“Then Jacob called his sons and said, ‘Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall happen to you in days to come. Assemble and listen, O sons... Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down before you. The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples…’
“’Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; his branches run over the wall. The archers bitterly attacked him, shot at him, and harassed him severely, yet his bow remained unmoved; his arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, by the God of your father who will help you, by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that crouches beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. The blessings of your father are mighty beyond the blessings of my parents, up to the bounties of the everlasting hills. May they be on the head of Joseph, and on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.’ When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people.” Genesis 49:1-2,8,10,22-26,33
This is a touching scene, the elderly and flawed father at his last. Trickery, favoritism, tenacity, a lifetime of lessons through struggle, injustice, and the grace of God, were bound in this patriarch on his deathbed. He called his sons, representing the twelve tribes of God’s Israel, to hear his parting words, and spoke over them truth and blessing. His words conveyed vision for the future and understanding of who they were and what they had endured. He reminded them who their God was and how He helped and loved them, and he bathed them in the sweet benevolence of their Lord as a final goodbye. His pronouncement in the cold chill of imminent death covered them with the grace of warm light .
With those we love, there are many ways to leave an impression, a variety of messages we convey with goodbye. This passage reminds us to be thoughtful and immerse our minds in the Almighty as we offer parting gifts– for they can be true gifts that lift the sights, bolster with security, arm with truth, and adorn with love and grace. Are we choosing words that reinforce our worry and doubt (and are really about us), or the greatness and security of God’s care and promises (and exalt Him)? How different are “Drive carefully,” and “Be safe” from “Go in grace, you are loved, God is able” and “The Lord bless and keep you”? (Numbers 6:24-26; Ephesians 6:23-24; 2 Timothy 4:22; 2 Peter 3:18; Jude 24-25)
Will we take every opportunity to anoint others with genuine blessings of divine truth that build godly hope and confidence, Bible promises that reinforce the soul, reminders of God’s delight and singing that feed happiness? We must know Christ and His word to pass Him on. What are we doing to store us blessings we can impart? (Zephaniah 3:17)
Father, make me a conduit of Your blessing, to point others to You.