Monday, May 10, 2010

Genesis 9 - Covenants and Curses

Let's jump back into it!

Genesis 9

What it literally says - God blesses Noah and his sons, telling them to repopulate the Earth.  All animals will fear Man and can be food for him (except for those that still have their "lifeblood" (4)).

All men and animals will be held accountable, but God will not destroy every living creature again, making the rainbow the mark of his covenant and a reminder of His promise.

Noah plants a vineyard and proceeds to get drunk and pass out, naked.  One of his three sons, Ham, sees his nakedness and goes to tell his brothers, Shem and Japheth.  Shem and Japheth cover up their father.  When Noah wakes up and discovers that Ham did nothing, he curses his child, Canaan, to be a slave to Shem and Japheth.

Noah then lived 350 years after the flood, dying at the age of 950.

What it says to me - The rainbow.  Rainbows have a handful of connotations, none of which that come to mind that are masculine.  Maybe decorating my desk at work with rainbow stickers or rainbow designs would cause others to question a lot about me, but visual office themes aside, rainbows are really cool!  Gosh, I haven't seen a rainbow in years; maybe that's Houston for you.  Science floors me.  Outer space is mind-blowing, life at the depths of the sea astounds me, and an intangible display of curved colors in the sky after a rainfall or around a waterfall is an unrivaled beauty of God's creation.  And have you ever seen two rainbows at once?  Even better-er!  I have once, in high school during a baseball game which we ended up winning, making the whole experience that much better ... er!  Rainbows are beautiful.  Why God chose to make a rainbow represent His covenant to never flood the world again I don't know.  But when you see one around water ... it just makes sense.

Did you also notice that Man is allowed to eat meat now?  I wonder if that infers we were vegetarian before the Flood.  Man, a lot changed afterward, didn't it?

So, we have Noah surviving the Flood and being the one human alive God saw fit not to drown.  But God knows none of us are perfect, even the last one.  Noah plants a vineyard and is subsequently the Bible's first recorded drunk.  That's not to say that he was an alcoholic or anything because we don't know that (I'm sure he wasn't because of God'S general distaste for purposeful drunkenness), but on this one occasion the Bible points out that Noah was.  And he was naked, a common side-effect.  How many times have we been on some mountain-top experience with the Lord, only to tumble down the side immediately after?  Another kind of side-effect common in the Word.


With Noah three sheets to the wind and free in every sense of the word, his sons stumble upon him.  First, though, is poor, unfortunate and the youngest, Ham, unfortunate in name and unfortunate in deed.  What the actual Scriptures leave out, we can guess.  From Noah's reaction later in verse 25 because of what he "found out what his youngest son had done to him" (24), it sounds logical to assume Ham made fun of his father to his brothers.  Perhaps being the youngest he wanted to fit in and be cool or something, but Shem and Japheth were older and wiser and understood about a man's reputation.  The elder brothers covered up Noah, even walking in backwards to behold not their father's failure.  Long story short, Noah disciplines Ham by cursing his child.  *Tugs collar* yeesh.

I read that instead of cursing Ham, Noah had to curse his child because God had blessed Noah and his family, so Noah couldn't possibly switch it all up and step on God's toes.  Here is another example, though, of something bad coming from something good.  Canaan is Ham's son, who is cursed.  Canaan is also "the promised land" the Israelites search for.  Most of the time lands and tribes were named directly after people, right?  I could be wrong, but the land of Canaan might be related to the cursed Canaan, and if so, that's another example of God's grace and love for His creation.

Moral of the story:  Cover up drunk, naked people, especially if it's your parent.

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