In Genesis 8, the flood waters recede. There’s a complicated process Noah utilizes to determine if the dry land has appeared. I don’t really get the reasoning behind this process. Eventually, God tells Noah it’s time to leave the Ark. The important part of chapter 8 is the promise God makes to Noah (and mankind).
God promises to never flood the whole Earth again (v21-22). I find it interesting that God adds “while the earth remains” into this promise. It reminds us that even the earth is temporary! We can see this idea better in Luke 21:33; “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
In chapter 9, Noah receives blessings and instructions from God. God also provides a sign of his promise to never flood the earth again.
The ESV says “bow” in the clouds. I’ve always read “rainbow” in the NIV version. I did some research on this, and found that Ezekiel 1:28 makes a similar reference to “the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain” or we can say “rainbow.” The Hebrew qesheth is used in both verses for “bow” or “my bow.” (Interestingly, this same word is used to describe a weapon – think bow and arrow – in Zechariah 9:13.)
Now, we are introduced to the sons of Noah. Ham brought a curse upon his descendants, the Canaanites, by his sinful actions (9:22). He sinned against Noah in two ways: Ham dishonored his father, and he gossiped about Noah’s shameful moment of weakness. I almost think there was a bit of pride there too. Didn’t Ham realize it could have been him? The flesh is weak! (Matthew 26:41) Additionally, we all fall short of God’s standards. (Romans 3:23)
There’s one lingering question to this story: Why were the Canaanites cursed for Ham’s sin? I don’t really know. I did find an interesting blog entry that helped, though. The curse is more of a prophecy than an actual curse, and anything Moses did say to Ham (“Why you little –!”) wasn’t recorded because it wasn’t relevant to the story that God needed outlining for His people.
Finally and perhaps oddly, I like the fact that even the great Noah, who “walked with God,” wasn’t perfect. Ephesians 5:18 states that we better “not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” Yet, Noah fell into this sin passed out and naked. Nobody is perfect, save Jesus!
Thank you, Lord, for your promises. You are my God, Sovereign and in control of every single detail! I trust in you, Lord. Thank you for leading me on this journey through your everlasting Word. I pray that the many questions I have will be answered — even if the answer is merely another question! I pray to never grow tired of searching and praying over your God-breathed messages to me.
Lord forgive me when I am weak. I’m a rotten sinner who falls regularly. If it is Your will, please provide more Shem and Japheth type people in my life than Ham-types… encouragers rather than destroyers. I love you, Lord. Amen.