Sunday, February 12, 2012

Learning from Noah's Nakedness

This past Sunday at Gaylord E-Free we looked at a pretty interesting passage of Scripture from Genesis 9. We found Noah after the flood, in his tent drunk, naked and passed out (I joked saying that it sounded to me like Noah was a NASCAR fan). The story goes on to say that his son, Ham, comes in and sees him naked and goes out and tells his other two brothers. When Noah awakes and realized what Ham had done, he utters a prophetic curse, not on Ham, but on one of Ham's sons named Canaan.

At first glance it is easy to read the story and wonder why Noah responded the way he did. What did Ham do that was so horrible. For this reason many speculate that Ham did something very immoral in Noah's tent. The theories are plentiful and some of them would make this blog posting R-rated if I shared them. But I don't think we need to take the passage anywhere that the text does not go.

To me the nature of Ham's disobedience is spotlighted by the contrasting response of his other two brothers. When Shem and Japheth hear of their father's condition, they take a covering between them and, walking backwards so as not to see their father's nakedness, they cover Noah. They showed their father honor and respect - Ham did not.

But is Ham not honoring his father really that bad of a sin? Folks, sin is sin. There are no minor sins and major sins. Let me remind you that in the sixth chapter of Ephesians Paul reminds us that honoring our parents is the first commandment God gave that had a promise attached to it. God promised to bless those who honored their parents. I think that would make this a very important command and one that Ham did not follow. Instead of showing his dad honor and doing what his brothers did, Ham went out and told others of his father's drunken and disgraced condition.

Today we struggle seeing Ham's sin as "major" because we live in a culture that rarely shows honor to their authorities. And I am not talking only to today's children and teenagers. I find it amazing that parents wonder why their kids do not show honor and respect to them when our kids constantly see we as parents showing dishonor to our authorities. They hear us speak derogatory words about government leaders we don't like or don't agree with. They hear us speak derogatory of our bosses that we don't like or don't agree with. They even listen to us speak derogatory of our church leaders that we don't like or don't agree with. And then we wonder why they speak derogatory about us as parents?

We all have authorities that we do not necessarily like and that we do not agree with. I doubt that Shem and Japheth agreed with the drunken disgrace of their father. But they still responded to him with honor and respect and covered him. I am simply advocating this - it is possible to disagree with our authorities without being disrespectful. Not only is it possible, it's godly.

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