“The best inheritance a father can leave his children is a good example.” - John Walter Bratton
Throughout the years, I have received many gifts from my father. As a child, I looked forward to Christmas and birthdays, at which I would receive the toy or trinket I had been wishing for most. Even to this day my father has bequeathed to me more than his fair share of benevolent gifts. Although I have received many monetary gifts from my dad, the greatest gifts cost only pennies.
At key intersections of my life, my father would take the time to pen a letter to me. One such letter was when I was graduating high school and about to start college. He expressed his thanks for my life at home, and gave encouragement about the road ahead. I received a similar note before I got married to my wife. In all, I have probably received about two dozen of these letters, and they have meant more to me than all the treasures money could buy.
There is just something placed in the heart of a boy that wishes to hear words of comfort and encouragement from his father. No doubt at one point in your life you desired to hear “I’m proud of you” or “great job” from your father. Not a hollow, fake, and imitation word of praise, but one that was as genuine as the day is long. From the time I was a little boy to the present, nothing quite thrills my soul like the pride of my father.
To be a fly on the way of Jacob’s blessing ceremony with his sons would have been awesome. I wonder what each of them thought as the anticipation of their turn grew. Did they react, did they get mad, did they give condolences or hugs? What was the emotional temperature in the room? Unfortunately, we just don’t know. The Scriptures do not record any of the brother’s responses to their father’s blessings. We do know that some received scolding and cursing, while others were praised highly. We also are not privy to every instance and action of their lives. I am always left scratching my head at the lengthy and commending blessing of Judah.
Each of these men received a summary of their life and a blessing to attach to it. These names which would become synonymous with the tribes of Israel.
Jacob seems a God fearing and right man (he still hasn't shaken the meeting with God in the desert where he was given a limp!). His intentions seem right and his direction seem of God. With this final charge to his boys, Jacob dies.
Whatever your testimony has been to this point in your life, there is a lesson to be learned here. Our life is made up of the choices we make, hour by hour, day by day, and year by year. The testimony we build is our own, and we only have to look in the mirror to find the one responsible for the “name” we have been given. Jacob was able to summarize these men’s lives in a matter of seconds. What do people say about your life? What is the “by-word” of your testimony? What will the “-” on your tombstone represent? Better yet, is your life one worth blessing?
Today, make a decision to have a great testimony. To have a life that brings glory to God in everything you do. Regardless of what you have done, you have life left to live, track left to lay, and testimony left to be written… so make it good.
Daily Scripture Reading
Genesis 48 - 50
(Follow this Scripture Reading Plan to accompany this devotion and read through your Bible in a year)
“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”