God's People: Noah

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
The sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Ham was the father of Canaan. These three were the sons of Noah; and from these the whole earth was peopled.
Noah, a man of the soil, was the first to plant a vineyard. He drank some of the wine and became drunk, and he lay uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said,
“Cursed be Canaan;
    lowest of slaves shall he be to his brothers.”
He also said,
“Blessed by the Lord my God be Shem;
    and let Canaan be his slave.
May God make space for Japheth,
    and let him live in the tents of Shem;
    and let Canaan be his slave."
After the flood, Noah lived three hundred fifty years. ~ Genesis 9:8-28

A few years ago there was a Hollywood production of the "Noah" story in theaters, starring Russell Crowe.

I was pleasantly surprised by what I felt was a lot of attention to Biblical details.

That wasn't the case with some of the reviewers of the film. In one of the reviews I read, there was an objection to Noah ending up drunk at the end of the film. There seems to be a need I suppose in some circles to santize some of our Biblical characters.

So, the reviewer should take note, because here we have it: God makes a covenant with Noah and Noah goes ahead and gets drunk and then curses his grandson because his own son - the boy's father - saw him naked.

Poor Canaan is going to suffer for his father's transgression.

For me, there is no need to sanitize Noah. In the whole sweep of Biblical history the hope I keep clinging to is God's devotion to imperfect people. God chooses - and uses - people of all stripes. Even those we might not so much want to associate with ourselves.

Through Noah, God renews creation, and since this story, we all have gotten a little lift in our hearts every time we see a rainbow.

The curse of Canaan will also come into play in the entire Biblical stage. From Shem will come Abraham, whose descendants will be given Canaan as their Promised Land.

If God can make something out of Noah, then God can make something out of anyone. Even you. Even me. Even our most distrusted enemies.

No need to sanitize it.

Prayer: God of all creation, use me for your good will - even when I fall short, which happens more often than I'd like to admit. Amen.


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