What was the response of Noah’s other sons – Shem and Japheth – to Noah’s drunken state?
They showed him honor (kavod) by covering his nakedness. They accomplished this by holding a coat over their shoulders and walking backwards so that they would not see him in this state. For this act of respect they were blessed.
That was love in action, as love does not expose people’s sins; rather, it “covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
This is a wonderful lesson for children, usually not found as one of the stories in our Children’s Bibles, but one which should be told.
Although no parent is perfect, and sometimes we even do things which might be cause for our children to laugh at us or point the finger, children must be taught to always respect their parents.
Generational Curses and Empire Building
“But God said to Balaam, ‘Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed.’” (Numbers 22:12)
Although all of Noah’s family were saved physically, each one had to choose the way of spiritual salvation, which pertains to the transformation of the heart.
Shem and Japheth showed a right heart and right spirit, while Ham showed that his heart still needed regeneration.
Because God had blessed Noah and his sons, including Ham (Genesis 9:1; see also Numbers 22:12), Noah could only curse Ham’s descendants. That curse did not end with Canaan, but carried on down the generations.
Likewise, we may unknowingly also carry curses upon our lives from generational sins (Exodus 34:7; Jeremiah 31:29–30; Ezekiel 18:2–3; Lamentations 5:7).
The atoning blood of Yeshua (Jesus) which paid the price for all our sins has the power to break these curses, but we must receive and proclaim our freedom in the Son. “Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written:
‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.’” (Galatians 3:13)
The Bible traces the rebellion and curse working through the generations of Ham.
One of Ham’s sons was Cush. Nimrod came from this lineage. He began his kingdom in Babel (modern day Iraq). He also built the wicked city of Nineveh, to which God sent Jonah to preach repentance.
The tower of Babel was also built in the land of Shinar, which is in Babylon (Iraq). The people of the world unified in their goal of building the tower of Babel, but their motives were not godly, and God was forced to bring confusion to their languages to destroy their works.
In everything we do, we must examine our motives to see if we are attempting to ‘build a name for ourselves’ or working to build the Kingdom of God.
All that is built with impure motives will be destroyed on the Day of Judgment.
Haftarah (Prophetic Portion)
To Me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:9–10)
The Haftarah portion of this week’s reading highlights God’s covenant with Noah to never again destroy the earth through flood, and God’s anger with sin.
It also emphasizes God’s unfailing love for Israel and His forgiveness, redemption and restoration through His covenant of peace.
God promises that exiled Israel, punished for her sins, will one day be forgiven, redeemed and returned to her Land in fulfillment of Bible Prophecy.
“For a little moment I left you, and with great mercies I will gather you up.” (Isaiah 54:7)
Survivor Guilt and Unconditional Love
Ever wonder how the people on the ark felt while they were tossed about on the waves?
We might perhaps feel the same way they did at various times in our own lives when we are “Storm-tossed, suffering, not comforted.” (Isaiah 54:11)
We sometimes wonder if these storms will ever come to an end. Is there no one who can comfort us in our affliction?
In the midst of relief at being saved, some of Noah’s family on the Ark might have experienced survivor guilt – horror at the terrible loss of life – and guilt that no one else was saved except their family.
Did they feel guilty that they had somehow not conveyed the seriousness of the situation? Did they feel inadequate in that no one had listened to them?
Sometimes we feel this way when people turn a deaf ear to the Gospel message of Yeshua – when they do not want to come under the covering of ‘the ark’, the blood of the Lamb, and do not take the message seriously that God’s judgment is coming.
Parasha Noach moves us beyond our guilt and shame—real or imagined—to accepting the unconditional love of God.
“Fear not; you shall not be put to shame.” (Isaiah 54:4)
One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is that of comforter. The Holy Spirit comforts survivors of the storms of life and refugees who are still adrift, trying to find a place to settle.
When we see the sign of the covenant that God gave to Noah, the rainbow, we are reminded that we can rebuild our lives out of the destruction of the flood. We are called to rebuild even when all has been lost or swept away. The waters that caused death can now become a source of life and hope.
“All you who are thirsty, go out for water.” (Isaiah 55:1)
This is the message of Noach. God is present even at the flood, even in the darkest of moments.
Because of covenant, because of His tender mercies, new life is possible. An abandoned, barren life can become fruitful and joyful. When hope is restored, we can begin to form new relationships – a first step to rebuilding our future.
Time is short. A great judgment and destruction is coming upon the world. Despite that, most continue on with life as usual, completely unaware of what is coming, just as in the days of Noah before the flood.
As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.
That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:37–39)