Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Genesis 9:18-28

Good morning, dear friends!

This final passage in Genesis reveals a sorry episode in the life of Noah - and don't we all have "sorry" episodes in our lives at some point. One of the things that truly blesses me about the Bible is that all of the people in it are REAL people with stories I can relate to. If these were perfect heroes, it would be so discouraging, knowing we could never match up. But our beloved Bible heroes were flawed by sin, just as we are. After hundreds of years of faithfully walking with God in righteousness, Noah has an embarrassing moment .

Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. (vs.20-21)

Ye gads! He passed out naked! Jon Courson's commentary says that the original language makes it clear that his nakedness is tied to immoral behavior of some sort - and, frankly, I don't want to know! However, it is typical that when things are tough (going through rough waters in an ark) and we desperately need God, we walk closely by His side, but when things settle down, and we are humming along, we tend to get complacent - and that's when we are vulnerable. Now, getting drunk isn't the worst thing - it's what we DO when we are drunk that is the problem. I am always telling mothers of teenage girls that they should tell their daughters that the best form of birth control is to NOT drink!!! NOTHING good comes out of drunkenness. At the very least, we say things we should never say when we are drunk. At the extreme, families break up, jobs are lost, people are killed because of alcohol.

Now the point of this passage is not so much Noah's sin, but his sons' reactions. Ham apparently saw his father's state, and he immediately told his brothers. Don't we just love to run and spread the news of someone's downfall? What would the appropriate response be? Well, Shem and Japheth did the loving thing! They covered his nakedness. Notice that they would not even look upon it themselves, but backed in with a garment stretched between them (which would also prevent anyone else from looking in the tent as they backed in), and covered their father. 1 Peter 4:8 tells us that love covers a multitude of sins. This was the gracious act of Shem and Japheth. Wouldn't you rather be a Shem or Japheth to someone who has fallen, rather than be Ham the reporter?? I've bee a Ham too many times! LORD, help me to cover the sins of others in grace and mercy!

The repercussions of Ham's actions were fully visited upon his children! When Noah discovered what had happened, he cursed Ham's son, Canaan. Canaan became the father of one of the most evil cultures in history. God eventually wiped them out! What we do affects our children. Don't you cringe when you see one of your children displaying one of your unattractive traits - maybe your sarcastic nature or your temper???

On the other hand, Shem and Japheth were blessed by Noah:

“Praise be to the LORD, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. May God extend Japheth’s territory; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth.” (vs. 26-27)

Tomorrow, we'll look at just how these three lines of Noah turned out - and how his cursing and blessings played out.

Love to you all!

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