Hope: Genesis 9:18-29

Hope: Genesis 9:18-29
Pastor John Weathersby
Sunday December 18, 20

Notes/Not a Transcript

In this telling, there is a forest (or two) in the trees.  On its face, this is a story about the linkage from a pre to a post-flood world.  But, perhaps more than that, it is about man’s sinful nature and its total corruption. 
We’ll see a seasoned (500-800 year old) righteous, covenant believer in Noah, drunk to excess, opening the door to a world of sin that scars all generations that follow. 
Remember the scene seasoned (500-800 year old) righteous, covenant believer in Noah was chosen by God with his immediate family, wife, three sons, and their wives to be sealed into the ark with the Lord who closes the door (sealing out judgment and sealing them in with Him).  Listless over the waters of judgment, toward the end of chapter 8, they’re finally able to step off the boat.  It is year 601. In the first month, Noah popped the top off the Ark 27 days into the second month, and they came out of the boat and learned that they could eat meat now.  Noah (verse 20) builds an altar and worships, and God who reveals that he’ll never curse the ground because …

Genesis 8:21b (ESV)
“I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.
Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV)
  9    The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?

Romans 3:23–24 (ESV)
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
Ephesians 2:1–3 (ESV)
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—
3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

So much of what we do as believers, post salvation, is identifying, repenting, and growing in Christ’s image by finding vestiges of original sin in us. 
But the hope of good news is coming, and good news is the message of Noah:

Genesis 9:18–29 (ESV)
18 The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.)
19 These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the people of the whole earth were dispersed.

Shem, Ham, and Japeth had learned quite a bit about God and human nature.  They’d watched their father be a “preacher of righteousness”:

2 Peter 2:5 (ESV)
5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly.

They saw their father, out of obedience to God’s word about the future, spend years building an ark, mocked and ridiculed – they watched and presumably helped build this ark.  They saw the rains come, the animals join together and enter the ark, and they watched as God

Genesis 7:13–16 (ESV)
13 On the very same day Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark,
14 they and every beast, according to its kind, and all the livestock according to their kinds, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, according to its kind, and every bird, according to its kind, every winged creature.
15 They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life.
16 And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the Lord shut him in.

Shem, Ham, and Japeth were shut in for salvation by the Lord.  They passed over the waters of judgment with their parents, wives, and couplets of all animals on earth.  They watched as the world around them was as Jesus described as captured by Matthew because the hope of good news is coming, and the good news is the message of Noah:

Matthew 24:37–39 (ESV)
37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark,
39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Shem, Ham, and Japeth saw Noah build an altar in Genesis 8:20

Genesis 8:20–21 (ESV)
God’s Covenant with Noah
20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
21 And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.

Seeing from God’s insight that echo of the fall’s curse post flood, that lineage back to Adam “the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth,” and the promise to not curate the ground for that reason.  The promise of the bow (Genesis 9:8-17) and the command again to re-populate the earth Genesis 9:1 – humanity is again handed a pretty sweet gig.
In verse 19, we see the whole of the earth will be re-populated through these folks, but just before that, we get a nugget in verse 18, a parenthetic notation about these boys: (Ham was the father of Canaan.)

20 Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard.
21 He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent.

The existence of alcoholic beverages and their ingestion isn’t presented as a sin in scripture. Legalistic Baptists represent it that way (and others, Baptists don’t hold the keys to that).  However, drunkenness is. 
Like Tattooing as an appeasement to gods
Just like food isn’t a sin but gluttony is:

Proverbs 23:20 (ESV)
20    Be not among drunkards
or among gluttonous eaters of meat,

Lots of baptists see part a and NOT part b.

Deuteronomy 21:20 (ESV)
20 and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’

Gluttony and drunkard are often found together. They pull on the same thread—things to excess. 
We find Noah here in a state of excess.  Noah, was faithful to live in the hustle and bustle of the world, returning day-after-day, year-after-year, decade-after-decade to his work of Ark building based on faith.  He was a preacher of righteousness listed with the faithful of Hebrews 11.  Who was 500 years old when he had his sons 600 at the time of the flood, perhaps now on the back side of this colossal trial, gives up his self-control.  What we see here is vastly impactful. Though Noah gives over his self-control, gets naked, passes out drunk, and leads his family negatively, providing an opportunity for grave sin, Noah’s heart was turned over to God by embracing God’s covenant and is in fellowship with God through that covenant is a covering for Noah. 

22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside.

We see the parenthetical notation jump to the front, Ham, the father of Cannan.  We’ll see that Ham sees the nakedness of his father and tells the brothers.  People have projected into this story some weird stuff. Scripture is silent on the nature or extent of Ham (the father of Cannan’s exact sin).  Some projects that it is sexual, I don’t even think we need to go there.  This is the family passed through the waters, the father in covenant with God, the leader of nations selected to save his family, and Ham has decided to make ridicule and mockery of Him. 
God is serious about leadership and headship. 
Let’s look at the gravity of the other brothers in the situation when Ham (the father of Cannan) looks to involve others in exposing his father’s shame:

23 Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, walked backward and covered their father’s nakedness. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.
24 When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him,
25 he said,
       “Cursed be Canaan;
a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.”

Families under the leadership of their father (whether incidental by way of example) or purposeful by way of instruction take on those traits.  These folks are re-populating the earth, and one patriarch has shown disdain and tried to bring others into disdain for their father, the preacher of righteousness who is in covenant with God.  This schism cannot be, so Cannan is cursed and splits off one nation from the others; for the benefit of the others.

How could they do this to Ham/Caanan?  Ham wasn’t forced to sin against his father and try to expose his shame. Instead, it was precisely what Ham wanted.  The desire flowed from his nature, sin nature met with personal characteristics and likely some nurture learned/inherited family traits. Usually, when I get frustrated with my children, it’s because of something they’re doing that is EXACTLY what I would do or have done/know the temptation to do.  And so, by grace, this division and working against Noah was isolated.  These are the ramifications of the fall.
This is the ugliness that is sin.
We’ll see tension flowing from here into the history of all of Israel with the pre-flood fathers and the generations that follow. 

Shem, the father of Abraham, we see later in Genesis 12 going into Egypt afraid that the Egyptians will take his wife Sari, Ham had four sons Cush, Put, Cannan, and Mizraim – Mizraim is the Hebrew for Egypt:

Genesis 50:11 (ESV)
11 When the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning on the threshing floor of Atad, they said, “This is a grievous mourning by the Egyptians.” Therefore the place was named Abel-mizraim; it is beyond the Jordan.

This story serves to underline what God is demonstrating through the will of man.  In Adam, all die.  God blessed all the sons

Genesis 9:1 (ESV)
And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.

26 He also said,
       “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem;
and let Canaan be his servant.
27    May God enlarge Japheth,
and let him dwell in the tents of Shem,
and let Canaan be his servant.”

These are the nation’s forefathers. Shem is blessed, Japeth will live in the tents of Shem, and Cannan will be the servant to Shem, second under Japeth.  The character of Ham, flowing through to the Canaanites, provides wickedness and ruction for Israel across all scripture.
By God’s grace, he foreknew the wickedness of the Canaanite generations, put space between Israel, and ordered the separation of Canaanite peoples to protect the extension of his covenant relationships with man as nations were rebuilt on earth to His glory.

Leviticus 18:3
3 You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes.
Genesis 12:6 (ESV)
6 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.
Genesis 34:30 (ESV)
30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me stink to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites. My numbers are few, and if they gather themselves against me and attack me, I shall be destroyed, both I and my household.”

Rules were established around separation from these cultural practices:

Genesis 24:3 (ESV)
3 that I may make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell,
Genesis 28:1 (ESV)
1 Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and directed him, “You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women.

But God’s aim is restoration:

Isaiah 19:23–25 (ESV)
23 In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria will come into Egypt, and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.
24 In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth,

25 whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.”

28 After the flood Noah lived 350 years.
29 All the days of Noah were 950 years, and he died.

This is the end of Noah.  He died.
Noah is the 10th patriarch in the record and holds a linkage from the old word (pre-flood) to the new world “after the flood.”  God has judged the sin on the earth and elected 8 to continue the spreading and population of the planet, but his instrument is still man, linked back to Adam.

This is the hope:

 Romans 8:36–39 (ESV)
36 As it is written,
       “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So we then don’t rely on some kind of complacency as believers. Noah was declared to be righteous. He was a 500-year-old man living faithfully and listed as faithful in Hebrews 11. However, his sin changed the mark of nations designed for God’s glory.  Why? Because we’re all in Adam. 
This is why we hold fast to

Galatians 6:1 (ESV)
1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

Pride and resistance in us push us to dangerous places.  Ham sinned against his father by chasing after his desire to mock his father.
Why?  I don’t know.
Why do we do the things we do when we know better?  Sin nature, but praise God for the truth we learn in:

1 John 4:4 (ESV)
4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Matthew 24:37–39 (ESV)
37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark,
39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

The hope of good news is coming, and the good news is the message of Noah. As Noah listed as faithful in Hebrews 11, we too can participate in the business ness of life (the eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, as we serve God along the way, living differently in the world but not of it

John 17:14–19 (ESV)
14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.
16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into it.
19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

We do well to remember whose we are in Christ and that, like Noah, we too must remain cautious and vigilant, not complacent but seeking after the kingdom first, aware that we are but dust and seeking Christ in all things.

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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