This time we are going to look in the New Testament and see a passage that has been a motto of sorts for me for many years. Sometimes when I get up to in front of the congregation to present the lesson, I will say that we have arrived at the time in our services where I have the responsibility to share God’s Word with you. And then I add “and you have the responsibility to make sure that what I say is correct”
As Luke records Paul’s trip on his 2nd missionary journey, he notes not just that the Berean Jews were more noble than the Jews in Thessalonica but he tells us why: While they were quite willing to listen to Paul, they also examined the scriptures DAILY to make sure that what Paul was saying was correct.
Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.ESV Acts 17:11
Imagine that! Paul, the apostle of Jesus, who had been preaching for several years, establishing congregations, appointing elders, able to speak in tongues and heal people still had to be vetted? Absolutely right!
You see, I don’t believe that I would ever tell someone something incorrect about the Scriptures deliberately! But that lack of intent does NOT mean that I would be right in what I present. In today’s world there is no end to the number of people telling us this or that about God’s word.
We have those who present the Gospel as a means to get wealthy and have a prosperous life, we have those on another hand are all about judgement, there are those who focus on the Love of Christ and many who think that Jesus has no opinion on many of the issues who trouble the current generation (no matter which ‘generation’ is reading this post) and there is no end to the number of blogs and podcasts (including this one) that are out there opining about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. What are we to do? Who are we to believe?
We are to believe God! What has been revealed to us is our standard. As we read a few days ago:
“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.Deut. 29:29 ESV
When you listen to a teacher you are listening to his study of God’s word but when you read the Bible, you are listening to God. Yes, teachers have their place but we have a responsibility to read every day too, if for no other reason, than to make sure that the things they say are “so.”
I would like to share with you a story from my childhood. In the summer before going into 5th grade, I found the book by C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I read it and when I was done, I read it again. And over the next 2 years, I read that book about 25 times. So, do you think I know it? Even today, having only read it maybe once or twice in the intervening years, I can give a pretty good description of it. From the reason why they went to the professor’s house, to the way both Edmund and Lucy found their way into the wardrobe, the flight to stone table, the sacrifice Aslan made, the final battle and more. It is this principle of reading over again and often that I think we will learn today.
So, let’s look at this week’s verse. Well, fine, this week it is actually three verses but remember that we are looking at a small section of Scripture with the intent of finding those statements that encourage us to read larger portions of it. Today’s posting is going to be from Moses’ command regarding the future king of Israel.
Deuteronomy 17:18-20 ESV “And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. (19) And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, (20) that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.
In this section of the book, Moses writes about the future king of Israel. He gives instructions about what that king is supposed to do. He is to:
- Write for himself in a book a copy of this law. He wasn’t just to use post it notes, he was to actually make himself a book. And as I read this, he wasn’t supposed to commission a book be written for him but rather he was to write it himself. It was also to supposed to be a copy approved by the Levites. In other words, they would make sure everything was accurately copied…they were the proofreaders.
- He is to read from that book every day. That stands pretty clear. Each and every day!
Then there were the reasons for his constant reading of the book.
First, he would learn to fear God. He would learn this fear (or perhaps show this fear/respect) by doing what the law told him to do. We show our love and respect for God when we do what he tells us.
1 John 5:3 ESV For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
Second, reading it daily would keep him humble. He would not consider himself to be more important than others and he would not consider God’s words to be insufficient for him so as to wander to the right or left looking for fulfillment in unlawful pursuits.
Third, He would continue long in the kingdom as would his children. Everyone longs for a long fulfilling life. That life is found in God’s word…or perhaps we could say today: the Word of God referring to Jesus.
Unfortunately, there is no mention in the Scriptures that any of the kings ever fulfilled this particular commandment from Moses. However, if any one of the kings of Israel or Judah did it, I would look to David. His adoration of God’s law is apparent from the Psalms he wrote and in particular, Psalm 119.
So is the application apparent? I hope so. If writing a copy of the law and reading it everyday was God’s will for the leader of His people, is it hard to imagine that we who are Royal Priesthood (1 Peter 2:9) should follow the same admonition? What do you think it will do for us today? Certainly, if a verse or three would encourage us to read each day God’s word, this passage is it.
You are invited to join a Facebook group where we do read one chapter a day. Everyone is welcome to join and comment, sharing what they learned, what stands out in the chapter and/or ask a question. Bastrop Area Bible Study-a chapter a day
Many preachers will tell you to read the Bible every day. In fact, if you were to write down a list of qualities that make up a good Christian, you would probably include “reads Bible” or “Reads Bible daily” as one of those characteristics.
Yet, so often in my life, I find myself NOT reading the Bible. What I say, and what other people have said when asked “Do you read your Bible?” is “not as much as I should”. Some of that answer is a recognition that they know they should read the Bible regularly. It implies that they read sometimes…. maybe when at church services or at a funeral service. It also implies that they know that you do-or think that you do-and so feel an obligation to acknowledge that obligation while carefully not admitting that they have not cracked open the Bible in while, perhaps not since they recorded that last birth or death of a family member. It is an answer is to simply avoid saying “No”.
Can we change that? Sure. Sometimes it helps to be part of a group. So you are invited to just such a group.
We read ONE chapter a day. That’s it. It is a start. And then, IF you feel comfortable, write a comment about what you learned. Share something you just discovered. Ask a question. Just acknowledge that you read it. We can all learn from anyone who wants to post and it is encouraging to hear from others who will sometimes even have the very same thought about a passage.
The group is a Facebook group. It is called Bastrop Area Bible Study-A Chapter a Day. Don’t worry if you are not from Bastrop…or even know where it is! You are welcome to read with us, comment with us and learn with us.
Today’s passage and reason #1 why we should read the Bible
- Deuteronomy 29:29 ESV “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
We cannot expect to know everything. God does not share everything with us. But what God does share with us is ours. The wisdom, the knowledge, history, the warnings, the rewards are all revealed so that we may do the words of the Law.
Even while we are not under that law that Moses gave to Israel so many years ago. But the character of the God who gave that law is still revealed in it. It was this very law (and the prophets) that Jesus, Peter, Paul and others used to show that Jesus was the Messiah. (As an example: Acts 28: 23b “From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.”)
What God has revealed is a good gift. We should enjoy it every day!
Read everyday! Learn everyday! Do everyday!
Cain and Abel both brought sacrifices to God. One of them was well received and the other was not. While we do not know specifically why Cain’s was not regarded by God, we do know that Abel offered his sacrifice by faith and the implication is that Cain did not.
Hebrews 11:4 ESV By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.
When I discuss with some people the nature of a worship service, that is a sacrifice that we bring to God when we assemble on Sunday’s, I will be told in so many words that what is important to them about a worship service is that they “feel good” or “enjoy it”. If that is their criteria for deciding is a particular worship service was good or not, there is a serious danger of crossing over into the sacrifice of Cain.
For a sacrifice to be acceptable to God it must be done by faith. The only way to make a sacrifice by faith is to do it the way God tells us to do it. If we do we want to and what we enjoy are we doing what God has asked of us? The two may not be exclusive but we need to start not by asking the worshiper what they want to do but by asking of God: How may I worship you in a way that pleases you?
Are you worship sacrifices regarded by God or rejected by God?
In Deuteronomy 29:29 Moses tells Israel that the secret things belong to God. Certainly there are somethings that God allows man to find out in the course of time but there are some things (many more things?) that God does not reveal. What was Jesus like as a boy? How long were Adam and Eve in the garden before they sinned? How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? We often spend so much time and effort trying to figure out what can’t be known, we don’t spend time on what God has revealed!
His Word to us tells us so much if we would only read and follow the things that are clearly understood.
We often sing a song entitled “Just as I am”. The song conveys the idea that Jesus accepts us in any condition that we find ourselves. This is a true statement and yet we need to look a little deeper.
Probably one of the best examples of accepting a person “just as I am” would be the apostle Paul. A devout Jewish believer and a diligent persecutor of the Church, Paul was given an up close and encounter with the Risen Lord. Ananias was sent to Paul (then known by the name Saul) to heal the blindness and share with Paul what it was that the Lord had in mind for his life. (Read Acts 9, 16, 22)
The thing worth noting, of course, is that Paul did not continue to live his life persecuting the Church. Quite the opposite, he began to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah and completely changed his actions. As he puts in in Galatians 2:20:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.English Standard Version
Today, it is not uncommon to see those who say that they are Christians but whose lives have not changed. They say that they are saved and are glad that God saved them but they don’t attend services, they don’t read their Bibles, they don’t help promote the cause of Christ. Their dress, language, and entertainment are aligned not with modesty, edification, and purity but rather aligned with the ego, pride, and sensuality of the world. If you were to ask them what is different about their life now as compared to before, they wouldn’t be able to answer you.
A few years ago, I ran into an acquaintance of mine who claimed to be a Christian. He appeared to be bothered, so I asked him how he was doing. He said that his family was upset with him because he was living with his girlfriend. He seemed upset at such judgement. Then he said “But they don’t know how the Spirit is leading me!” Obviously, he was under the impression that God would make an exception for his admitted and unrepentant immorality.
It is the greatest news the the world has every heard. God will save sinners. He will save murderers, thieves, greedy, drunkards, revilers, swindlers, the envious, gossips, foolish, faithless, ruthless, prideful, rapists, molesters, and in other sinner whether he engages in small sins or big sinners (I speak in human terms) HOWEVER, even though God will save such a person, he does not and will not continue to extend His glorious grace to the one who will not change his life.
We preach the Gospel to all. We are not to judge who will and who will not respond to the call of obedience. Those that respond and obey the Gospel message are baptized into Christ, they put on Christ. They submit to the waters of baptism a repentant sinner who believes the message and come up out of the waters a Saint, granted mercy from God “by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5; Acts 22:16)
As Paul puts it in 1 Corinthians 6:11 “and such were some of you…”. Notice the past tense. “WERE” not “ARE” or “continue to be.” We are now to be friends of God not friends of the world. Because as James says:
James 4:4 ESV You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
The life of a Christian needs to move away from what the life of the sinner was in the world and towards what the life of a saint is in Christ. God will save any and every sinner just as he is so that we can truly sing the song:
“Just as I am, Thou wilt receive, wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse relieve; because thy promise I believe, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!”
But then we want to start living and singing: “Just as I was, you received, welcomed, pardoned, cleansed, relieved….” Let us not continue to be of the world, rather let us live as lights among the world in which we shine as an example of God fulfilling His promise in us and the hope that He can do the same for them.
If someone were to follow your example, would they go to Heaven?
The question is not as far fetched as you might think. The fact of the matter is that we are always following or setting examples in the lives of other people. This is a good thing as long as the example is good.
Paul urged the Corinthians to “imitate me, as I imitate Christ” and to the Philippians he added “and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.” (Phil 3:17) It wasn’t just Paul’s life but the life of those who followed Paul’s example that the Philippians were to follow.
I know someone who as a young child would imitate the song leader at home. He would sing songs and keep time with his hand just like John did. “I’m John!” he would say. When it came time to go to bed however, he refused (or tried to) insisting that “John doesn’t go to bed, I’m John.” Well, he was right….John never went to bed early or late….he worked a graveyard shift and so this young boy wanted to imitate John’s song leading AND bedtime habits.
Young children are known for being impressionable but they are not the only ones so our example in our life should always be one we want others to follow.
David shows both a bad and a good example in the sin with Bathsheba. While it is true that he admitted his sin when confronted (and that is the good thing), his example of sin was so bad that God’s name was blasphemed among the nations.
2 Samuel 12:14 MKJV Only, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of Jehovah to blaspheme, this child born to you shall surely die.
It is not that the enemies of God used His name with profanity but rather that they would speak less of the God of Israel because David, the king of God’s people, had done such a horrible act. Because of that, they were less likely to honor God.
Peter urges Christians to leave the ways of the world behind. This leaving of the ways of the world would be so noticeable that the non believers would take note.
1 Peter 4:3-4 ESV For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. (4) With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you;
Earlier he had said:
1 Peter 2:12 ESV Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
And to the wives of non believers he says:
1 Peter 3:1-2 ESV Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, (2) when they see your respectful and pure conduct.
We can not be sure that if we live a good life before God and show the unbeliever (and believer alike) the proper way to serve God that they will follow our example and go to Heaven. However, we can be sure that if they do not see a good example, that they will not know the way.
So again, I ask the question: If someone followed your example, would they go to Heaven?
”In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.” And so begins the Universe and the creation of our world and even, of course, the creation of us, mankind. However, before “the beginning” what had God done?
God did what any good builder does. God planned it out:
Luke 14:28-30 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? (29) Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, (30) saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
How many times as you have read Genesis, have you imagined God, thinking, “oh no, Man ate of that tree….what are we going to do now?” Yet, as you read the Genesis 3 account of sin entering into the world, it doesn’t feel like God has been caught off guard. Immediately, even before sending Adam and Eve out of the Garden, He speaks prophetically to Satan.
Genesis 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
This is commonly understood to be a prophecy about the coming Messiah and even the virgin birth since it was the seed of Eve mentioned not the seed of Adam.
When we fast forward to the NT however, it is more clearly understood that God did indeed have this all planned out. Paul wrote to the Ephesians that God had a plan. Here is a rather long but significant part of what Paul wrote.
Ephesians 1:3-14 ESV Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, (4) even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love (5) he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, (6) to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (7) In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, (8) which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight (9) making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ (10) as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. (11) In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, (12) so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. (13) In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, (14) who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Notice first, and I dare say, foremost, that all that God planned, he planned IN Christ. Everything was brought to completion by Christ and through Christ and so when he describes us as IN CHRIST, it only seem natural that we would need to be.
This passage, one long sentence in the Greek text, is very rich in meaning and I don’t plan an in depth explanation of it but it is worth noting some things from this passage.
Those of us who are IN CHRIST:
- Are Blessed with every spiritual blessing
- Are chosen as sons by adoption
- Are sealed with the Holy Spirit
That is a LOT. Just the first one alone blows my mind. EVERY spiritual blessing is IN Christ. In my way of thinking, it is a good thing that I am IN Christ.
Also worth nothing is that those of us who IN CHRIST:
- Have redemption through His blood (redemption is to buy back. See 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 and Revelation 5:9)
- Have the forgiveness of our trespasses (Colossians 2:13)
- Have an inheritance (And a great one at that: 1 Peter 1:3-4)
- Have knowledge about His will. (A great blessing that even the Jews had…if they had only listened. Romans 3:1-2)
These, of course, could simply be a list of some of the “every spiritual blessings” Paul say we have in Christ and I would count them as blessings. Which of those 4 items is most important to you?
And yet, as the saying goes, with great privilege comes great responsibility and so it is true that IN CHRIST:
- we are to be Holy and Blameless
- to the praise of His glory (i.e. bring praise to him. Mt 5:16)
So many times, people want the blessings but not the responsibility. As John Maxwell said “They have uphill dreams but downhill habits.”
We all want to enjoy the blessings of God that we have IN CHRIST, however, it is truly a very serious thing to consider that the same God who chose us in Christ, chose us to BE holy and without blemish. Therefore, if you choose to be IN CHRIST, you need to also choose to be holy and without blemish.
Amos 3:3 “Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?
We KNOW what God wants for our life. Holy and Blameless. Do you agree? If you agree with that then you can walk with God. If you disagree and want to have all spiritual blessing and yet not be holy and blameless, then you cannot walk with God. However, the choice is yours.
Are you IN Christ? How did you get there?
As we begin the new year of 2019, just like with any year’s beginning, it is common to focus on making improvements in our lives. Whether it is increasing our financial stability, our health (and shape), or simply being a ‘nicer’ person, the resolutions we make as Christians need to be well founded on Biblical principles.
For example, weight loss and getting in shape are two very common resolutions we make. Without a doubt exercise is good for us but so often we focus on the physical and forget about the spiritual.
1 Timothy 4:7-8 ESV Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; (8) for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
Now, don’t use this as an excuse to NOT exercise; you will note that “bodily training is of SOME value” but it is very clear that the emphasis and better focus is on the Spiritual. The reason for this is easily understood by the spiritually minded. When we see with spiritual eyes we will always keep in mind three things.
First, life is short and unpredictable. We do not know how much time we have left so…
James 4:13-15 ESV Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— (14) yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. (15) Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
Second, we are one year closer to our death. No one wants to think about this but how ever much time we do have—if you finished last year, you are one year closer to death than you were last year. But for the Christian that means “salvation is nearer than when we first believed” Romans 13:11 So we should use our time building spiritual 401k rather than ONLY building the earthly ones. (Luke 12:33; Matt 6:19-21)
Third, We will all stand in judgement before God. (2 Corinthians 5:10) On our own we will fail but IN CHRIST, we will succeed. So making sure we are IN Christ and STABLE in Christ is important.
So here are 3 good resolutions for a Christian to adopt this year (and even on a permanent basis) because these three will have a positive affect all the other resolutions you wish you make.
Resolution #1 Improve your relationship with God.
In the last year, has your relationship with God improved or declined? James 4:8 ESV Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. One should expect a better spiritual maturity from the Christian who is 5 years in Christ over a babe in Christ. But we should continue to draw nearer to God and further from the world. To this end, we should:
Read our Bibles every day! Now I know that things come up that may prevent this but far fewer excuses can be given for not not reading/listening to the Scriptures than 20 years ago. With all the Bible apps and audio versions, hearing God’s word is easier than ever. Here is a link to a post that will give you 7 reasons to read the Bible daily.
But, Read our Bibles for understanding! Do NOT just read to check off a box in your annual daily reading list, read so that you can learn and remember and understand. What was written was written for our understanding and learning, (Romans 15:4) so let’s learn something not just read something.
Also, we need to be diligent in prayer to improve our relationship with God. Jesus, as our High Priest, is ready and willing to help us be we do need to ask. Additionally, we need to be thankful in our prayers not just asking in our prayers. There is so much to thank God for. (1 Chronicles 29:14, Phil 4:6)
Resolution #2 Become closer to the brethren.
Unfortunately, the things of this life and sometimes the resolutions of this life can keep us from such important relationships. Mark 4:19 ESV but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. What prevents us from being fruitful are the everyday things of this life when we focus on them.
Perhaps we need to resolve to invite over or have dinner with 6 people/couples this year. You may be surprised how that will help bind you together.
Resolution #3 Become closer to NON-Christians.
While we are to do good to the household of faith in particular, we also get to, and should, do good to those not in the household of faith as well. (Galatians 6:9-10). Again, eating together can be a good way to encourage and build a relationship. We do this in order to influence them not to be influenced by them. We shine as lights in the dark. (Philippians 2:14-15) so if we do not shine in their lives, how will they see the way to go?
A follow up to this blog should center around self control. The stick-to-it-ness that we need to carry these and other resolutions to accomplishment. Until that blog post happens, keep in mind what God said of Man in Genesis 11:6
And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.
We can accomplish great things when we set our mind to it, so let us set our mind to these three resolutions!
What resolutions have you made for this year?
As we look at Genesis chapter 9, there are many thoughts we can take away from it. This post will mention three. We see the apparent beginning of mankind eating meat, the covenant of the rainbow, and the cursing of Ham. While this will make the post extra long, I can’t decide which one to omit.
Should we be vegetarians?
According to verse 2, there is going to be a dread of mankind from the animals; the same animals that went into the ark with Noah. Just the wording of the verse indicates that this is a new thing. In fact, if we go back to chapter 1 we will see this:
Genesis 1:29-30 ESV And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. (30) And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.
In Genesis chapter 9 verses 3 and 4 read this way:
Genesis 9:3-4 ESV Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. (4) But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.
Here we seem to have a clear indication that originally man was a vegetarian and so were the animals. This, of course, does not mean that we should be what we were (if we were) before the flood but it does show a difference between how we lived before the flood and what God allowed after the flood.
In addition to this allowance of eating meat were two restrictions. One, not to eat meat with blood. That seems to continue even to this day.
Acts 15:20 ESV but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood.
The second restriction involved the death of either man or beast who kills a man. The reason? Man is created in God’s image. To kill man is to kill the image of God. This is the basis, as I understand it, for capital crimes. The death penalty seems to be enacted here first.
The covenant of the Rainbow
What does it take to make a rainbow? Well, it takes two things: Rain (water particles) and Sun. This is one reason why I think that perhaps, it really did not rain in the world before the flood. Two passages before the flood and one from here in chapter 9.
Genesis 2:5-6 ESV When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, (6) and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground—
Hebrews 11:7 ESV By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
Genesis 9:13-14 ESV I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. (14) When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds,
If you look at all this verses, you might come to the conclusion that it had never rained on the earth when God told Noah that he would bring a flood by having it rain 40 days and 40 nights, to which Noah said “What’s rain?” (concerning events as yet unseen-never before seen) and afterwards God brings clouds and with the clouds come rainbows. A reminder of the flood and a promise never to do it again.
The cursing of Ham
So Noah got drunk. Then he went into his tent and uncovered himself. It certainly doesn’t seem to be the type of thing a righteous man would do. But we will focus on what happened. The text tells us the following:
- Ham saw his father’s nakedness
- Ham told his brother outside what he saw
- Noah realized what his younger son had “done” to him
- Noah cursed Canaan (the son of Ham)
Much speculation has been written about this and I am afraid that I could only add to such speculation. However, in such speculation, let us at least look at what the text says. From verse 24, Ham DID something to Noah while Noah was drunk. If the Genealogy given in chapter 10 is in order, Ham was Canaan’s 4th son, meaning he was born many years after the flood. That Ham was cursed seems to give cause for us to believe that he was somehow involved in this incident. So, since we are speculating because the text is void of details. I offer this. Ham (a younger man and perhaps subject to the follies of youth) saw grandpa Noah in a drunken stupor and told his dad. His dad rather than covering his father up decided to share the disgrace and further uncover his father’s reputation with his two brothers.
Proverbs 25:9 ESV Argue your case with your neighbor himself, and do not reveal another’s secret,
His brothers did right by Noah and hid the shame rather than further spread it. If the thing Ham ‘did’ was a simple as that (though many suggest much worse), it would be bad enough and if one is correct is assuming that Canaan had a part in it, then the curse on him is not unjust at all, but becomes a punishment his father should have inflicted which Noah did in the absence of such punishment.
There is much we can look at in this chapter and discuss. Do you have an opinion as to what happened between Noah and Ham? Whether it rained before the flood or not? Whether men were vegetarians or not? please share your thoughts….