Meditations on ‘Focusing Faith’ : 15. Faith and the Future
Heb 11:20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
If you want to know about blessings and curses, for the rules you go to Deuteronomy 27-29 but if you want to see the practice go and watch old man Isaac. Let’s just take note first of all what happened with Isaac and his boys. It has a strange start: “When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see, he called for Esau his older son and said to him, “My son.” “Here I am,” he answered. Isaac said, “I am now an old man and don’t know the day of my death. Now then, get your weapons–your quiver and bow–and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me. Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die.” (Gen 27:1-4) I have often pondered why did Isaac want his favourite food before he blessed his oldest son? I can only conclu/de that it was a bit like when David played his harp to sooth Saul or they would play music to release the spirit of God in the prophets. It speaks to the unity of spirit and soul in us I think. Isaac knows he has to bless the first-born son and the nice food provided by this son would in some way make him feel good, and feeling good would open him to God’s Spirit so that he could bless him.
So what is a blessing? It is a prophetic declaration of goodness over another; it is expressing the heart of God, His goodness for that person, and because it comes from God it is in fact more than simply a declaration of God’s intent, it is a decree to make it happen. Pronouncing a blessing is a profound thing – but of course it is an act of faith. It is a sure belief being spoken out that this is God’s intent for this person.
Now because of the dysfunctional aspect of Isaac’s family, Rebekah and Jacob conspired to con old man Isaac who was virtually blind, to pronounce the blessing over Jacob and not Esau. Now in fact Scripture makes it clear that it was God’s will for Jacob to receive the blessing of the first-born son and the interesting thing is that Isaac knows that having pronounced it over Jacob he cannot just do it over Esau. No when it comes to light what has happened and Esau turns up to be blessed, Isaac responds, ““Your dwelling will be away from the earth’s richness, away from the dew of heaven above. You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother. But when you grow restless, you will throw his yoke from off your neck.” (Gen 27:39,40) It is true prophecy in both cases.
Now the crucial issue for our studies was that Isaac believed that as the Patriarch he could speak out a blessing over his son and it would be done. When Isaac realised what had happened he said, “I ate it just before you came and I blessed him–and indeed he will be blessed!” (Gen 27:33) It is no coincidence that we later find old man Jacob leaning on his staff and blessing his children in the same way and we’ll consider the different aspect of that in the next meditation.
The vital issue here is that a human being can be a channel that opens the door to the future for another human being. The modern day New Testament prophetic gift is the later almost equivalent to this. Remember Paul taught the Corinthians, “everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.” (1 Cor 14:3) It may, usually perhaps, have a future dimension to it, what the Lord will be leading us to become or into, or it may be a declaration for the present that requires immediate action, but whatever it is it should strengthen, encourage or comfort, and those are all things bringing the goodness of God, which is what a blessing does.
But then I said it is an ‘almost equivalent’ but not every prophetic word will bring about what it speaks for some words are conditional – “The Lord will do this, if you will do that.” It is not a guarantee of what will happen in such a case. However there are cases where the word says the Lord will do something and that is nearer to a blessing that we have been considering.
If we are sensitive to the Lord then if we are used to praying over one another, there will be times when we are able, by faith, to speak words of blessing over another person when the Lord is wanting to bring special encouragement to them. For example, the words, “The Lord bless you with a generous spirit” indicate the Lord is imparting a gift of faith specifically in respect of giving to others. Or perhaps the words might be, “The Lord bless you with a heart of compassion,” indicating the Lord is imparting a special measure of compassion to that person, no doubt to open up a ministry to the needy. If we take Solomon as an example, it is likely that there is already an element of that in the person and the Lord is just increasing it in their awareness so they can step out on it and do the things on God’s heart. Solomon clearly already had a measure of wisdom to ask the Lord for wisdom to rule his people. The Lord knew that and perhaps that is why He came to Him in a dream asking what he would like. He imparted greater wisdom to that which was already there in embryo form. Often such a blessing will do just the same.
Whatever these things are – words of blessings, words of prophecy, words of wisdom, words of knowledge – they are all spoken out by faith. We sense the nudging of the Holy Spirit and we speak them out and become a link in God’s plan to bring this particular thing into being on the earth, through another. They come by hearing God and the speaking them out is an act of faith.