Year 2 Day 211
Read - Genesis 9v18-10v32
Message - Scott Woodburn
The Lord had promised never to send a flood upon the earth again but even in the face of the grace of God humanity remained sinful. Noah had planted a vineyard and had become drunk on his homemade wine (v21). He was in such a state that he lay naked in his tent (v21). The sin of Noah was met by the sin of his son Ham. Ham saw his father’s naked disgrace and did nothing about it.
In response to hearing about their dad, Shem and Japheth walked backwards into the tent and covered their dad’s nakedness with a garment (v23). When Noah sobered up and heard what had taken place, he cursed the descendants of his son Ham saying “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.” (v25). Additionally Noah pronounced a blessing upon his other sons saying “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant.” (v26-27)
This seems like a strange incident…what’s going on? Noah has acted foolishly and collapsed drunk naked in his tent. On discovering his father, Ham looked upon his father’s nakedness. This was a shameful thing in the ancient world. Ham takes no steps to honour his father and instead goes and tells his brothers. Some have argued that Ham perhaps abused his father in his drunken state but this cannot be supported by the text. Instead Ham displays sinful arrogance and by going to tell his brothers, it seems that he wants his brothers to share in the disgrace of his dad. John Calvin suggests that Ham laughs at his dad and seeks his further humiliation.
The reaction of Shem and Japheth couldn’t be more different. They seek to honour their father by walking backwards into his tent. Noah has been a fool but he still receives the honour due to him from his other two sons. They refuse to look upon Noah’s shameful state and cover their father’s body.
The result was a curse pronounced upon Ham’s descendants. Ham’s youngest son was called Canaan and the Canaanite people would time and again show that they had inherited Ham’s arrogance and depravity. Ham’s sin would be copied and repeated and magnified by the future generations.
The descendants of Shem and Japheth however would know the blessing of God. From them would come both Jew and Gentile and they would ultimately find unity through the finished work of Christ. Chapter 10 outlines the development of the nations of the world with them all finding their origins in the sons of Noah. Yet the tenth chapter is about the sovereignty of God. He extends His hand of common grace to all the people’s of the world but from the world He gathers a people for His own possession.
Luke tells us that Shem is a direct descendant of Christ (Luke 3v36) and so once more we see the seed of the woman against the seed of the enemy. The Lord is faithful to all that He has promised and those who continue to reject Him remain under the curse of God while those who have received Christ know the blessing of God. Biblical history records this very truth. Ham is the son who dishonoured his father. Jesus is the son who did all that His Father commanded. Ham’s actions resulted in a curse. Christ at the cross became a curse for us. The difference is clear and so let me ask…which side are you on?
Q90 How is the Word to be read and heard, that it may become effectual to salvation? That the Word may become effectual to salvation, we must attend thereunto with diligence, preparation, and prayer; receive it with faith and love, lay it up in our hearts, and practice it in our lives.