Saturday, May 11, 2019

2019.05.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 9:18-29

Questions for Littles: Who were Noah’s sons who went out of the ark (Genesis 9:18)? Of whom was Ham the father? What happened to the whole earth from these three (Genesis 9:19)? What did Noah begin to be in Genesis 9:20? What did he plant? What did he drink (Genesis 9:21)? How much? What did he end up doing? Who saw (Genesis 9:22)? What did he do about it? What did Shem and Japheth do about it (Genesis 9:23)? How did they walk? Where did they turn their faces? From what did Noah “awake” in Genesis 9:24? What did he know? Whom did he curse in Genesis 9:25? What was he to be? To whom? Whom did he bless in Genesis 9:26? By what title did he call Yahweh? Whom did he prophesy to be Shem’s servant? Whom did he prophesy for God to enlarge in Genesis 9:27? In whose tents would Japheth dwell? Who would be his servant? How long did Noah live after the flood (Genesis 9:28)? How many years total did he live (Genesis 9:29)? Then what happened? 
This passage begins by introducing itself as our family history. “From these, the whole earth was populated.” After 120 years ark building, followed by the flood, Noah finally gets to settle down as a farmer (literally, “a man of dirt”). And God’s promise to restrain the curse holds true. Noah’s vineyard produces, which is throughout Scripture, an indication of God’s favor and blessing.

So far so good, but if we are looking for better things from this humanity reboot than we got from the original Adam, the history takes a discouraging turn. Noah doesn’t just drink a little wine. He gets drunk. How drunk? He has to “awaken from his wine” in Genesis 9:24.

Bad leads to worse, when Ham sees his father’s nakedness. Later, all manner of the most perverted sin will be summarized under the phrase “uncovering nakedness” (cf. Leviticus 18). Yet, Ham not only indulges this sin but at the very least dishonors his father and invites his brothers into doing so as well.

Their action is a strong rebuke to Ham: not only covering the nakedness, but doing so both walking backward and turning their faces away.

Perhaps Noah surprises us, when he doesn’t say, “Cursed be Ham,” but rather, “Cursed be Canaan.” Perhaps more than any other generation, this one was aware of how much rested upon their children. And Ham brings curse down upon Canaan’s entire line for a few moments of sin. It’s so easy to throw away that which matters so much for that which offers so little. All sin is like that, but especially the type of sin Ham committed. Professing believers are trashing their lives and legacies for it in droves today.

Notice that the blessing and the curse are not balanced. Noah doesn’t bless Shem (or a son of Shem). He blesses God Himself. To be sure: this is a great blessing to Shem, but Shem’s blessedness is bound up in belonging to God. Shem’s blessedness is not based upon his performance, but upon being favored to belong to the God of grace in Christ.

It is an extraordinary blessing that God would be known as “the God of Shem,” just as later patriarchs would be honored by their covenantal to “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Even for Japheth, blessing would be in having Shem as his covenantal representative. To be sure, Shem is a sinner. He will die, just as Noah does at the end of this passage. But God’s grace is stronger than sin and stronger than death. And our covenant representative Jesus is no sinner at all, and death could not hold Him!
How do you protect your eyes from sin like Ham’s? How do you protect others’ eyes? Who is the blessed One with whom God has most identified Himself? How do you identify with Him?
Suggested Songs: ARP179 “Now Blessed Be Jehovah God” or TPH265 “In Christ Alone”

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