LastCallDigest: Noah's Weakness Common to All -Bob Caldwell

Noah’s Weakness Common to All

  9:20-21 And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent.

It’s pretty amazing how the Bible is so honest concerning the “heroes” of the Bible. Whether it’s Noah, Abraham, Moses, or Paul, their weaknesses are honestly portrayed. Like them, we are living proof that if God was not a gracious God, none of us would be around.

Noah has just lived out one of the most amazing events in human history. You would think if anybody would live in constant awe of God it would be him. He has preached his whole life against the sins of a world that would be judged by the flood. He had been saved along with his family to begin a new way of life under the blessing of God and His will.

However, now that things are settled down and secure, what does he do? He goes and gets drunk. Really drunk. So drunk he’s laid out naked in the sight of his children. Now we don’t know exactly what happened, but something shameful when you consider the rebuke upon Noah’s son, Ham. But what we do know is that even a man such as Noah, described as a righteous man, one who was just and walked with God, wasn’t that way to perfection.

In a way, this honest portrayal of Noah and his flaws is a lesson for us all. It should keep us from putting people upon pedestals and keep those who want to be up on one to instead stay at ground level, a place where we “watch and pray, lest we too fall into the slumber of complacency.”

Genesis 9:8-28

  8 Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying: 9 “And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth. 11 Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

12 And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13 I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. 14 It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; 15 and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17 And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

Noah and His Sons

18 Now the sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And Ham was the father of Canaan. 19 These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated.

God’s Covenant with Noah (Verses 8-17)

v. 9 Covenant – A covenant is an agreement between two parties. Here God establishes an agreement with Noah that was to extend to the rest of the human race.

seed (KJV) – This would extend the covenant to all of Noah’s offspring. This may also have been a reaffirmation that from Eve’s eventual “seed” would come and crush the influence of Satan (Gen. 5:15).

v. 13 rainbow – This is the result of both sunlight and water droplets meeting. Before the flood it seems there was only water vapor in the upper atmosphere. Because the flood was partially the result of this vapor canopy falling upon the earth, the present hydrological cycle now provides a way for rainbows to appear.

v. 16 to remember – Obviously God does not need to be “reminded” as if He forgets His promises. Often God refers to Himself in language that we use to describe the wants and feelings of life. This is for our benefit, not His. In fact the one who needs to remember is humanity, not God. The rainbow is to remind us of the judgment of the flood and the grace of God in promising not to destroy the earth by a flood again.

20 And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. 21 Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. 23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.

24 So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him. 25 Then he said: 
“Cursed be Canaan; 
A servant of servants 
He shall be to his brethren.”

26 And he said:
“ Blessed be the LORD, 
The God of Shem, 
And may Canaan be his servant.

27 May God enlarge Japheth,
And may he dwell in the tents of Shem; 
And may Canaan be his servant.”

28 And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.

Sin Finds Expression in Noah’s Family (Verses 18-29)

v. 21 wine – It can be assumed that the abuse of wine before the flood was one of the driving forces of the ever-increasing moral decay prior to the flood. Noah continued its use and because of its misuse became vulnerable to sin. This reveals the danger of allowing alcohol to become a dominant part of a person’s life. Drunkenness is warned against often in scripture (Prov. 23:31-33; Eph. 5:18; Is. 28:7; Rom.13:13; Gal. 5:21).

uncovered himself – Noah had made a fool of himself by being drunk. We are thus warned about the influence of wine upon a person (Lam. 4:21; Hab. 2:15-16; Gen. 19:33; Esth. 1:10-11).

v. 22 saw the nakedness – The word for saw carries the idea of “gazing upon.” In some way Ham took pleasure in seeing his father drunk and naked. It may have given him an excuse to shame and ridicule his father. Some commentators suggest that Ham shamed his father in some sexual way. This is based upon other passages of scripture where the words “nakedness” and “saw” are used refer to sexual misconduct (Lev. 20:17-21).

v. 23 went backward – Shem and Japheth sought to cover the nakedness of their father while looking away at this result of his drunkenness. This was a way of maintaining a respect for their father and realizing they should overlook, not expose themselves to what was out of character for their father.

v. 25 Canaan – This fourth son of Ham became the embodiment of the curse that fell upon the line of Ham (Gen. 10:6).

v. 26 blessed be the God of Shem – The line of Shem would be blessed for their general faithfulness to God. This was fulfilled when the Jewish nation resulted from the family line of Seth.

v. 27 enlarge Japheth – This family line would encompass the Indo-European nations of the earth.

tents of Shem – This seems to refer to the Gentiles sharing in the spiritual blessing upon the line of Shem, since the Jews and the Messiah came from that line.

he died – Noah died at the age of 950.

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