When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.” Genesis 9:24-25
Noah is remembered for building the ark but perhaps his greatest moment was the pronouncement of this curse over Ham’s descendants. Just 24 hours earlier, he had been drunk with wine. At this moment, he was filled with the Holy Spirit.
The curse was not made against Ham, per se, the one who had reveled in his father’s nakedness. The curse was against Ham’s youngest son who, it is believed, already exhibited some of the same sinful bents of his father. The sins of the fathers were being visited on the next generation. Ham sinned as a son and was punished in the moral decay of his own youngest son.
Noah was God’s mouthpiece in predicting the future profile of Canaan’s descendants. They would indeed be vile people, the ones the Israelites would have to conquer as they entered the Promised Land. Their morality would be like Ham’s sinful bent, only far more exaggerated. Their sin would reach its height during Abraham’s time.
Sometimes, when all I see is a seed of sinfulness, I can tell myself I’m overreacting to be concerned. I am not! Seeds bear fruit. Nothing stays neutral within family lines. It may take several hundred years to see the full effect of unrighteousness. I cannot be fooled by the appearance of something small and seemingly insignificant. A seed of unrighteousness should send me to my knees whether that seed is in me or in someone close to me. One thing is sure; God instituted a sowing and reaping world. Seeds mature and bear fruit. Nothing stays neutral.
A toddler struggles with lying. He grows up. As a young man in business, he is crafty and manipulative. Years later, as an old man, he is in full moral decay and bears the shame of disrespect. A lifetime of deceit will have borne its fruit. It will be said, “I can’t trust a word he says.”
One of John Piper’s most famous sermons from Romans is called, “Kill Your Sin!” He is animated, agitated, and passionate about taking the word of God and plunging it into my own sin, even young sin that has not progressed very far. Yet!
“Be hard on sin,” Noah would tell me today. Oh, but for the grace of God could our inheritance be the likes of Canaanites!
Help me love Your Word more and hate my sin more. Amen