The Sons of Noah
Last week we left off in our Genesis study by talking about how God established a covenant with Noah and promised to never destroy the entire earth with water again. The sign of this covenant would be a rainbow! We had good conversation about Noah and his family and what likely went through their mind on the Ark and how they would have been ready to get off the Ark after being on board for over a year. We also talked about how Noah immediately built an altar and worshiped God. Tonight we will continue looking at life after the Ark and after the flood. Specifically, we’re going to look at Noah’s sons and how they acted early on in the post-flood world.
MacArthur begins this lesson by talking about gossip and shame. In our society, do people experience these things on a regular basis?
Yes! People partake in gossip on a regular basis and there is a certain amount of shame in our world attributed with certain things. With that said, the amount of shame that people experience is substantially less than it used to be because more and more things are permissible nowadays than in previous times.
The Bible talks about the power of the tongue many times, why do you think this is the case? Why does God care so much about our words?
Because we are to use our mouths to praise the Lord! There is a temptation to use our mouths in negative ways and to cause harm. We can either choose to speak life or speak death and cause destruction. Words matter and they resonate with people long after they are said. We cannot take them back either.
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
In our story tonight, we will see the consequence of gossip and how sin not only impacts the sinner but other people - even those not yet born. As MacArthur brings out on page 88, the world was completely different but the one piece of baggage Noah’s family could not leave behind was their sinful nature. We know that we bring this everywhere with us as well because of our fallen, sinful nature as well.
Our outline for tonight’s verses:
Genesis 1–11 (Structure)
a. Noah’s Descendants (Gen 9:18–19)b. Noah’s Drunkenness (Gen 9:20–21)c. Ham’s Offense (Gen 9:22–23)d. Canaan’s Curse (Gen 9:24–27)e. Noah’s Death (Gen 9:28–29)
Shorter verse breakdowns this evening as we dive deeper into these sections
Could someone read Genesis 9:18-19 for us. Thinking logically here, what does verse 20 tell us about our ancestors?
We see that the whole earth was populated from these 3 groups. We see that Ham is the father of Canaan and scholars believe that his descendants also include African groups/peoples. Shem will be the father of Israel and other middle eastern/Asian groups. Japheth represents the “father” of the rest of the world - a pretty big number of people as that would include European peoples.
What we see is that, as MacArthur draws out, it’s nice to know that science agrees with the Bible, but this is not always the case. When science does not agree, it’s ok. We trust in God’s Word and God’s Word tells us that the whole earth was populated through the lines of these 3 people.
*Kathy’s question about earth population before flood: Some speculate that the population was lower than we’d expect due to wars, struggle, disease, wickedness, and murder of children. Others speculate that the population would be in the 500 million - 1 billion range if the growth rate was equal to that of today. Others speculate that it would be more like 5-15 billion assuming the growth rate were higher due to people living longer, having children at older ages, and typically having more kids per couple than couples do today. Pretty wide range!
What we do know is that you go from a lot of people to 8 people and everyone today finds their lineage back to Noah, through one of his 3 sons.
2. Could someone read Genesis 9:20-21 for us? What vocation does Noah pick up after the flood? Do you find this interesting?
Possibly! Noah, as a man of the soil, works the ground. This makes sense as this is what Adam did after the Fall. Just as Adam cared for the soil, Noah does as well. However, instead of producing better vegetation or food, he instead goes after something different. He plants a vineyard. This is interesting!
Why do you think Noah planted a vineyard? Do you think this provided him with an added temptation that a different kind of produce would not have?
Yes. We see in verse 21 that he got drunk on his own wine. A field of potatoes or wheat would have avoided this temptation completely and probably provided better produce. We don’t know the specific details behind why he planted a vineyard and some scholars even question if Noah was aware of the effects of wine. The main point for us to see from Noah’s drunkeness is not so much why Noah did this, but the consequences of doing so for himself and for his family.
Many people today think that actions do not have consequences and that they are free to do whatever their heart desires. What are the consequences for Noah getting drunk in our text? Is there a consequence for himself? Yes, shame. Is there a consequence for others? Yes, they have to act and help him out. Failure to do this results in a curse for future generations.
Actions do have consequences and, as MacArthur points out, we have to keep our guard up even after great victories and successes because that can be whenever the enemy is ready to pounce on us and bring about a time of testing.
3. Could someone read Genesis 9:22-23? What was the appropriate response to Noah’s drunken state on the part of his sons?
They were supposed to go in and cloth him.
What does Ham get wrong in his response to his father’s condition?
He simply goes away and tells his brothers what has happened. He gossips and perhaps even mocked his father. The solution all along was to simply cover him up and leave and Ham did neither. He stood, gazed, and did nothing.
What is God’s response whenever Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden?
He covered them up! What should have been the response to Noah’s sin in our text? Cover him up.
Some speculate that Ham sinned sexually with Noah and that is why his curse is so severe. The Bible doesn’t tell us that. The Hebrew simply reads like it does in the English in that Ham “saw” his father naked.
Why do you think it’s easier for people to gossip and mock others than to help people who are in need?
Because it’s easier to make fun of others than to go the extra mile and assist them. That requires our action and effort.
Thoughts on Ham’s failure in verse 22?
How can we better reflect Shem and Japheth and help others whenever there is a need?
They simply went in and covered their father and left. Sometimes there are people in need around us and all that we need to do is offer a helping hand, pray, or assist them. Often times it’s easier than we think it will be, but it’s easier to play the role of Ham than of Shem and Japheth. Why do you think they did this? Does the Bible speak of children and how they are to respect their parents?
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, because this is right.
The Bible is straightforward that children are to obey, honor, and respect their parents because this is what the Lord has instituted. How have we fallen off as a society in this regard? Do children respect their parents as they should? How can we offer a healthy corrective to this?
Did Shem and Japheth expect a reward or trophy for doing the right thing? They simply honored Noah as he deserved as their father. Should we do the right thing today and expect to be rewarded with a prize? No. We do the right thing because it’s the right thing. If there’s a reward, sweet! If not, it’s ok because we did what we were supposed to do.
4. Could someone read Genesis 9:24-27? Is sin serious?
Yes it is! We see that the sin of Ham effects his descendants and continues to do so today. This is how seriously our sin is in the eyes of God as we know that 1 sin makes us guilty of eternal separation from Him. He takes sin very seriously.
Knowing the rest of our Bible, we know that the Canaanites and Israelites will have many interactions in the generations to come. We know that whenever Israel sends in the spies in Numbers, they will report back by talking about the mighty Canaanites and the people forget this promise. The Lord makes the promise that Canaan will be Shem’s slave and that the Lord Himself has given them this land. The problems for these two groups is found throughout the Bible and it continues today as well as we know that there are numerous problems, battles, and wars taking place in the Middle East at this very moment.
Compare the curse of Ham to the blessing to Shem. Noah says, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem.” Are Shem and his descendants blessed by Noah because of their natural goodness or ability, or because of God’s blessing? It’s always because of God. The awesome reminder of this for us is we know what the New Testament speaks of about our salvation - it’s not because of our works or natural goodness
8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast.
We are saved by grace! It’s due to God’s blessing. MacArthur talks about how this is the reminder to us that the Messiah would come through Shem’s line and that He would fulfill the promise to bless all the nations of the earth (even Canaan and the descendants of Ham)
3 I will bless those who bless you, I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.
5. Could someone read Genesis 9:28-29? How do you think Noah’s 350 years after the flood compared to his 600 before the flood/on the Ark?
Pg. 93: Why do some people take pleasure in their sins today?
Because people would rather live in sin and comfort than repent and get right with the Lord and others!
Sneak peak for Sunday’s message: Whenever there is a problem, as MacArthur says, we are supposed to address it! But we do so discreetly and in private and with much prayer and love as Matthew 18:15-18 tells us.
Our sins have consequences that impact other people - maybe even future generations! Is this fair?
Adam’s sin brought consequences that have been felt in every generation since. Jesus’ victory for us on the cross brings about rewards for each and every generation since! Would we say that the cross is fair and what we deserve? Absolutely not - it is God’s incredible grace and mercy on full display. The good news is that even though something like this might not seem fair, there is always a chance to repent and be reconciled to God. Even the Canaanites have this opportunity today through the cross of Christ.
What is a practical way to “cover” someone else’s shame?
To take the high road and not resort to name-calling, fighting fire with fire, or anything like that. To care about the person and to love them as Christ loves us!