“… Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head… and… he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head... Then he blessed Joseph and said, ‘May the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked faithfully, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the Angel who has delivered me from all harm - may he bless these boys. May they be called by my name and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, and may they increase greatly on the earth.’
…He blessed them that day”
Genesis 48: 14 - 16, 20, NIV, abridged, emphasis added

Extra reading: Genesis 35: 9 - 15, Genesis 12: 1 - 3

Did you have a moment to cast your eye over the extra readings of yesterday’s devotion. If not don’t worry, we’ll focus on that today.

 Let’s make the connection clear. In Genesis 12 God blesses Abram (his name changes to Abraham a bit later) and gives him a great promise. In Genesis 35 God blesses Abraham’s grandson Jacob (who is later called Israel), and gives him the same great promise. And in Genesis 48 Jacob, who is now called Israel, blesses Ephraim and Manasseh passing on the same promise to them.

That’s mind blowing: the laying on of hands passes on generational blessing! See also how the laying on of hands always includes a prophetic proclamation. Israel dies not long after this event, but his practice of the laying on of hands continues to shape generations after him. 

Israel was an godly  man with many many faults: a human like me and you. You can also shape generations after you by the practice of the laying on of hands. Don’t forsake this life-changing, future-shaping practice.


Thank you Heavenly Father that I can partner with you in blessing and shaping the next generation and the next and the next… today I renew my roll as someone who shapes your image in others.

Would you like to do this devotion with the family?

  1. Start by reading today’s passage. This could be the job of a child - maybe the abridged version above will be easier. See if they notice that the passage is the same as yesterday. Explain that God can show us new out of one passage and it’s good for us to keep our ear open and listen, rather than shutting our ears and think we already know it all.
  2. Show kids that Israel chose to agree with God and speak out a blessing with the laying on of hands. It was a choice: he could speak good words, or he could say nothing. It is always good to agree with God by speaking out his good words about others. What good words can you say about others?
  3. Does it feel scary to practice the laying on of hands? Explain to kids that adults also sometimes feel scared and that it’s okay to feel scared. It can be a wonderful adventure when you do the will of God even while feeling scared - feeling scared doesn’t have to control your actions. Fears go away, what is done with God remains.
  4. Finish by praying together and lead younger children. If the prayer above is too complex for children use the one below:

Dear Heavenly Father. I love you more than I love to feel comfortable. I can do godly things  because you make me able. Today I choose to do things that make you happy instead of doing  nothing.