Generational Blessings (Part I)

When we read the Old Testament, we find the importance and the impact of generational blessings through centuries.

And it happened, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine; and Israel heard about it. Genesis 35:22

Jacob had twelve sons, and his firstborn, Reuben, sinned against God and his father when he slept with his father’s concubine. This led to Jacob’s displeasure, which had a high cost for Reuben’s descendants.

And Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days:

2 “Gather together and hear, you sons of Jacob,
And listen to Israel your father.

3 “Reuben, you are my firstborn,
My might and the beginning of my strength,
The excellency of dignity and the excellency of power.
4 Unstable as water, you shall not excel,
Because you went up to your father’s bed;
Then you defiled it—
He went up to my couch. Genesis 49:1-4

When time came to blessing his children, Jacob did not do so with Reuben. Because of the sin Reuben committed, Jacob told him that he would not excel in life. This curse would impact the generations coming after Reuben who settled in the Promised Land. While Reuben’s was going to receive land, he lost the privilege of having double portion as the firstborn.

And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.  Your offspring whom you beget after them shall be yours; they will be called by the name of their brothers in their inheritance. Genesis 48:5-6

On the other hand, Jacob chose to bless Joseph with a double portion. He took both of Joseph’s sons and treated them as his own. Interestingly, Ephraim and Manasseh had not done anything to deserve this special treatment. Still, because Joseph was in a good relationship with his father Jacob, they were the benefactors of the father’s blessings.

Nowadays, we have a shallow understanding of blessings, and we think we can easily bless each other and go our merry way. However, the scripture clearly shows the impact of Jacob’s blessings on the life of his children and the importance of being in the right relationship with our parents.

What do you believe about blessings and curses? Are your beliefs Biblical or cultural?

I will continue with this subject in the next devotional.

Image by Nisha Gill from Pixabay


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