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The Blessing and Fathers

The blessing is the most important thing we can give our children.

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My wife and I began having children at way too young an age. We had three children by the time I was 25 years old, including one with special needs (which is like having six children). These decisions (or lack of planning and decisions) meant we spent most of our life living in “catch up” mode. Our career paths were behind what others our age experienced. Financial realities, social dynamics, education…It seemed like every part of life was on a different schedule than our friends and peers in similar age groups.

There was no lack of difficulty in the pathway we chose for building our family, but there was one thing we did right. We knew we were ignorant. Perhaps we didn’t realize the extent of our ignorance, but we knew we needed help. And we knew we had to find our answers in the Word of God.

As a father, I dove into learning about fatherhood after receiving the news that our firstborn was on his way. I was excited! I always sensed my primary calling in life was my role as a father, and now the big day was here. I read every book I could. I listened to every sermon on fatherhood I could find. I did every topical study in the Bible I could imagine. I did everything I could to prepare, even if everyone suggested there was no way to really be prepared for fatherhood.

If I could do it all over again, there are many changes I would make regarding myself and my ways as a father. Nevertheless, there was one pillar to fatherhood I found that holds to this day. The one common denominator I found when studying fatherhood throughout scripture was the idea of the blessing.

Over and over again, we see fathers blessing their children from the Old Testament to the New Testament. Fathers held a special authority to deposit a grace upon their children that no one else could give. This grace was called the blessing.

What Is the Blessing?

There is no single definition for what the blessing is. In many examples throughout scripture, there was a financial component to it. The fathers gave their children a financial inheritance that helped secure them and make them more stable and more robust in life.

the blessing

Isaac Blessing Jacob, by Govert Flinck, c. 1638, Dutch painting, oil on canvas. Jacob, pretending to be his older twin brother, Esau, is tricking their blind father into bestowing Esau’s rightful

Beyond literal money, the physical inheritance includes training our children and preparing them to be good men and women in this world. I want my daughter to be strong, confident, and able to fill any space she feels called by God to step into. I want my sons to know how to look another man in the eye, firmly shake hands, open the door for a lady, and be dependable in both the extraordinary and the mundane aspects of life. I want my children instilled with specific values that make them quality human beings in the earth, such as good work ethics, standing up for the helpless, and saying please and thank you. These essential but often overlooked values are part of a father’s blessing to his children. He teaches them why the values are important and models how they should be implemented into a lifestyle.

Perhaps these elements of the blessing can be gained from a book, but there is a grace on fathers to pass maturity to their children with power and effectiveness unmatched by any other resource in the world. A father’s blessing shows the pathway to his children that goes beyond head knowledge to life-filled applications. A father who blesses his children impacts the earth with generational shifts.

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s childrenProverbs 13:22 (NKJV)

The father’s blessing to his children outlined throughout the Bible seemed to straddle the natural and the spiritual dimensions of life. It touched the children at both physical and psychological levels.

In one of the most famous stories about a father blessing his children, we find twin brothers Jacob and Esau. Jacob, the trickster, literally swindled his brother Esau out of his blessing as the oldest son. We find that Esau still received an inheritance from their father, Isaac. Still, Esau recognized a more profound loss upon learning that Isaac gave his blessing to Jacob instead of Esau.

And Esau said to his father, “Have you only one blessing, my father? Bless me—me also, O my father!” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept. Genesis 27:38 (NKJV)

There is a psychological aspect of the blessing that only a father can give his children. It is just as important, perhaps more, than the physical aspects of the blessing. We can hear the impact of losing that blessing in Esau’s cry, “Oh my father!”  Much of the despair and frustration accounted for in adult life today, along with the coping mechanism we adopt to navigate these dark waters, are the result of a failure to gain our father’s blessing in our own life.

The father’s blessing is the validation and acceptance that strengthens children to stand, develop, and mature. It empowers children to suffer loss and defeat, victory and success, and they become better through both. It is not about constant affirmation but the gift of acceptance, identity, and love.

Jesus talked about a day when we stand before God with the hope of receiving the ultimate Father’s blessing when God says “well done” to us (Matthew 25:23). This is a reality of His approval we can walk in now. It also represents accessibility to our heavenly Father’s throne and voice that I want to emulate for my children.

 A Duty to Bless

When Moses consecrated and inaugurated the priesthood, he taught Aaron and his sons how to bless the children of Israel.

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:

“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.”‘

“So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”

Numbers 6:22-27 (NKJV)

These words made up part of a prayer I prayed over my children nearly every night as I tucked them into bed when they were young. I pray it over them today even as they have moved into their own homes to launch their adult lives.

the blessing

As fathers, we have a duty to bless our children. Our blessing makes them strong. A special grace sits upon fathers to impart this unseen reality to their children. It is not something we deserve. It is simply something God built into the design of manhood. How we manage the grace for blessing can make or break our children.

The effectiveness of the grace is amplified by the quality of life we live. When we live as good, honorable, and righteous men, the grace of the blessing flows more easily into our children’s lives. None of us are alone. There is no such thing as a self-made person. A real man, a good woman, needs the grace of their father’s blessing pouring into their lives.

The righteous man walks in his integrity;

His children are blessed after him.

Proverbs 20:7 (NKJV)

svg10 min read

JB Shreve

JB Shreve is the host of the JB Shreve podcast and the End of History podcast channels. He is the author of multiple books.

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