Drunk and Naked–Love Covers a Multitude: Genesis 9:18-29

Love Covers a Multitude of Sins by {studiobeerhorst}-bbmarie

The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the whole earth.

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. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked.

When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, he said,

“Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.”

He also said,

“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.”

After the flood Noah lived 350 years. Noah lived a total of 950 years, and then he died.

Genesis 9:18-29

Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. (v.20) Noah spent most of the last 120+ years as a carpenter. He built the ark and, presumably, he built his house after the ark came to rest. He spent more than a year as a zoo keeper during his time in the ark with the animals. Yet verse 20 tells us that Noah is a man of the soil. It’s interesting how God sometimes gives us our work assignment for a season, then the season changes and we’re to work in a different field. If you’re not working at your church consider Noah’s seasons of carpentry and zoo keeping. He didn’t build forever — he built for a season. He didn’t care for the animals forever — he cared for them for a season. If you’re reluctant to volunteer in the children’s ministry at your church because you don’t want to be locked in, look at it as a season. Volunteer for a year or a month. See how it goes. It’s not forever. It’s just for a season. Noah’s season of carpentry saved all of humanity. Your season of ministry will also bear fruit. Noah helped for a season and was used by God. Help for a season and see how God uses you.

When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. (v.21) I’m currently reading a book about Billy Graham titled The Preacher and the Presidents. This is a fascinating book about Graham’s considerable influence on every president from Harry Truman to George W. Bush. As I read I’m blown away by two seemingly contradictory messages. The first is how mightily God used the man Billy Graham to influence the world for Jesus. The second is how human Billy Graham is. I won’t share any of the humanity of God’s annointed. And Mr. Graham certainly never fell into drunkeness. Yet he had his frailties and faults just like the rest of us. If you’re interested in learning about the remarkable life of Billy Graham and his relationship with the presidents check out The Preacher and the Presidents by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy.

In verse 21 we see Noah, “a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time,” we see Noah, the one who “walked faithfully with God,” we see Noah: sin. (Genesis 6:9) Noah, the great man of God drinks in excess. The one who avoided the temptation to drink in excess while living among a people who likely indulged in drunkeness, now, separated from the debauch influences of the pre-flood society, falls into sin. Sometimes, just when we think we’ve successfully navigated through the season of temptation is when we’re most vulnerable. That’s an important time to keep in mind how much we need God’s help to walk the path God has in mind for us.

And notice that as a result of Noah’s drunkeness he lay uncovered. That’s how it always is with drinking. No one disputes it. People are uncovered when they drink. Inhibitions are reduced when under the influence of alcohol. People say things, people do things that would make them blush were they sober. The likelihood of sin increases proportionately with the amount of alcohol we consume. The Bible doesn’t say it’s wrong to drink but from this point forward the Bible says it’s wrong to be drunk. It’s undeniable that where alcohol abounds sin abounds in greater measure.

Both the account of Billy Graham and the account of Noah are a source of great hope for you and for me. Here are two men who were mightily used by God. And you and I have something in common with them both: we’re human, we sin, we fail. Perhaps God will use you and I mightily as well, for all these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. (1 Corinthians 12:11) I pray God’s Holy Spirit will determine to choose you, and to choose me to be used by God.

Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. (v.22) The King James Version puts it this way And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. (v.22 KJV) Some scholars believe that the words saw the nakedness are used as a euphemism for a sexual act as similar words are used in Leviticus 18:6. Others believe that it’s more along the lines of what’s described in Habakkuk 2:15, Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors, pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk, so that he can gaze on their naked bodies! What’s not in question is that there was some type of sexual sin committed here on the part of Ham. Something damaging happened for verse 24 says that Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him.

Then we see that Ham follows up with a proclamation of his father’s nakedness. Ham told his two brothers. But why? Why did Ham feel compelled to talk about his father’s nakedness? Why do you and I feel compelled to talk about the weaknesses and shortcomings of those who are close to us? It’s our sin nature surfacing. “But I see it so clearly,” we think. “I just need to get this off my chest,” we say. “Others need to know the truth,” we reason. But oh the damage we do when we share about the weaknesses of others. We experience damage to relationships. We even experience damage to the trust of the person we’re sharing with. Because if I talk about the weaknesses of others who’s to say that later I won’t talk about the weaknesses of the one I’m sharing with. Exposing the problems and weaknesses of others is damaging on so many levels.

Lord keep us from the temptation of gossip.

But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked. (v.23) In contrast to Ham, Shem and Japheth went to the trouble of taking a garment, laying it across their shoulders, then walking backwards to avoid looking upon their father’s nakedness. They didn’t want to look upon their father’s nakedness as Ham did. And they desired to cover their father so others wouldn’t see his nakedness as well. This is love in action. This is 1 Peter 4:8 being lived out by Shem and Japheth before 1 Peter 4:8 was written. God tells us above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8) When a loved one sins we have choices to make. We can join them (as Adam did with Eve), we can expose their sin to others through talk (or texts, or emails, or . . .), or we can, like Shem and Japheth, turn our face the other way so we won’t see the weaknesses of others. We can, like Shem and Japheth cover the weaknesses of others. Shem and Japheth chose to cover their father’s sin. And as we’ll see, they were blessed for it.

“Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.” (v.24) Before we see Shem and Japheth blessed, we see Ham cursed. “But it’s Canaan, Ham’s son that’s being cursed,” you might say. I don’t know about Ham, but I’d rather be cursed myself than have one of my sons cursed. That’s how it is with sin. We might think that when we sin we’ll bear the consequences on our own but one of the many problems with sin is that it doesn’t just effect the sinner. The sin of Ham resulted in the culture of the Canaanites becoming one of the most debauch and perverse in the history of mankind. And as we’ve seen in the previous post Because You Have Done This the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23) There was death to the relationship between Ham and his father. And ultimately death to the entire Canaanite culture as they were wiped out due to their strangely perverse society.

He also said,“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.” (v.26-27) Would you like to be associated with praise to the LORD like Shem? Would you like to see your territory extended like Japheth’s? Then live out 1 Peter 4:8 and cover your brother, cover your sister, cover your father and mother. Speak of peoples’ strengths. Cover their weaknesses. Over time people will notice. Over time people will associate you with God’s love. And over time your territory of influencing others for God’s kingdom will increase. Who doesn’t want that?

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Luke 6:36-37

References:

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

Biblos

Ray Stedman

The Preacher and the Presidents by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy

Jon Couson

Chuck Missler

Photo courtesy of  {studiobeerhorst}-bbmarie Click on: http://www.flickr.com/photos/74782490@N00/469815364

God and Noah–The Rainbow After the Flood: Genesis 9:1-17

God and Noah Rainbow After the FloodThen God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

“But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.

“Whoever sheds human blood,
by humans shall their blood be shed;
for in the image of God
has God made mankind.

As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.”

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

Genesis 9:1-17

In the last chapter we saw that the first thing Noah did when he got off the boat was to bless the Lord by building Him an alter. (Genesis 8:20) At the beginning of this chapter we see God blessing Noah. (Geneis 9:1-17) No one’s future is without trial however the surest way to continue in God’s blessings is to thank Him for those you’ve already received. God provides Noah protection from the animals of the earth, he approves the eating of meat as long as there’s no blood in it, and God blesses Noah with dominion over all the earth and everything in it. God makes a covenant with Noah, the animals, and all mankind — a covenant that came with a sign.

The Covenant is called the Noahic Covenant and there are three parts to to it: Menu, Government, and Mercy.

Menu:

“But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.” (v.4) Meat is on the menu, though the blood is not to be consumed. It’s to be separated from the meat out of mercy to the animal, that the animal will not be consumed while still alive, and in recognition of it’s purpose in sacrifice. Noah’s life and our life is sustained by the life of the animal given for meat. Later when the law was given, the sacrifice of animals atoned for the sins of the Jews. And now that the blood of God’s Son has been given we can have eternal life, as long as we choose to receive Him.

Government:

And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. (v.5) A study conducted by the University of Zurich found that “At the age of three, children were almost completely selfish.” (Nature News Article) No kidding? Anyone with children could have attested to that. Everyone of us is born into sin. In the last chapter we heard God say that every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. (Genesis 8:21) For this reason, in chapter 9, we see God declare what is the foundation for government from this point forward. He demands that “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.” (v.6) Over the last ten years or so a number of studies have shown that capital punishment does in fact deter murders. In fact the recent studies “count between three and 18 lives that would be saved by the execution of each convicted killer.” (CBS News article)

The New Testament also acknowledges and endorses capital punishment. For Paul wrote, For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. (Romans 13:3-4)

Even if you don’t happen to believe that capital punishment is a deterrent we see the reason for it at the end of verse 6: “…for in the image of God has God made mankind.” Because man is made in God’s image, God demands the life of any man or animal that takes a human life.

“As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.” (v.7) Obviously in order for their to be government, there has to be people to govern so the Lord gives Noah the directive to be fruitful and multiply. I believe this directive still applies to us today. If you’re a follower of Christ, if you’re doing your best to be the salt of the earth, if you’re stable in your walk with the Lord then have kids! I heard about this movie where the intelligent people of the earth stop having children because they want to focus on their careers. As a result the earth becomes populated with morons. A cryogenically preserved man of average intelligence is then brought to life and is made to be president because of his dazzling intellect. Later in the movie the people remove him from office because every policy he wants to adopt can’t be understood by the people. Isn’t that what we do spiritually, when we selfishly decide to have 1.87 children? All else being equal, the more children we have the more we can influence the world for God’s kingdom!

Mercy:

“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” (v.13) Here we see God’s mercy for he knows that every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. (Genesis 8:21) Yet He says, “Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” (v.15) God’s kept that promise. There will never come another flood like this. Verses 8 through 17 cover God’s covenant, God’s promise to show mercy. Notice that this is the longest part of the Noahic Covenant. The first part dealing with menu. The second part dealing with government. And the third part dealing with declaration of His great mercy. This is the longest part of God’s Noahic Covenant because this is where God’s emphasis is. His emphasis is on His great mercy.

The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.

He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.

He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

Psalm 103:8-12


References:

[Image via: ehfisher – Creative Commons]

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

Matthew Henry

Dr. J. Vernon McGee

Ray Stedman

Jon Courson

Children Learn Rules of Equality by Age 8