Sermon for Sunday, June 23, 2024

Naked and Ashamed

Genesis 9:18–28 (NKJV): 18 Now the sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And Ham was the father of Canaan. 19 These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated.

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

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.

    27May God enlarge Japheth,

    And may he dwell in the tents of Shem;

    And may Canaan be his servant.”

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

*יַיִן (yayin)- rom an unused root meaning to effervesce; wine (as fermented); by implication intoxication: – banqueting, wine, wine [-bibber].

(Jesus was called a wine-bibber, as translated in the King James Version in both Matthew 11:19 and Luke 7:34.  Of course, this is an accusation made about Jesus by the priests.  While Jesus most definitely drank wine and so did his disciples (think Passover), he never was a drunkard or a glutton.)

Chapter 9 sets up the Curse of Ham.  Some have used this portion of scripture to support racist ideas, the mark of Ham as being dark skinned.  It is idiocy to make a statement as the context of the story sets up the principle that Israel is superior to Canaan.  The Curse of Ham is an ancient land claim of Israel that would be realized by the exodus led by Moses and the conquest of the “Promised Land” by Joshua to take the land of Canaan as the fulfillment of the curse.

The question is this:  What did Ham do that led to this story being retold towards future generations?  Inherently, the descendants of Shem (whom would also be known as Melchizedek and was still alive when Abraham came to the land) and Japheth would eventually be at war with Ham.  Ham, according to biblical record would settle the areas known today as Egypt, Israel, Palestine, and Saudi Arabia.  Shem would settle east of the Jordan and would become what would be Babylonia (this makes Abram a relative), Median, and Persia which in modern times would be Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan (Spīn Ghar Mountain Range).  Japheth is north, think modern day Turkey, Greece, and Italy (the Alps Mountain Range). 

So, Ham descendants would be the Egyptian Empire.  The descendants of Shem would be the Babylonians, the Medes, and the Persians.  The descendants of Japheth would be the Assyrians, the Greeks, and the Romans.  In between them all is the land of Canaan which belongs to Ham but because of Noah’s curse, would go to Shem (Abraham), but Japheth would also contest for a portion (mainly the Assyrians or Philistines):

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.”

But there is an issue that this story ALSO points out in what Ham did.  The hint is in verse 22:

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

Ham shared his father’s shame (nakedness)

It is this sin that opened the eyes of Adam and Eve

Genesis 3:6–7 (NKJV): 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

““Naked” is used as a descriptor 104 times in Scripture. Depending on the context, it can indicate innocence, purity, defenselessness, vulnerability, helplessness, humiliation, shame, guilt, and judgment. At times, it may indicate several of these qualities within a single context, so the context must be read carefully to grasp how it is specifically being used.”[1]

Ham gossips to his brothers about their dad.  Their dad wakes up and finds out what happened, and he was angry and humiliated.  Ham could have simply stayed out of Noah’s tent or simply covered him up himself.  Ham dishonored his father before the Law of Moses is given, yet the principle is established earlier as an unwritten rule.

Matthew 15:1–20 (NLT): Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law now arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They asked him, 2 “Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat.”

3 Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? 4 For instance, God says, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’ 5 But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ 6 In this way, you say they don’t need to honor their parents. And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,

    8 ‘These people honor me with their lips,

      but their hearts are far from me.

    9 Their worship is a farce,

      for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’”

10 Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand. 11 It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.”

12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?”

13 Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, 14 so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.”

15 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Explain to us the parable that says people aren’t defiled by what they eat.”

16 “Don’t you understand yet?” Jesus asked. 17 “Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer. 18 But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you. 19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. 20 These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.”

I find it unique that the next verses after this story is the faith of a Canaanite woman!

[1] Forerunner Commentary. (c) 1992-2024 Church of the Great God, Inc.

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