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Hope for a Ravaged World

Words of Faith Final

Hope for a Ravaged World
Words of Faith 2-24-2022
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2022
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Genesis 9
       [18] The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) [19] These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the earth.
    [20] Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. [21] When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. [22] Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father's nakedness and told his two brothers outside. [23] But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father's nakedness. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father's nakedness.
    [24] When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, [25] he said, "Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers."
    [26] He also said, "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. [27] May God extend the territory of Japheth; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be his slave."
    [28] After the Flood Noah lived 350 years. [29] Altogether, Noah lived 950 years, and then he died.

        The story of Noah’s drunkenness and the response of his sons has perplexed scholars and interpreters. Since all peoples descended from the three sons of Noah, the primary purpose of this story is to reveal the origin of the conflicts between the peoples of the earth.  
        It was from Shem that Abraham would emerge to lead God's chosen people (10:21-31; 11:10-26). From Ham would come the Canaanites, the enemies of Israel, pagan tribes living about the land of Canaan. From Japheth would come the many tribes inhabiting Eastern Europe and the north of Asia (Genesis 10:2-5).
        The big point here was that the Flood had not eradicated sin! Noah's drunkenness reflects the sinful nature. Though wine is said to cheer the heart (Judges 9:13; Ps. 104:15) and alleviate the pain of the curse (Prov. 31:6), it is also clear that the abuse of alcohol has disturbing effects.  
        Noah lay drunk and naked in his tent. Nakedness in the ancient world was a symbol of sexual looseness and vulnerability. Intoxication and sexual looseness are the hallmarks of pagans. Both of these behaviors are traced back to this event in Noah's life. Although the earth had been wiped clean, man had not changed at all. Given the opportunity to start a “new creation,” Noah acted like a pagan (Gen. 6:5; 8:21).
          But there was also the response of the sons. When Ham saw his father's nakedness, he went out announcing it. He was not involved with Noah sexually, as some have suggested. But to the ancients, even seeing one's father naked was a breach of family ethics and a compromise of power. The sanctity of the family was destroyed, and the father's strength was made a mockery.  
         Ham apparently stumbled on the scene accidentally but went out in pride to tell his two brothers, as if he had triumphed over his father.   There was a sense of dominance and achieved power in Ham’s proclamation that may have even suggested his intention to take over leadership of the clan! This was an act of pride and domination. What seems to be a trivial incident turned out to be a major event from which Noah proclaimed that his three sons' natures would be perpetuated in their descendants.
           The nation of the Canaanites that would come from Ham would be cursed with this legacy. Drunkenness, loose sexuality, domination, and pagan idolatry marked the Canaanite culture. Noah predicted that the Canaanites would be in servitude to the Shemites and Japhethites. The Canaanites lived degrading lives like Ham.
           The point from this strange story? We see the national stain of sin. Drunken debauchery enslaves a people. The power struggles related to sexual exploitation in the family are a hideous fracture caused by sin. Today, the brokenness that comes from substance abuse and sexual exploitation is not confined to any one nation. It is a fundamental tear in the fabric of humanity.  
           The Good News of the Gospel is that we don’t have to behave this way. Because of the work of Christ, we are no longer slaves to sin. At the moment of salvation, a believer dies to the evil of the "flesh," the sin nature (Romans 6:3-8; Colossians 2:11), and his life is now hidden with Christ in God. Galatians 2:20 declares, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."  
          There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set us free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2). But there is an enormous amount of work to do to heal people fractured by pagan practices. As the Apostle Paul put it, "From now on, we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:16-17). As believers, we see the possibility of the New Creation when we encounter people ravaged by the pagan world.

          Father, give me eyes to see Your New Creation at work in the lives of those painfully torn by sin. Give me the courage to faithfully announce Your grace, peace, and healing. Let me be a minister of reconciliation. In Jesus’ name.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2022
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)        
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2022 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.