Noah was caught up in the sin of drunkenness, and his sons showed their hearts by their responses exposing or covering his shame. God's love for us is demonstrated in the cross of Christ; only God can cover our sin and shame.
Scripture: Genesis 9:18-29
- After the flood the earth was desolate; but Noah tilled the ground making the wilderness into a garden.
- Obeying the dominion mandate, Noah went out from the ark and God blessed his labour bringing a grape harvest.
- The first mention of wine in the Bible is associated with Noah’s shame, who was drunk, naked and disgraced.
- Though Noah was a righteous man and faithful in his generations, he let his guard down and he was caught up in the sin of drunkenness.
- We cannot coast in the Christian life; we must be vigilant and filled with the Spirit, for sin is crouching at the door (Gen. 4:7; Eph. 5:18).
- When properly used wine is a blessing, and yet alcohol often leads to sin and debauchery (1 Cor. 10:12).
- If Ham had loved his father he would have covered his nakedness (cf. Pr. 17:9); but Ham humiliates his father by making his shame public.
- The problem was in Ham’s heart; he wanted to point out his father’s sin, shaming and humiliating him.
- Shem and Japheth cover their father’s shame, refusing to make it a spectacle (Pr. 19:11; Ps. 103:5). Similarly, God had covered the shame of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3.
- Within a family we are well aware of the weaknesses and sins of others. But we need to cover the private sins and weaknesses of those close to us.
- When Noah awakes from his drunkenness, he speaks prophetically: Canaan, the Son of Ham, is cursed severely, while Shem and Japheth are blessed.
- Canaan’s hate-filled, rebellious and sexually depraved behaviour was passed on to his descendants, the Canaanites (cf. Lev. 18; Gen. 15:16).
- Japheth’s descendants were to be blessed: they would spread out through the world and eventually to be brought into the tents of Shem.
- Many of us are descendants of Ham and Japheth who have joined the blessed line of Shem through Christ (Isa. 54:2-3).
- This text is a call to be sober minded, to be self-controlled, to keep our guard up, and to keep our eyes open.
- We are also reminded to cover the offenses of others in love.
- God’s love for us is shown in the cross of Christ; only God can cover our sin and shame (Ezekiel 16:8-13).
- How did Noah pursue the dominion task after the flood?
- What are proper biblical attitudes and practices regarding alcohol?
- How can we remain on guard for sin and temptation?
- Contrast the attitudes and actions of the sons of Noah.
- What was the prophetic expectation for each of Noah’s sons?
- When is it appropriate to cover over an offense in love?
- How can we resolve the guilt and shame we experience?