person, we can activate the power of God. Spoken blessings not only apply to fathers speaking blessings over their children, for everyone has the power to bless others in the name of the Lord.
God called Abraham and blessed him: “Now the Lord has said to Abram: Get out of your country, From your kindred And from your fathers house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great: And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you: And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” Gen. 12:1-3.
God not only wants to bless us but to make us a blessing to others. “And you shall be a blessing.”
God also blessed Abraham’s son, Isaac: “After the death of Abraham, God blessed his son, Isaac. And Isaac dwelt ay Beer Lahai Roi” Gen. 25:11. Beer Lahai Roi means, “the well of the Living One who beholds me.” There is a rich significance in the names of persons and places in the Bible. Here, Isaac dwelt at a place that was a place of special blessings where there was refreshing waters provided by the One who beholds him with Divine favor.
“Then Jesus, when He had been baptized, came up immediately from the water; and behold the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven saying, ‘This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased’” Matt. 3:16, 17
Once again, we find the Heavenly Father speaking words of approval and blessing. Jesus was blessed with the anointing of the Holy Spirit, equipping Him for the miracle ministry and sacrificial death that lay ahead. Jesus had not yet performed a miracle nor delivered a sermon. He was blessed as a Son rather than for what he had done.
Here, too, is an example for us to follow. Let the father lay hands on his children, imparting the baptism in the Holy Spirit and blessing them with words of approval.
II. Isaac Blesses His Sons
Isaac took Rebekah as his wife, but she was barren. Whereupon, Isaac pleaded with the Lord for his wife. And the Lord granted his petition, and Rebekah conceived and became pregnant with twins. As the two sons struggled in her womb, Rebekah sought the Lord as to the reason for her discomfort, and God replied, “Two nations are in your womb, Two peoples shall be separated from your body; One people shall be stronger than the other, And the older shall serve the younger” Gen. 25:23.
“By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come” Heb. 11:20. The blessings were prophetic. This is another characteristic of the father’s blessing; it is prophetic; it speaks forth the Heavenly Father’s sovereign purposes. God’s sovereign purpose in election is seen in his decree that “the older shall serve the younger”. We read in Romans, “(For the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but if Him who calls), it was said to her (Rebekah), ‘The older shall serve the younger,’ As is it written, Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated” Rom. 9:11-13.
When Isaac realized that he was near death, he knew it was time to bestow the father’s blessing upon his sons. It was the custom to bestow a favored blessing upon the first born. Esau was the first born. But to bestow the favored blessing upon Esau would have been contrary to God’s revealed purpose. Obviously, Rebekah had not forgotten the words spoken to her by the Lord before the twins were born. For God had said, “The older will serve the younger.” Therefore, Rebekah devised a plan whereby Isaac would be deceived and Jacob would receive the blessing of the first born.
Blind Isaac, mistaking Jacob for Esau, laid hands on Jacob and spoke a prophetic blessing:
Therefore may God give you Of the dew of heaven, Of the fatness of the earth, And plenty of grain and wine. Let peoples serve you, Be master over your brethren. And let your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you. And blessed be those who bless you!
Gen 27:28, 29
Again, we find the important principle of the father’s blessing being prophetic. The blessing expresses the very mind and purpose of God.
The father’s blessing is extremely important. It opens up Heaven’s window to Divine favor in ones life. When Isaac discovered that he had been deceived, not having blessed the first-born as he had thought, he “trembled exceedingly” Gen. 27:33. When Esau realized his brother had robbed him of the coveted blessing, he was furious and “cried with an exceeding great and bitter cry” Gen. 27:34. He begged his father for a blessing for himself. Esau’s desperate plea for his father’s blessing reveals just how important the father’s blessing is. His entire future welfare rested on this blessing. So, he said to his father, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?… Have you only one blessing, my father.” Gen 27:36, 38. Where upon Isaac spoke the following blessings on Esau:
Behold, your dwelling shall be on the fatness of the earth, And of the dew of heaven from above. By your sword you shall live, And you shall serve your brother; And it shall come to pass, when you become restless, That you shall break his yoke from your neck.
Gen. 27:39, 40
The writer of Hebrews gives us a pertinent insight into Isaac’s blessing. It was spoken in faith! Indeed, a prophetic blessing IS spoken in faith and received by faith. There may be no existing evidence that the spoken blessing has any substance in fact. A prophetic blessing has any substance in fact. A prophetic blessing even extends past the death of both the blesser and the blessed. Isaac’s faith looked beyond death; his confident faith saw that God’s purposes were not frustrated by death. He spoke with divinely imparted assurance of what would happen in the future. A blessing given according with God’s leading cannot fail.
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshipped, leaning on the top of his staff.
Here is yet another principle that applies to the father’s blessing- it is given in act of worship. As Jacob blessed his sons he “worshipped, leaning on the top of his staff” v.21. Yes, the fathers blessing is to be given in an attitude of worship. The early father is speaking in behalf of the Heavenly Father!
III. Jacob Blesses His Grandsons
Not only should a father bless his children, but he should also bless his grandchildren. Upon request, Jacob blessed his grandchildren, Ephraim and Manasseh and he said to Jospeh,“Please bring them to me, and I will bless them” Gen. 48:9.
The ideal is for the children’s father to request this blessing of the grandfather as Jospeh did. When the ideal is not feasible, the grandfather should take the initiative to bless his grandchildren.
Jospeh, attempted to have the major blessing given to Manasseh, the firstborn, but Jacob crossed his hands to pick out Ephraim for the greater blessing. This demonstrates that God cannot be manipulated. He fulfills His purposes as He pleases and is not bound by human opinion or tradition. His blessing upon the two boys was prophetic, reflecting God’s purpose for their lives.
“God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has def me all my life long to this day, the Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; Let my name be named upon them, and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”
IV. Jacob Blesses His Twelve Sons
“And Jacob called his sons and said, ‘Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days’” Gen. 49:1. Thereupon, Jacob pronounced a prophetic blessing over each of his twelve sons, confirming what we have noted already that the father’s blessing is a personal, spoken prophecy foretelling future dealings of God in an individual’s life. This blessing is not a generic, one-size fits-all, but a personal prophecy as the Bible plainly states: “And he (Jacob) blessed them; he blessed each one according to his own blessing” Gen. 49:28.
V. David Blesses His Household
It was a very special day in the life of King David. The Ark of the Covenant, which had been absent from Jerusalem for several years, is restored and placed in the tabernacle of David. There is great celebration as thirty thousand choice men of Israel escort the ark amid singing, shouting, and playing of instruments; and David dancing before the Lord with all of his might. After sacrifices had been offered, David composed a special psalm and designated praisers to worship and praise God day and night before the Ark of God’s presence. Then, “He blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts” and “returned home to bless his household: II Sam. 6: 18, 20.
Amazing! After one of the most important and physically demanding days in David’s life, he was thinking about his family and was anxious to get home to bless them. Public worship did not replace the need for family ministry. Sadly, David’s wife, Michal, was critical of her husband’s behavior, and by rejecting her blessing she received a curse. “Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death” II Sam. 6:23.
Another key insight into the father’s blessing emerges in this text. Blessing is not limited to children, but should include all those of a man’s household. The father’s blessings upon his wife, children, and extended family are to be continual, a daily expression of love’s covering. “Bless” in both Hebrew and Greek words means “to declare happy”. Happy indeed is the family whose husband and father makes it his practice to speak a daily blessing over each one!
VI. Jesus Blesses Children
The disciples evidently thought that little children were unimportant to Jesus, and they were preventing parents from bringing them to Him, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them” Luke 18:16. “Then little children were brought to Him that He might put his hands on them and pray” Matt. 19:13. The laying on of hands represents impartation. Jesus imparted blessings on little children. We will do well to follow Jesus’ example.
VII. Priestly Blessing
When the Levitical priesthood was established, the priests were instructed by God to bless the children of Israel. Thus, one of the duties of a priest is to bless the people. Under the New Covenant, believers become “a royal priesthood” I Pet. 2:9. So, every believer is to be a blesser of others. Here is the prescribed blessing God gave the priests:
The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. Num. 6:24-26
VIII. Two Types of Blessing
The above priestly blessing is not given as a personal prophecy. It is a blessing of good-will that imparts God’s favor, protection and peace to all God’s children. It especially expresses God’s desire for intimate relationship with His people. Thus, we discern that there are two kinds of blessing – the personal-prophetic and the general-prophetic. A father’s blessing can be either a personal prophesy or a positive confession and prayer for God’s favor. Even the specific elements within the general blessing can be Holy Spirit inspired and in accord with God’s revealed purposes.
My personal preference is to lay hands on each individual and impart a personal, prophetic blessing. This is not always possible, especially in conferences where hundreds or thousands in attendance are wanting their father’s blessing. Before I impart a blessing I always pray and ask the Holy Spirit for specific blessings which He reveals are important for that group at the time. People who have never been blessed by their earthly fathers are especially blessed to hear that God and their spiritual father loves them and they are special and have a special purpose in being born and brought into God’s Kingdom.
From the examples found in Scripture, the father’s blessings included both temporal and spiritual blessings. For instance, God blessed Abraham with a land and many descendants, but also through him all the families of the earth would be blessed. The prophetic blessing revealed that Abraham would have spiritual father’s blessing contains only temporal benefits and is without spiritual content, it will be of little consequence.
Special thanks to The Children’s Bread Ministries for permission to use this text from the booklet “The Father’s Blessing” by Frank D. Hammond.