1. The problem of sin
Noah and Adam before him are very much connected. There are at least a dozen parallels between Adam and Noah, the point of which is showing that because of our sin problem, we keep repeating the same mistakes one generation after the next. … Both are said to be in covenant with God. (Hosea 6:7) says that Adam was also in a covenant with God, and both men had three sons. In each of those family lines, one of those sons did a grievous and terrible thing.
2. Blessing is a great theme in Genesis
Blessing threads and weaves Genesis together. It shows up with the forgiveness of sin, salvation. God’s blessing shows up a lot of different ways. But the point is that people are bad and God is good, and God blesses people. God is a good God. James says every good and perfect gift comes from God. God is a God who is good and who blesses.
We are not animals; we are not gods. We are people made by God with dignity, value, and respect. Therefore the taking of a human life is different than the taking of an animal life or the taking of the life of a vegetable. Some of us don’t like capital punishment. Point here is not that murderers are to be put to death but that human life is seen as sacred and protected. He says, “As for you, be fruitful, increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.” The point here is this: Have kids, have kids, have kids, have kids, have kids.
3. Covenant is at the heart of community
This is the Bible’s language for relationship and devotion and commitment and oneness. Some covenants are universal. They apply to everyone. The Noahic covenant is one of those covenants. Some covenants, like marriage, are limited insofar as who they are applied to. The new covenant is for those people who belong to Jesus. That doesn’t apply to everybody. Not everybody’s a Christian.
The Noahic covenant is a universal covenant for all people and animals, and it is an unconditional covenant.
When a covenant is made, there is an outward sign or symbol as a reminder that a covenant was entered into. Here, the sign is a rainbow. “Why do we wear rings?” Because we’re in a covenant, and covenants require a symbol so that we can remind ourselves, “I’m in a covenant here.”
4. Then it all goes wrong again!
Noah gets drunk and passes out naked in his tent. We’re not encouraging anybody to disobey the law. We’re not encouraging anybody to dishonour their parents. We’re not encouraging anybody to get drunk. Even at communion. We also don’t want anyone to stumble with alcohol. Love your brother. That said, the Bible doesn’t teach that drinking alcohol is a sin; otherwise, Jesus would have sinned. The Psalms say God gave wine to gladden the heart of man! Jesus says that the whole of evangelism is like workers going out into a harvest field; that he is the vine, that we are the branches.
Now let’s look at his sin. Is it a sin to drink alcohol? No. Is it a sin to sleep naked? No. But it is a sin to get drunk, so Noah’s sin here is drunkenness.
Noah sinned, but he’s asleep in his bed. Ham goes into the father’s bedroom, and he’s digging up dirt on his dad – he’s looking for sin. And as soon as he finds it, what does he do? He runs out, and he tells his brothers. Here he is, dishonouring his father. The sin of Ham is not just perversion, though he’s perverted, the sin of Ham is that he dishonours his father. We miss this, because we live in a culture where dad is a joke.
In the Bible, the father is a sacred title. It’s an honoured office. God is our Heavenly Father. Ham is a terrible son.
If you have a father who’s a patriarch, honour him, love him, bless him, respect him. Don’t run around looking for sin and making light of him. If you have no father, respect fatherhood and honour your father so that one day, when you have kids, whether you’re a mother or a father, your parents will respect the parental authority.
We finish with Noah there, and the last word is that he died. It’s not a great note of hope. And it’s that way because God doesn’t want us to have our hope in people on the earth, even righteous men who have bad days like Noah. Our hope is not in this father, Noah. It’s in God, who is our Father. And it’s not in this son, Ham. It’s in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. And it’s not in sons who dishonour their father and fathers who dishonour their Heavenly Father, it’s in Jesus who honours God the Father and takes away and covers our sin, covers our disgrace, covers our shame.