God has engineered every child with the seeds of success—and it’s a parent’s duty to see and prophetically speak that potential into the child’s spirit. Much of what a child needs to reach their potential is an adult who understands God’s thumbprint for them and helps the child understand what that means by picturing it for them. As Larry Crabb said, “A vision we give to others of who and what they could become has power when it echoes what the spirit has already spoken into their souls.”
Going Deep // Focus: Genesis 48:14-16
Jacob put his right hand on the head of Ephraim, though he was the younger boy, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, though he was the firstborn. Then he blessed Joseph and said, “May the God before whom my grandfather Abraham and my father, Isaac, walked—the God who has been my shepherd all my life, to this very day, the Angel who has redeemed me from all harm—may he bless these boys. May they preserve my name and the names of Abraham and Isaac. And may their descendants multiply greatly throughout the earth.”
If you looked up the words “dysfunction” in the Bible, you would find a footnote that said, “See Jacob’s family.” They brought disharmony, envy, rivalry, promiscuity, violence, estrangement to new heights —and that was on a good day. But over time, through some tough lessons, by making some strategic changes, and with God’s help, they turned a corner toward becoming a family of destiny.
Ultimately, God shaped this family into a nation—Israel, his covenant people. From Israel came the law of Moses, Levitical priesthood, the Davidic kingdom, the Messiah—Jesus Christ, and the Judeo-Christian heritage upon which American society was built. And we see how they began to turn that corner here in Genesis 48.
Jacob, now an old man does something for his children and grandchildren that every child wants and needs: He gave them “the blessing.” What do I mean by “the blessing”? Throughout the Bible, patriarchs of families and fathers would pass on “the blessing” to their children. It was a formal cultural occasion and a significant spiritual marker in the life of that child that shaped the rest of their life, even if it was an adult child when they received it. The father’s blessing would affirm the child’s value and give prophetic direction to their future…an impact that would last for generations.
We don’t do that much in our culture, but in truth, every human longs for both approval and prophetic guidance from their parents. Missing out on it leads us on a lifetime search for it in other ways…most of which are non-productive at best, and are destructive at worst.
How? How do you give them the blessing? Here’s what Jacob did—3 things:
First, you bless them by giving them meaningful touch. That is not easy in a culture that’s uneasy with physical contact…even in caring homes where parents, especially dads, tend to quit touching their kids once they reach grade-school. But notice what Jacob did in Genesis 48:10: “So Joseph brought his sons close to Jacob, and his father kissed them and embraced them.” Then, between Genesis 48:10-14, eight times there’s a reference to Jacob physically touching these two boys.
Throughout the Bible, “the blessing” was always accompanied by a meaningful touch. Jesus did this when he took the children in his arms and blessed them. God created us with 5 million touch receptors, and over 1/3 are in our hands. Jesus understood that touch communicates something powerful—that we’re loved and valued. It provides comfort, security, and acceptance.
Second, speak words of encouragement to them. Genesis 48:15 says, “Jacob blessed them and said, ‘May God bless these boys. May they be called by my name and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, and may they increase greatly upon the earth.”
There’s tremendous power in our words! Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” He may not have realized it, but he was echoing what the Bible teaches: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (Proverbs 18:21) Words of affirmation are powerful communicators of love, acceptance and appreciation. Without them, kids often grow up looking for it in ways that are unhealthy. But not only does withholding encouraging words hurt, we do even more damage by the negative words we use. Rather than shaping positively, critical, angry, negative words shatter emotionally.
Someone has said that it takes 40 positive affirmations to overcome just one word spoken in a hurtful way. We need to be keenly aware of how powerful our words are, and how powerful the absence of words of blessing can be. The people in your life, especially your children, need to regularly hear words that bless them.
Paul said it this way in Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up, according to their need, that it may benefit those who listen.” You can set the stage for a household of destiny by learning to bless with meaningful touch and encouraging words.
Third, envision a special future for them. You give “the blessing” by helping them to picture an amazing future. We see Jacob doing this in Genesis 48:16,19 “They will be called by the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac…may they greatly increase upon the earth…Manasseh also will develop into a people, and he also will be great. But Ephraim will be even greater and his descendants will enrich nations.” (MSG)
God has engineered every child with the seeds of success—and it’s a parent’s duty to see and prophetically speak that potential into the child’s spirit. Much of what a child needs to reach their potential is an adult who understands God’s thumbprint for them and helps the child understand what that means by picturing it for them. Larry Crabb said, “A vision we give to others of who and what they could become has power when it echoes what the spirit has already spoken into their souls.”
One of the ways you can envision a special future is through word pictures that express high value. Notice Genesis 48:20: “Israel,” he is referring to a time in the future when the nation of Israel, “will use your names to give blessings: May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.” (MSG)
A word-picture expresses a child’s God-given worth in a creative & unforgettable way—and often becomes the prophetic momentum for them to become that vision. Do that for your child. Find a common object, one that they value, and use it to paint a word picture of their special value and their special future. Discern God’s thumbprint for their life and prophetically speak that into their spirit and you’ll provide them with a self-renewing blessing. Touch and encourage your kids, and paint for them a picture a special future—that’s the blessings
And what a gift that is!