Sticks and stones have nothing on words.

Words are powerful. Phrases like “I have a dream,” “For king and country,” and “Just Do It” have led movements and changed perspectives around the world. One word can spark the action in a person’s life that leads to a change in their life. And that can change all the people around you, to change the world.

In Genesis 26-28, there are many times where important words are exchanged. God promised Isaac blessing. Abimelech saw that and made a covenant treaty with Isaac and his family. And for Jacob and Esau, sibling rivalry reached its height in the competition for a verbal blessing from their dad. Not only would this change who led the family group, but they believed with all they had that this blessing would effect the rest of their lives. We tend to scoff at this, but throughout the Bible, high importance is put on blessings and curses.

Team Isaac and Esau played first: Dad sent firstborn twin, man’s man, to go get some good meat. Team Rebecca and Jacob prepared meat, prepared a disguise, and sold Isaac that younger twin Jacob was the firstborn. He received the blessing:

“See, the smell of my son
    is as the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed!
28 May God give you of the dew of heaven
    and of the fatness of the earth
    and plenty of grain and wine.
29 Let peoples serve you,
    and nations bow down to you.
Be lord over your brothers,
    and may your mother’s sons bow down to you.
Cursed be everyone who curses you,
    and blessed be everyone who blesses you!”

And Esau came back and wept for a blessing. Then he swore to kill Jacob. And Jacob took his words seriously and rushed away.

And God stepped into the midst of the mess and spoke to Jacob (chapter 28):

“I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. 14 Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

Promise. Jacob was in awe. So he made a promise. If God would bring him back to the land, he would serve him for life. God held him to it.

Promises. Words. Do they make a difference? Sticks and stones make bruises that heal. Words make invisible wounds, but healing comes slowly. Words are powerful –  hurting, healing, breaking ties, binding teams. How do you use words?

God, thank You for the words You give, promises and words of power and comfort. You are good. It is amazing to see how just a few exchanges of these words changed the outcome of this family. And You were at work…and this family is the history of the Man who changed the world. Please help me to see how powerful Your words are, and how I can use words to change the people around me for better. Amen.

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