Genesis 9

Sunday Morning Bible Study

January 7, 2007

Introduction

Some Great Lessons from Noah's Ark

Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.

Stay fit. When you’re 600 years old, someone might ask you to do something REALLY big.

Speed isn’t always an advantage. The cheetahs were on board, but so were the snails.

Don’t forget that we’re all in the same boat.

When the doo-doo gets really deep, don’t sit there and complain—shovel!!!

Remember that the ark was built by amateurs and the Titanic was built by professionals.

Remember that the woodpeckers INSIDE are often a bigger threat than the storm outside.

Don’t miss the boat.

No matter how bleak it looks, there’s always a rainbow on the other side.

:1-17 Noah’s Covenant

:1 So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.

:2 "And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand.

It seems that before the flood, animals didn’t have a fear of men.  When Jesus returns, the earth will revert back to those days, when the lion eats grass like an ox the child plays at the hole of the poisonous snake (Is. 11:6-8)

:3 "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.

It is possible that before the flood, man was a vegetarian.  After the flood, Noah is told that he can eat animals as well as vegetables.

:4 "But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.

An animal that is to be eaten must first have its blood drained out of it.

The same law is repeated to Moses with some clarification:

(Lev 17:10-11 NKJV)  'And whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people. {11} 'For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.'

Not all people follow this command of God.  Other cultures make special food dishes or drinks out of blood.  The Irish eat “blood sausage”.  The English eat “blood pudding”.  The Masai make a drink out of cow’s blood and milk.  But not God’s people.  Not the Jews.

Blood has been given a special purpose by God.  Blood is supposed to be represent the life of the animal.

When a sacrifice is made, the sacrifice centers around the spilling of blood, the giving of a life.  The animal has its blood spilt on the altar as a picture of the animal giving it’s life for the person offering the sacrifice.

This ultimately paves the way for a Savior to die and have His blood poured out as a sacrifice for the world.

(Rom 3:24-26 NLT)  Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. {25} For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God's anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us. God was being entirely fair and just when he did not punish those who sinned in former times. {26} And he is entirely fair and just in this present time when he declares sinners to be right in his sight because they believe in Jesus.
When we take communion, we drink little cups of grape juice in order to remind ourselves that Jesus shed His blood, He gave His life as a sacrifice for us.
(Mat 26:28 NKJV)  "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
His blood not only saves us from our past sins, but continues to cleanse us from sin as we follow Him:
(1 John 1:7 NKJV)  But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

:5 "Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man's brother I will require the life of man.

:6 "Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.

We see this as the establishing of human government.

God now authorizes man to exact justice.  If a person or an animal kills a human being, God authorizes man to bring justice by killing the person or animal that caused the death.

Some folks claim that God is against capital punishment because it says in the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt not kill”.  But what they don’t understand is that the word used in Ex. 20:13 means “murder”, not just “kill”.

Capital punishment is approved by God because murder not only shows disregard for another human life, but shows contempt for God, since man is made in the image of God.

:7 And as for you, be fruitful and multiply; Bring forth abundantly in the earth And multiply in it."

:8 Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying:

:9 "And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you,

:10 "and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth.

:11 "Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth."

covenant[email protected] – covenant, alliance, pledge.  We might call it a “contract”.

God makes a “covenant” with Noah.  God promises never again to destroy all life on earth by a flood.

God made a covenant with Abraham.  God promised to bless him, multiply his descendants, and give him a piece of property (Gen. 17).

God made a covenant with Moses (Ex. 19-20).  It involved keeping God’s commands.  The covenant was summarized with the Ten Commandments carved on stone tablets.  The stone tablets with the commandments were kept in the “Ark of the Covenant” (the box that held the contract)

God made a covenant with David (2Sam. 23). God promised that David’s family would rule Israel.  He promised that the Messiah would come from David’s descendants.

God made a “new covenant” with mankind through Jesus.

(Mat 26:28 NKJV)  "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
The deal was this:  You trust in Jesus.  God takes away your sins.

Lesson

You can trust God

What does all this tell you about God?  It tells you that you can trust Him.  God keeps His promises.  God keeps His Word.
Are you a person who is struggling with the pressures of life?  God promised:
(Mat 11:28-30 NKJV)  "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. {29} "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. {30} "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
Are you wondering how you are going to make ends meet?  God promises:
(Phil 4:19 NKJV)  And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Are you struggling with the guilt and pain of sin in your life?  God promised:
(John 3:16 NKJV)  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
God is serious about the things He promises.  You can trust Him.

Lesson

Be faithful

Not only is God faithful, but as His kids, we need to be faithful too.
(Mat 5:33-37 NKJV)  "Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.' {34} "But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; {35} "nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. {36} "Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. {37} "But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
A person swears an oath because he needs some sort of important words to get the other person to believe him.  But Jesus doesn’t want us swearing oaths, He simply wants us to be trustworthy.  When you say “yes”, mean it.
Can people count on you?

Are you a person who always promises things, but rarely comes through?

Do you find it easy to tell someone something you think they want to hear because you’re afraid they won’t like it if you tell them the truth?

Be faithful.  Be truthful.

:12 And God said: "This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:

:13 "I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.

rainbowqesheth – bow (for hunting, battle).  The Old King James actually preserves the sense of the word, simply translating this “bow”.  It could be seen that God was hanging up His weapons with this new covenant, that God was bringing peace.

:14 "It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud;

:15 "and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.

:16 "The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth."

:17 And God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth."

When you see a rainbow in the sky, it is a reminder for all of us that God has promised not to destroy the earth by a flood.

Apparently, before the flood, there were no rainbows.  Perhaps this was due to the water canopy surrounding the earth.

The fact that the human race has not been wiped out is a reminder of God’s faithfulness to His promises.

Does this mean that God won’t ever wipe out the earth?

The first time was through flood.  The next time will be through fire.

(2 Pet 3:10 NKJV)  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

:18-28 Drunken Noah

:18 Now the sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And Ham was the father of Canaan.

If Ham was the middle brother, and he had a brother on either side, would that make him a “Ham sandwich”?

Why is Canaan mentioned?  We’ll see one reason in a minute.  But keep in mind that when Moses was writing Genesis, the Israelites were on their way to the land of Canaan.  They would need reminding of what was up ahead.

:19 These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated.

You could say that we’re all children of Adam, but since Noah and his family were the only ones who survived the flood, it’s also correct to say that we’re all children of Noah.  Apparently Noah and his wife didn’t have any more kids since the three boys fathered the rest of the world.

:20 And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard.

:21 Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent.

God brought judgment on sin.  But God did not wipe out sin because Noah was still a sinner. What sad irony to find the man who saved the world getting stinking drunk and acting like a fool.

Illustration

According to legend when Noah entered the ark he took along a vine. He had been a gardener before he built the ark, and when he settled again on the land after the deluge, he planted the vine once more and returned to his old occupation.

As he worked in the garden, Satan came to him and said:

“If you will let me help you, I can show you how to make grapes grow on the vine tomorrow.”

“That,” said Noah, “is something worth seeing.”

Satan helped Noah plant the vine.  Then Satan took a lamb, a lion, a monkey and a pig and watered the plant with their blood.

That is why, after the first glass of wine, one becomes gentle as a lamb; after the second glass of wine, as daring as a lion; after the third glass one is apt to make a monkey of himself; and after the fourth glass of wine, a man becomes drunk and behaves like a pig.

-- Lore of the Old Testament 

:22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside.

Just what did Ham do?

Some of the rabbis say that Ham castrated his father, and this is why Noah doesn’t have any more children.

Others say that the phrase means that Ham slept with his mother.

Still others say that there was some sort of homosexual act involved.

But the text doesn’t say any of that.  The text simply says he “saw” his father naked.

sawra’ah – to see, look at, inspect, perceive, consider; gaze at; one commentator says this word carries the idea of “gazing with satisfaction”.

But just “looking” leads to problems.  Later when God is giving Moses clear instructions about sexual sins (Lev. 18), there is a hint that goes all the way back to Noah’s grandson:

(Lev 18:3 NKJV)  'According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, you shall not do; and according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall not do; nor shall you walk in their ordinances.

The land of Canaan was known for greatly immoral behavior. And it seemed to start with just a look.  Does it hurt to just “take a look”?  Yes it does.

:23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father's nakedness.

Lesson

Covering love

The actions of Shem and Japheth is one of the great examples in the Bible of a principle found in 1Cor. 13:7
(1 Cor 13:7 NKJV)  …(love) bears all things…

bearsstego – thatch, to cover; to protect or keep by covering, to preserve; to cover over with silence; to keep secret; to hide, conceal.  It would be better to translate this phrase, “love covers all things”.

Just what does love “cover”?

(Prov 10:12 NKJV)  Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins.

(1 Pet 4:7-8 NKJV)  But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. {8} And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."

(Prov 17:9 NKJV)  He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends.

Shem and Japheth could have taken part in whatever demeaning things that Ham was saying or doing.  But instead they loved their father enough to cover up his embarrassment and even do it in a way with their backs turned where some of Noah’s dignity was preserved.
Love covers sins.
I think that if we love our kids, we shouldn’t be griping about their failures with our friends.
If you are married, you should feel that your greatest failures will be kept quiet by your spouse.

I’m not talking about the spouse who is married to an alcoholic but refuses to admit that there’s a problem.

Love doesn’t ignore a person’s problems, but love is considerate enough to keep things confidential and cover the sin.

Love will never drag into the light of day the faults and mistakes of others, it would rather quietly mend things.  Love can bear any insult, any injury, any disappointment.

It’s not uncommon to hear men gripe about their wives at work, and women about their husbands.  But you should never take part in those conversations.  Even if you’ve got some great stories yourself to tell.

When a husband meets his wife’s friends, he should be greeted with exclamations like, “Oh, so you’re Mr. Wonderful!”, not, “So that’s what the snake looks like”.

:24 So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him.

:25 Then he said: "Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brethren."

:26 And he said: "Blessed be the LORD, The God of Shem, And may Canaan be his servant.

Note:  Yahweh (the LORD, vs. 26) would be the God of Shem, the father of the Jews.

:27 May God enlarge Japheth, And may he dwell in the tents of Shem; And may Canaan be his servant."

Japheth means “enlarge”, so Noah is asking God to do to Japheth according to his name.  The descendants of Japheth would basically fill Europe.

dwell in the tents of Shem – spiritual blessings would come to the descendants of Japheth through the God of Shem.

Question: If Ham was the one who sinned, why did Noah curse Ham’s son Canaan?

Ham did not honor his father.  Ham is punished by having a son who would bring dishonor to him.

Some goofy people try to claim this is a curse of dark skin for people in Africa, who are descendants of Ham.  But the curse was not on the Hamites, but the Canaanites.

The Canaanites were the people who would live in the land that Joshua would conquer.  The Canaanites would become servants of Joshua and later Solomon (1Ki. 9:20-21).  The Canaanites have long been extinct, so the curse does not apply to anyone in modern times.

:28 And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.

:29 So all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years; and he died.

Noah was six hundred when God had him build the ark.  Noah lives 350 years past the flood.  That would mean that Abraham was 58 years old when Noah died.