Monthly Archives: November 2018

3 thoughts from Genesis 9

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….

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2 lessons from Genesis 8

Genesis 8 shows Noah still in the ark and water is not just over his head, it is over the mountains. It takes a long time for the waters to start to recede from the earth and one might wonder what would happen to Noah during that time. A wonderful thing did happen:

God remembered Noah

Oh, to be remembered by God. If you have every had a friend who forgot about you, you can understand the pain of that loss, especially if they were a good friend, or perhaps even “more than friends.”

God knows all of us but it is the remembering that indicates a care and concern for us which Noah received in Genesis 8.

Genesis 8:1 ESV  But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.

Of course, God was also concerned about the beasts and livestock too. Still, as Jesus will teach in Matthew 6, while God does take care of them,”we” are of greater value. God will take care of us.

Matthew 6:26 ESV  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

A more important question is “Do we remember God?”

God makes a covenant

At the end of the chapter God makes a covenant with Noah:

Genesis 8:22 ESV  While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

This should be of great comfort to us because we know that, although the world will end someday, it will not end before God is ready to end it.

When I was growing up, among the big fears was Nuclear war. Post Nuclear  war movies like Planet of the Apes, Damnation Alley, etc spoke of the horrors of the world “ending” with a Nuclear war. (Not that it actually “ended” it was just very hard living.) Even today movies show the world ending in terrible ways.

What God said, and I believe, is that the world will end when GOD says it ends and until then, we will still have seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night!

This is not to say that we should be care free with how we use the resources God gave us in our world but neither should we be overly concerned when those that do not honor God do things to that appear to destroy the world as if they will actually succeed!

Three things have been “end of the world calamities” in my life: Nuclear war, Global cooling, and Global warming. So far none of it has stopped seed time, harvest, heat, cold, summer, winter, day, or night! So do not be anxious, God is in control. In the end, we will all die so we need to live to God and be sure we are going to be in Heaven with Him.

Don’t let the world influence you.

In a recent sermon which I have entitled “Salt and Light”, we talked about the need for Christians to be an influence in the world. Sadly enough, it is often the world which influences the Christian. Sometimes is is abrupt and sometimes more subtle.

I would like to use two of the illustrations from that lesson in this post. (If you want to hear the whole lesson, you can click here.) The first one, we have all heard, I am sure. The second one, I am guessing, you have not thought about before.

In 1939, Gone with the Wind, was released into the movie theaters and there was ONE…SINGLE…SOLITARY…profane word in it. The nation blushed. Now, that same profane word is common place and even used, on occasion by some who affirm that they are Christians.  Of course, it isn’t just the one word anymore. Many such words are heard in our entertainment; our books, our movies, our music and even, perhaps, our own private thoughts.   Brethren, these things ought not to be. (James 3:10)  Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:4)

The second illustration may cause some eyes to roll in that way that we do when we think someone is either kidding or making a big deal out of nothing. “Seriously!?”, the eye roll says! While it might seem to be harmless, and not nearly has shocking as some of the ways in which the world influences us, perhaps it is that very appearance of harmlessness that we have to be most careful about.

I am speaking of the calendar that so many of us use. Many calendars at home will still show the first day of the week as Sunday. However, many new calendars, particularly, in day planners formats show Monday as the first day. Where is Sunday? It is relegated to a shared space with Saturday. It is part of the “week-end.”

Now, I know that for most of us, we use the ‘work week’ as a Monday through Friday or Saturday event. We schedule our life around our work. The caution that I am going to point out is that our lives do not revolve  around our work but around the Son. (Sunday/Sonday) When we use the term “weekend”, which is a term I still use having grown up with it for so long, we need to make sure we don’t forget that Sunday is actually the week start.  

In elementary school I thought Monday was the first day of the week because that when my school week began. Many of us think that the week begins on Monday today because that is when our work begins. Even easier when we say “How was your weekend?” or “I can’t wait until the weekend so I can rest” and we think of not just Saturday but Sunday as well.

For Christians, who gather on the first day of the week to worship God and remember Jesus’ sacrifice (Acts 20:7; I cor 16:2), we need to keep this in mind and not let worldly distractions enter into our thinking.

Things along this line: “Sunday is the only day I can sleep in.” or “it is a day that I can spend with family, recreating and enjoying some down time.”

Worse, perhaps, we allow our thoughts to be secularized to where Sunday completely loses it’s meaning to us, to our kids, and in the world, the light that we could shine, slowly goes out.

We know in our own mind, of course, that Sunday is the first day of the week. But if we do not live like we believe that it is, then it will not be long before we become like those who although “knowing God…did not glorify Him as God, neither were they thankful.” Romans 1:21

Remember, you were a slave

Five times in the book of Deuteronomy, God commanded the people of Israel to “remember” that they had been slaves in the land of Egypt. In those passages, the context of the command deals with their service to God and their relationship to their neighbor, especially, the poor or needy neighbor.

Remembering that they were slaves in Egypt and rescued by God would help them keep a good perspective in life so as to not forget their need for God or to be generous to their needy brother.

We too can benefit from such a command. We should always remember that we were once slaves too. Slaves to sin and the ways of the world.

Galatians 3:25-4:9 ESV But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, (26) for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. (27) For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (29) And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. (4:1) I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, (2) but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. (3) In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. (4) But when the fullness of tofe had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, (5) to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (6) And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (7) So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (8) Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. (9) But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

English Standard Version

We, who are IN  Christ are now sons of Christ and freed from sin. However, it is beneficial to remember that we once were slaves.  In this way, we can avoid mistakes like thinking more highly of ourselves than we should and forgetting God, or treating in others with contempt as if we are privileged ones and that God is lucky to have us on his team, while others are not worthy.  (Luke 18:9ff)

Yesterday’s lesson deals with this need to remember that we were slaves in a little more detail. you can listen to it here if you wish. In the mean time, there is one other good reason to remember that we were once slaves of sin, owing a debt that could never be repaid. That is, it will help us be more forgiving. No sin or crime against us matches up to the sins we have done in marring the image of God He created us in. If God forgives us…we can and should forgive our fellow man.

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