Tony Evans - Begging For A Blessing
Fatherlessness dominates our cultural landscape today. Forty percent of all children in our country are raised without their biological father. In the African-American community, 72% of children born are born to single parents. Now, fatherlessness comes in many shapes and many forms. Some are fatherless because they've been abandoned by their father. Their father sired a child that they were not willing to take responsibility for. Other forms of fatherlessness is that the father may be there, but he might as well not be there, because he's not accepted the responsibility of fatherhood. And so what we have developed is a generation of young people, children who are growing up in a fatherless environment, and so they go seeking pseudo-fatherhood, things that look like it could be a father for me, whether it's a gang, or whether it's their posse or their homies, or whether some other influence that's not in their best interest.
Fatherlessness has become the daunting, overwhelming, painful reality of our culture that is fraying us. When God created man, before he gave him a wife and gave him children, he gave him the responsibility to act on his behalf. But now we have men who are simply satisfied to say, "I'm not happy". What we're having today are men, because they are no longer happy, abandoning responsibility. And so at the heart of our crisis today is the crisis of fatherlessness that has imposed on us a curse on the land. Malachi chapter 4 verses 4 through 6 says when the fathers are separated from the children, there will be a curse on the land. And so we are finding ourselves enveloped in a cursed environment because of the crisis of fatherlessness. In our passage today, we have a son begging for the blessing of his father. Esau is begging for a blessing.
Now, you must strip your mind about the casual use of the word bless. We say, you know, God bless you, I bless you. We use the word fairly casually today, many times. But when Esau was asking daddy to bless him, he wasn't just saying, "Daddy, say, 'I bless you.'" No, the blessing was speaking about something else. It was speaking about the continuity of the covenant. A symbol for the word blessing was covenantal continuity. Let me explain what I mean. It is my hope that every head of the household here has a will. If you do not have a will, you're not operating responsibly. A will simply says, "This is what I want to happen with what I've been entrusted with to pass on to the next generation". Not having a will is not going to keep you from dying. Many people say, "Well, I don't like to deal with wills, 'cause it reminds me of death". Well, you need to be reminded. "It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgment".
It is irresponsible not to have a plan that you make rather than a plan that some court makes for you. So, a will is bequeathing forward that which you have accumulated in your time on earth. You will it forward. A will speaks of an inheritance, usually related to stuff. In fact, folk gather when wills are read, with their fingers crossed, hoping that there's a little something-something in there for them, or more importantly a whole lot of something-something in there for them. A will is bequeathing forward an inheritance. When Esau saw the blessing, and when Jacob tricked Esau out of his blessing, he was after the inheritance, but the inheritance, or the blessing, is called a covenant. It was an agreement that God made to pass on the program of God into the next generation, and so that's what the blessing was. It was passing on the inheritance of God.
And that's why you regularly read in the Bible, "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob". God never says, "I am the God of Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel". Not because he was against women, but because the man was responsible to pass it on. The man was responsible to make sure that the next generation... all of us as parents should want our children to be better off than we are. That should be a desire, okay? That should be a goal, that your children are better off than you are. The problem is that we only think of better off in terms of stuff. We think of better off in terms of money or clothes or housing or, you know, the other physical features of life, and certainly inheritances include that. But the blessing in the Bible, while it included stuff, included much more, because the blessing included the divine stamp that was placed on the next generation from the previous generation. And in the Scripture, you lived and you looked for the blessing.
In our story, Jacob, the younger, wants the blessing. So, he concocts a plan with his mother, Rebekah. As you'll see in a moment, Esau was the athlete, so he was daddy's favorite. He was the hunter. Jacob was the mama's boy. He liked to cook. Says Rebekah loved Jacob. That was, he was a mama's boy. They concocted a plan to steal the blessing from the older son, Esau. And so while Esau went out to hunt, to get food in order to bring it back to his father, for him to get the blessing, Rebekah told Jacob, "Look, what you do is, you go get me a goat. I'll cook the meal. You go put on your brother's clothes, 'cause your father can't see". It says his eyes were dim. "He won't be able to see. You go in there with your brother's clothes, and you bring the meal that your brother's supposed to bring, and let him bless you".
So, Jacob does that. He goes and gets the goat. The mother cooks the goat. He goes, puts on his brother's clothes. He walks in. His father Isaac says, "Who's that, who's that, who's that"? And Jacob says, "It's me, it's Esau, your oldest son". He says, "I have your food". He says, "Come close to me". He says, "Now, you feel like Esau, but you sound like Jacob". It says in verse 23, he did not recognize him. And so he blesses him. I'll talk about that in a moment. All I want you to get now is how critical the blessing was. He was willing to join partners with his mother against his daddy in order to get it, because this thing involved his future. Now this raises the question, because obviously Jacob is wrong, and Rebekah is wrong, 'cause they're tricking Isaac. Yet, throughout the Bible, God praises Jacob and not Esau, even though Jacob is doing the wrong thing. The question is why? Well, you need chapter 25 to answer that.
If you go back a page to chapter 25, verse 27, "When the boys grew up". So they're younger in chapter 25. "When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field". He's the athlete. "Jacob was a peaceful man living in tents. Now, Isaac loved Esau because he had a taste for game," 'cause he's the athlete, "and Rebekah loved Jacob. When Jacob had cooked stew," 'cause he's hanging with mama, "So when he had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field and was famished, starving. So, Esau says to Jacob," verse 30, "'Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished.'" Verse 31, "Jacob says, 'First sell me your birthright. Sell me the rights of the firstborn, and I'll give you something to eat.' Esau said, 'Behold, I'm about to die, I'm so hungry. So of what use is a birthright to me if I'mma starve to death?' And Jacob said, 'First swear to me that you'll give me your birthright, the rights of the firstborn.' So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew. And he ate, and drank, and rose, and went on his way". Here it is. "Thus Esau despised his birthright".
Esau thought so little of his birthright, he was willing to give it up for some food. As far as Esau was concerned, stay with me, "There was no connection between my birthright and my blessing. My birthright is over here, and my blessing is over there". But when you read Hebrews chapter 12, verses 16 and 17, it says don't be like the immoral, godless Esau, who sold his birthright for food. In other words, the problem with Esau is he was only present-oriented. He only wanted what he wanted now, because he wasn't thinking about the future later. He says, "I'm hungry now, I want some food now, give it to me now, and I'll deal with later when later comes, 'cause I'm starving right now".
One of the problems we have among men is they're present oriented. I'm not happy now. I don't want the responsibility now. It's all about now. It's not all about now. It is about you passing forward the blessing that is the divine statement of God, from you, to you, and through you, because you are future oriented. But because so many men, and I praise God that we have so many exceptions of that in our church, men who have taken a stand for God, for his kingdom. But far too many men are present-oriented. And so because they do not think beyond themselves, they abandon their families, abandon their children, become irresponsible, refuse to turn around, because they are abandoning the blessing, which is future-oriented. He just wanted food now. He made a separation that was going to catch up with him. So, he gets tricked, but God doesn't interfere with it, because he didn't value his birthright.
And so we have Esau begging for a blessing. I mean he's saying, "Please, Daddy". There are men here today... How many men here today were raised by single parents? You were raised by a single mother, you were raised by a single mom. Numbers of you. And that's becoming more and more common in our culture. And praise God for the great job that so many of our single women do. But all a mother can be is the best mother she can be. She was never meant to have dual roles, when there should be a man in the picture. He says, "Father, bless me," because that's what the father is supposed to do. He's supposed to pass it on, and the next generation should feel God all over them, if you've got kids in your house. "Father bless me," not mama bless me. "Father, bless me, so that I become the boy, I become the person that I was meant to be. Pass on God to me and all the stuff that goes with that, but pass that on to me".
Now, what did the blessing include? First of all, his father kissed him, verse 26. "Please come close and kiss me," because the blessing included an intimate touch. He says, "Here's the blessing, my son". Verse 28 and 29, "May God give you of the dew of heaven, of the fatness of earth, of the abundance of grain and wine. May people serve you and nations bow down to you. May you be master of your brethren, and may your mother's sons bow down to you. Cursed is he who curses you, and blessed are those who bless you". God reached all the way back to the Abrahamic covenant. Abraham passed it on to Isaac. Isaac is now passing it on to Jacob, where it should have been passed on to Esau, who turned away his birthright.
You know what the covenant was? You know what the blessing was? Divine favor moving forward. Divine favor moving forward. The blessing was future inheritance from God. Please notice the language. May God do this, may God do that, may God do this, may God do that. See, that's where the blessing is missing. We're just saying I want you to do this, and I want you to do that. Oh, you want to be a doctor, you want to be a lawyer, you want to be an engineer, you want to be a teacher. Nothing wrong with that, but the blessing was what God would do. I want God to do this, I want God to do that, I want God to do the other. I want God, it was about God, God, God, God, not just what I want for you or what you want for you, but what God wants for you. That was the blessing, because it would happen because of God. And so he wanted the blessing. It was a declaration of divine favor, of divine provision, of divine protection, and of divine dominion. Whenever you see a caterpillar, it's got a glorious future.
Now, I know what you're looking at right now ain't much, but when that thing cocoons, it's going to be pretty, and it's going to take flight. We've got a generation of children who don't take flight. They're still crawling 'cause they've never been blessed. They've never had the blessing stand over them to affirm them and to speak God into them, not just stuff for them, but God into them, who will bring them the appropriate stuff. Your will must be more than stuff. My will must be more than stuff. It must be God and the transfer of divine favor.
In "Rocky V," Rocky is retired, because he's gotten bruised and beaten, his eye is bad, he can't fight anymore in Rocky V. He comes across a young upcoming fighter named Tommy Gunn, and Tommy Gunn has admired Rocky Balboa, as he followed his career. And so they meet and become friends, and he says to Rocky Balboa, "Rocky, Italian Stallion, will you train me"? Rocky said, "Well, yeah, I can stay in the fight game by helping you, so yeah, I'll train you". So, Rocky works with him, and Tommy Gunn goes up the ladder, up the ladder, up the ladder, and becomes the heavyweight champion of the world due to the influence of Rocky Balboa. The movie comes down to the last 15 minutes. The whole movie zeroes in on that last 15 minutes.
See, Tommy Gunn has now become the champion of the world, and it's gotten to his head. So, he's gotten a lot of money, man. He's gotten a lot of attention, a lot of notoriety in the news. So, Tommy Gunn is living large, and he doesn't need Rocky anymore. In fact, he gets belligerent with Rocky. In that last 15 minutes, they're in a gathering, and Tommy Gunn hits Rocky Balboa's wife's husband, his brother-in-law. I mean, he clocks him and knocks him down because of some argument they were having. Then Tommy Gunn insults Rocky and insults Rocky's son. Then Tommy Gunn dares Rocky to do anything about it. Rocky tears off his shirt, and the rumble begins. They're out in the street fighting each other. It's a street fight. The problem is Tommy Gunn is too young, too strong, and too fast. And so while Rocky is doing the best he can, he can't keep up with this young guy. And so it comes down to a punch that Tommy Gunn throws, and he hits Rocky, and he sends Rocky down in the gutter, a beaten man.
While in the gutter, while down and out, Rocky remembers. Up on the screen above his head, it shows what he's thinking. So, he thinks back to Rocky I and Rocky II, and he remembers Apollo Creed, and how he fought and became champion of the world. And when he remembered Apollo Creed, he tried to get up, but he couldn't. Then he remembered Clubber Lang in Rocky III, and how Clubber Lang had beaten him, but how he fought back to win back the championship. And when he remembered, then he tried to get up, but he couldn't. Then he remembered Ivan Drago, the Russian monster, and how he went over to Russia and defeated him on his own turf, so that the Russians were singing the national anthem. And he remembered that, and he tried to get up, but he couldn't. But then he remembered somebody else. He remembered his old coach, Mickey.
Now, Mickey had died in Rocky IV. Rickey was already dead, but Mickey was already dead, but he remembers Mickey, when Mickey was standing over him, saying, "Get up, get up, get up, you bum, 'cause Mickey loves you". Now, that's when the music came on. The music comes on, and Rocky Balboa, he stands up, he shakes it off. Tommy Gunn is walking off in the distance. Rocky Balboa looks in the distance and says, "Yo, Tommy! One more round". He found strength he didn't have and power he didn't possess, and he was able to defeat the young buck. Why was he able to defeat him? Because he remembered somebody who had died, who had then come alive again to remind him of what he could do. I don't care how long you've been down in the gutter as a man, how long you've been defeated as a man. Jesus Christ is standing over you today saying, "Get up, get up, get up, you bum, 'cause Jesus loves you". So, it's time to take your stand and be the man and father God has called you to be.
One of the great longings in the Jewish family was for the father to transfer what was known as the blessing to his sons. This was the favor of God and a hopeful future that would be transferred generationally, because it would be understood that those sons were to have families that would replicate the values, the covenants, the commitments, and the hopes that God had given to the nation. We have a nation of young boys who have missed the blessing. They've not had fathers in their lives to pass on divine favor. And as a result, they are aimless, helpless, and often hopeless. That's why the need today is for a blessing. Much of the carnage you see are young men looking to be blessed by a father. So, if there is no biological father, there needs to be a surrogate father, because a generation is crying out for the blessing, and without it there is no hope for the future. Let's give the next generation the blessing of a father.