After the flood, Noah began to cultivate the ground, and he planted a vineyard. One day he drank some wine he had made, and he became drunk and lay naked inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw that his father was naked and went outside and told his brothers. Then Shem and Japheth took a robe, held it over their shoulders, and backed into the tent to cover their father. As they did this, they looked the other way so they would not see him naked. When Noah woke up from his stupor, he learned what Ham, his youngest son, had done. Then he cursed Canaan, the son of Ham: “May Canaan be cursed! May he be the lowest of servants to his relatives.” Then Noah said, “May the Lord, the God of Shem, be blessed, and may Canaan be his servant! May God expand the territory of Japheth! May Japheth share the prosperity of Shem, and may Canaan be his servant.”
Dear God, I was looking at this passage today and I came up with a controversial take on it. Is this a case where Noah was wrong in cursing Ham? Did he overreact out of shame? Was there more to their relationship than this story tells? Did Ham do the wrong thing? Sure. Was he disrespectful and mean? You bet. Did his actions deserve the curse of eternal slavery for him and his descendants? Well, that seems a little harsh.
I heard a teaching on this passage that I completely disagreed with. In fact, I’m not even going to repeat it here because I thought it was so ridiculous. But I think the person or people who came up with the theory were doing their best to justify Noah’s response to Ham instead of entertaining the idea that Noah made a mistake. The Bible’s forefathers made mistakes all of the time. Some of them were called out, but maybe all of them weren’t. Maybe some are just there for us to make our own judgment. Kind of like I’ve talked about with the disciples taking it upon themselves to appoint Mathias as Judas’s successor instead of waiting for you to bring Paul into the fold.
Father, I guess the point is that I make all of these mistakes too. I overreact. I make mistakes. Please keep my mistakes from reverberating too much through history. Help the dominoes that knock over because of my mistakes be few, and restore them to your original plan and design. And when I make the mistakes, make me quick to repent and redeem what I have done.
In Jesus’s name I pray,