Our words have powerful effect on others, and especially so in the family. Prov. 18:21 (The Message) says, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.” Our human nature, tainted by sin, has the tendency to “kill” as we notice and point out the negative things or omissions we see in another. Perfectionism, obsessive compulsiveness to certain personal standards, expectations, tend to make us very susceptible to impose our standards on others, point out their failures, and force them to change to adapt to ours. On the other hand, no rules or standards, “anything goes” kind of attitude, also communicates one could not care less what the other does or becomes and could bring another to ruin. We need to learn to have the proper balance of rules with love and grace, realism with hope and blessing, to be applied in our relationships. Let us examine a tradition practiced in the biblical times – spoken blessings! As Prov. 16:24 says, “Gracious speech is like clover honey – good taste to the soul, quick energy for the body.”
The fathers in our past articles, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, all released God’s blessings upon their children by laying hands on them and speaking blessings on them. (see Genesis 27:27–29; 49:1-28). Moses also released blessings on Israel’s tribes about to finally enter the Land of Promise (Deuteronomy 33). Spoken blessings are a way of invoking God’s work and blessings in the life of a person, a people group, or a family, interceding on their behalf, praying for certain realities to take place into their future. Let us learn from these examples of spoken blessings.
The parent started with a past event or present status of the child that could have an impact on his future. Isaac’s supposed blessing meant for Esau who loved hunting was: “Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the LORD has blessed.” Likewise, Jacob’s blessing to his eldest was: “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, the first sign of my strength, excelling in honor, excelling in power.”
The parent also gave out praise or rebuke on character qualities or defects seen in the child. “Simeon and Levi are brothers—their swords are weapons of violence . . . Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel!”
The parent spoke of prayers, visions for the child: “May God give you of the dew of the heavens and the fatness of the earth and abundance of grain and wine.” “Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you.”
We recognized the power of blessings. So, my husband gave a spoken (and framed) blessing to our daughter and her husband at their wedding. He blessed them with — “God’s overwhelming grace, so that you are never overcome with the storms of doubt, fear, or failure, but instead overflow with His joy”; “God’s word of truth to fashion, mold, and make you into His treasures whose characters reflect the image of Jesus”; “health and strength of body, soul and spirit”; “depth of spiritual understanding and close walk with your Lord so that you will not stumble or falter, for the Word of God will be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path”; “spiritual influence, for you are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. You are like a tree planted by rivers of water. You will prosper in all your ways”; “success, so that you are the head and not the tail, you are above and not beneath”; “abounding prosperity, enabling you to generously bless others”; “pure and edifying relationships in life and that you will have favor with God and man”; “covenant love so that you remain faithful, loyal and loving till death do you part”; “fruitfulness – good fruit, much fruit and fruit that remains”; “May our Father gift you with children who will love God with their all and will love others well. May He personally train you how to shape and sharpen each child over the years just as a valiant warrior carefully prepares each arrow for battle. May you learn to lead and nurture your family with tender, skillful hands so that you will aim and give each of them flight toward the most worthy of targets, the Father’s heart and glory!”
Spoken blessings of what one sees in another could affirm; spoken blessings of what one prays for could plant seeds of hope and provide direction to another. We may just be pleasantly surprised at how God hears and makes them become realities in our loved ones’ lives!
Evelyn Ramos-Pajaron (email@example.com)