Gen. 9:18-19 – “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 earth.”
- You and I are related. Crazy, huh? Every human being can theoretically trace his/her beginnings back to one of Noah’s sons. Talk about a huge family tree! As we look forward to Gen. 10, we’ll see how Noah’s descendants covered the earth in the “Table of Nations.” For now, just be thankful that there are plenty of weird family members in the world – so I think you and I are safe.
Gen. 9:20-23 – “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's nakedness 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 nakedness. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father's nakedness.”
- I know I must be careful not to presume on God’s Word, but His Word speaks to real people living real lives in real relationships. Ask some real questions with me. What caused Ham to look inside Noah’s tent in the first place? Why did Ham feel the need to ridicule or point out his father’s fault to his older brothers? Noah’s drunkenness was undoubtedly sin; however, the stark contrast of Shem and Japheth’s near reverence to their father’s sin emphasizes Ham’s motive to humiliate and hints at a pre-existing struggle between Ham and his father. It almost seems we’ve entered the middle of a father/son battle, as if this wasn’t the first squabble Noah and Ham encountered.
Gen. 9:24-27 – “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, ‘Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. May God extend the territory of Japheth; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be his slave.’”
- Why did Noah curse Canaan (his grandson) rather than Ham, when it was Ham who sinned against him? There can be no happy reason. Whether Noah refused to recognize Ham as his son or for some reason Canaan was at fault for his father’s/grandfather’s relational fracture – any explanation is sorrow heaped upon sorrow. Anger, pain and God’s prophetic voice make Noah’s words a sharp sword that cut deeply into future generations. Scripture consistently teaches us that parents’ pronouncements are weighed heavily in children’s ears, and children’s respect for their parents is paramount in God’s eyes.
Gen. 9:28-29 – “After the flood Noah lived 350 years. Altogether, Noah lived 950 years, and then he died.”
- How long does it take a vineyard to grow and produce wine? How many of Noah’s last 350 years were lived BEFORE the fracture in his relationship with Ham/Canaan? Family fractures generally begin with a hairline injury early on and then continue to worsen through years of neglect and/or abuse. 350 years is a long time to live with strife, but even one day can be too long when all we need to do is ask for forgiveness or confront an issue.
Lord, give me the courage or humility – or whatever You know I need – to seek peace in my family relationships. I recognize that in some cases, nothing I do can render a peaceful solution. However, please show me if there are any other options, any other acts of obedience You’re calling me to complete in a certain situation. And then, Lord, help me to leave the result in Your hands.