Devotions in Genesis (week 12): This week we conclude the life of Noah with the shameful family sin of Genesis 9:18-29. But be not discouraged: God’s plan of grace still triumphs, showing that He alone has the power to restrain and conquer sin.
Monday: read Genesis 9:18-19; Psalm 19:1-4 and Romans 1:21-25. Modern man looks down on ancient mankind as ‘primitive’ in his abilities and understanding. Such pride fails to see that all of us came from the humble beginnings of the 3 sons of Noah. Nor were these men of old ‘cavemen:’ Psalm 19:3-4 tells us that every culture originally knew the complexities of the glory of God in creation. Primitive tribes therefore did not come first, but only arose as man suppressed the advanced truth of God which they knew and began to ‘worship and serve created things rather than the Creator.’ (See Romans 1:25.)
Meditate and Pray: We ought to confess the fact that all ‘degraded’, ‘crude’ and dehumanizing behavior comes from ethical rebellion against God – not from poverty or primitive surroundings. Thank God that one day you will meet in heaven many ancient men whose far-reaching faith was directed to Christ even in the dark days of antiquity. It was the Spirit of Christ in them (1 Peter 1:11) who made them long for the blood of Christ to be shed for their sins (1 Peter 1:19-20). Thank God for Jesus, ‘the Lamb chosen from the foundation of the world.’
Tuesday: read Genesis 9:18-21. Just as grace continues in God’s ‘rainbow promise’ never again to destroy the earth with water (Gen. 9:12-17), so sin continues to rear its ugly head despite the flood waters’ purging: the drunkenness of Noah after all God’s goodness to him is a reminder that dangerous times of temptation can overshadow even those whose lives have been marked with great spiritual blessings. Noah now had grandchildren (Gen. 9:18), and like David in his adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11), should have known better.
Meditate and Pray: Where is our security when even the godliest of men fall into shameful sin? Psalm 19:13 answers with a prayer to use on a daily basis: ‘Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.’ Surely God can’t fail to answer such a prayer, designed to save us from the deadly carelessness of a drunk Noah!
Wednesday: read Genesis 9:18-22. In Genesis 9:21, Noah lies exposed in sinful nakedness, proving the wisdom of Proverbs 20:1: ‘Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise. Tragically, Noah is not the only one to incur guilt. As we will see in Genesis 9:25, Ham brings down on his own head a curse because of his sinful exploitation of his father’s sin. More of that later in the week.
Meditate and Pray: For today, thank God for Jesus’ clear-minded sufferings on the cross for your sins. When he was tempted to cloud his mind and dull his agonies with wine and myrrh, he refused to do so, lest He fail to effectively serve as our High Priest and cover our sins with His blood (Mark 15:23). In this way, Jesus secured the blessing of atonement for us – instead of the terrible exposure of our sins for all to see.
Thursday: read Genesis 9:20-25. The care of Shem and Japheth not to look upon their father’s sinful state shows us that something more than meets the eye is going on here. Just as Adam, exposed in his naked guilt (Genesis 3:7) brought the curse of death on the whole human race, so Noah in the shame of his nakedness brings a curse on his offspring as well. Nor are Ham and his son Canaan mere ‘victims’ of Noah’s sin. The curse of Noah on Canaan the son (Gen. 9:25), alongside the father’s voyeurism (Gen. 9:22), helps us to discern the level of contempt and slander which both father and son engaged in against Noah. They broadcast the sin to others, with no care for the dishonor to God which would follow.
Meditate and Pray: Thank God for this reminder that the true measure of sin lies in the the eyes, hearts and tongues of men like Ham and Canaan. The condemnation of Romans 1:32 falls upon them both: ‘Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.’ How different the spirit of Jesus is: washing away our sins with His blood, never to bring them up again.
Friday: read Genesis 9:26-29 & Galatians 3:7-14. The blessing of Shem (9:26) came to Shem’s offspring Abram (Genesis 11:10, 27) who was chosen by God to be the source of blessing ‘for all nations’ (Genesis 12:2-3). This blessing on all nations is further described in Gen. 9:27, where Japheth ‘takes refuge’ in the shelter of Shem’s (and Abram’s) tent. Scholars will tell you that Japheth was the ancestor of the Gentile world of Greeks and Romans in Jesus’ day. To take refuge in the tent of Shem and Abram is to adopt their life of faith for yourself – as the Gentiles in fact did – so that Paul could celebrate them as ‘blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith’ in Galatians 3:9.
Meditate and Pray: See how faith triumphs in the midst of the sad judgments of Genesis 9! Noah’s, Ham’s and Canaan’s sin cannot stop God’s plan to save the nations of the world. In fact, even the curse of Canaan can be reversed as it was for Canaan’s offspring Rahab who ‘by faith’ was saved in Joshua 6:25. Thank God for the power of Jesus’ suffering as he bore the curse of sin (Galatians 3:13) to set free people of every tribe and nation. You may be born into slavery as Canaan was, but by faith you can be set free. God’s promise to all nations today is the same, (2 Timothy 2:19): ‘Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”’ Thank God right now that He will hear your prayer for protection for you and your children from soul-destroying sins.