Genesis – First, God.
What do you do when your computer locks up, refuses to go where you want it to go and is stuck on the page you don’t want to be? First, we heave a huge sigh and moan of frustration. UGH! Right?
What happens when the internet stops streaming into your home causing the lights on the monitor to go dark? Our stress level rises quickly for we feel our lives depend on this line of communication! We feel we are blocked off from all civilization! Over dramatic? First we try everything we know how to do to fix it in our own way.
As a last resort, we call the company. What is the FIRST thing they say to us? Unplug. Plug it back in and hit RESET. And guess what? That action works most of the time unless we are no longer directly connected to the source, the internet company. Mm
God hit the reset button on His created world. Noah and his family were protected during the “fix” to cleanse the world by floodwaters. Because he didn’t go his own way, worked by faith, and obeyed doing “exactly” what God told him to do, right down to the last pitch and tar to seal the ark, “God blessed Noah…”
1-4 God blessed Noah and his sons: He said, “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill the Earth! Every living creature—birds, animals, fish—will fall under your spell and be afraid of you. You’re responsible for them. All living creatures are yours for food; just as I gave you the plants, now I give you everything else. Except for meat with its lifeblood still in it—don’t eat that.
5 “But your own lifeblood I will avenge; I will avenge it against both animals and other humans.
6-7 Whoever sheds human blood,
by humans let his blood be shed,
Because God made humans in his image
reflecting God’s very nature.
You’re here to bear fruit, reproduce,
lavish life on the Earth, live bountifully!”
8-11 Then God spoke to Noah and his sons: “I’m setting up my covenant with you including your children who will come after you, along with everything alive around you—birds, farm animals, wild animals—that came out of the ship with you. I’m setting up my covenant with you that never again will everything living be destroyed by floodwaters; no, never again will a flood destroy the Earth.”
12-16 God continued, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and everything living around you and everyone living after you. I’m putting my rainbow in the clouds, a sign of the covenant between me and the Earth. From now on, when I form a cloud over the Earth and the rainbow appears in the cloud, I’ll remember my covenant between me and you and everything living, that never again will floodwaters destroy all life. When the rainbow appears in the cloud, I’ll see it and remember the eternal covenant between God and everything living, every last living creature on Earth.”
17 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I’ve set up between me and everything living on the Earth.”
18-19 The sons of Noah who came out of the ship were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Ham was the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah; from these three the whole Earth was populated.
20-23 Noah, a farmer, was the first to plant a vineyard. He drank from its wine, got drunk and passed out, naked in his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw that his father was naked and told his two brothers who were outside the tent. Shem and Japheth took a cloak, held it between them from their shoulders, walked backward and covered their father’s nakedness, keeping their faces turned away so they did not see their father’s exposed body.
24-27 When Noah woke up with his hangover, he learned what his youngest son had done. He said,
Cursed be Canaan! A slave of slaves,
a slave to his brothers!
Blessed be God, the God of Shem,
but Canaan shall be his slave.
God prosper Japheth,
living spaciously in the tents of Shem.
But Canaan shall be his slave.
28-29 Noah lived another 350 years following the flood. He lived a total of 950 years. And he died.
THE RAINBOW, THE AGREEMENT
Though God spoke especially to Noah and his sons, this covenant includes all of Noah’s descendants. The covenant doesn’t stop there, however, for it also includes “all living creatures of every kind”. Humans, birds, beasts, and wild animals are encompassed in this wonderful covenant.
In this covenant, God promised unconditionally that He would never send another flood to destroy all life on the earth. As though to make it emphatic, three times He said “never again” (v. 11, 15 nkjv, niv). From that day on, Noah and his family could enjoy life and not worry every time the rain began to fall.
God’s covenant with Noah and the animal creation was sealed with the sign of the rainbow. Whenever people saw the rainbow, they would remember God’s promise that no future storm would ever become a worldwide flood that would destroy humanity.
Let’s pursue that thought. If the rainbow reminds us of God’s faithfulness and grace, then why do we fret and worry? God hasn’t promised that we’ll never experience storms, but He has promised that the storms won’t destroy us. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you” (Isa. 43:2 nkjv). When the clouds appear and the sun is hidden, we have nothing to fear.
In becoming a farmer, Noah followed the vocation of his father Lamech (5:28-29). This is the first mention of wine in Scripture, but wine-making was practiced before the flood, and Noah certainly knew what too much wine would do to him. In an attempt to exonerate Noah, some students claim that the flood brought about a change in the earth’s atmosphere, and this caused the grape juice to ferment for the first time, but the defense is feeble (almost laughable). Noah had picked the grapes, crushed them in the winepress, put the juice into skins, and waited for the juice to ferment. Noah knew what he was doing.
Both his drunkenness and his nakedness were disgraceful, and the two often go together. Alcohol isn’t a stimulant, it’s a narcotic; and when the brain is affected by alcohol, the person loses self-control. At least Noah was in his own tent when this happened and not out in public. But when you consider who he was (a preacher of righteousness) and what he had done (saved his household from death), his sin becomes even more repulsive.
The Bible doesn’t excuse the sins of the saints but mentions them as warnings to us not to do what they did (1 Cor. 10:6-13). As Spurgeon said, “God never allows His children to sin successfully.” There’s always a price to pay.
Noah didn’t plan to get drunk and shamelessly expose himself, but it happened just the same. The Japanese have an appropriate proverb: “First the man takes a drink, then the drink takes a drink, and then the drink takes the man.”
Ham shouldn’t have entered his father’s tent without an invitation. Did he call to his father and receive no answer? Did he wonder if Noah was sick or perhaps even dead? Did he even know that his father had been drinking wine? These are questions the text doesn’t answer, so it’s useless for us to speculate. One thing is certain: Ham was disrespectful to his father in what he did.
How people respond to the sin and embarrassment of others is an indication of their character. Ham could have peeked into the tent, quickly sized up the situation, and covered his father’s body, saying nothing about the incident to anyone. Instead, he seems to have enjoyed the sight and then told his two brothers about it in a rather disrespectful manner. He may even have suggested that they go take a look for themselves.
By what he did, Ham revealed a weakness in his character that could show up in his descendants.
LOVE AND DECENCY
Instead of laughing with Ham and going to see the humiliating sight, Shem and Japheth showed their love for their father by practicing Proverbs 10:12, “Love covers all sins” (nkjv; see 1 Peter 4:8). The brothers stood together and held a garment behind them, backed into the tent with their eyes averted, and covered Noah’s naked body.
Love doesn’t cleanse sin, for only the blood of Christ can do that (1 John 1:7); nor does love condone sin, for love wants God’s very best for others. But love does cover sin and doesn’t go around exposing sin and encouraging others to spread the bad news. When people sin and we know about it, our task is to help restore them in a spirit of meekness (Gal. 6:1-2).
It’s been said that on the battlefield of life, Christians are prone to kick their wounded, and too often this is true. But before we condemn others, we’d better consider ourselves, for all of us are candidates for conduct unbecoming to a Christian.
THE CONTINUAL RESET
Noah lived another three-and-a-half centuries, and we have every reason to believe that he walked with God and served Him faithfully. As far as the record is concerned, he fell once, and certainly he repented and the Lord forgave him. In our walk with God, we climb the hills and sometimes we descend into the valleys. As Alexander Whyte used to say, “The victorious Christian life is a series of new beginnings.”
Do you need to hit the “reset”?
Are you ready for a new beginning that let’s go of the past?
Jesus, Savior and Lord, stands ready to forgive and reset your life to follow Him to greater thoughts that lead to a more positive and healthy lifestyle that glorifies God our Father.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We slip and fall and become a “hot mess” in your eyes. But because of your relentless, unconditional love for us you extend grace in our disgrace and mercy in our mess. Thank you for forgiveness that “resets” our lives and restores our relationship with you. Thank you for new beginnings, wisdom to learn from our mistakes and sins, with ways to grow deeper in love with You. May all we think, do or say glorify You today.
In Jesus Name, Amen