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 ESV
Noah is remembered for building the ark but the pronouncement of his curse over Ham’s descendants is made to be a footnote. The curse was not made against Ham though he was the one who had reveled in his father’s nakedness. The curse was made against Ham’s youngest son who, it is believed, already exhibited some of the same sinful bents as his father. The sins of the fathers were being visited on the next generation. Consequences were seen in the moral decay of this young son and all sons to follow.
Noah was God’s mouthpiece to predict the future of Canaan’s descendants. They would be vile people, the ones the Israelites would have to conquer to enter the Promised Land. Their morality would be resemblant to Ham’s sinful bent but even more wicked.
Sometimes, when all I see is depravity, I feel overwhelmed. To cope, I tell myself that I’m overreacting Perhaps I am not! Seeds of depravity in one generation will bear fruit in the next. It may take several hundred years to see the full effects so if I am wise, I won’t be fooled by something that is hardly noticeable. Even what is subtle should send me to my knees because God instituted a ‘sowing and reaping world.’ Seeds mature and the mature fruit is staggering in size compared to its origins.
A toddler struggles with lying and lives in a home with no training. He will grow up to be crafty and manipulative in business. Years later, as an old man, he will be in full moral decay and bear 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.”
A young girl who suffers injustice is eaten alive by the need for others to pay for their sins. She grows up to become a woman who points out the flaws of almost everyone around her. Years later, as an old woman, she is alone, mostly friendless, and wonders why she fails to have the admiration she feels she deserves. It will be said of her, “Avoid her! She doesn’t like anyone!”
“Be hard on sin,” Noah would tell us today. We should weed the garden of iniquity when weeds are small.
Lord, you want me to learn from history. Were it not for your grace, our future inheritances might resemble the likes of the Canaanites! May it not be. Amen