Will you turn in your Bibles tonight to the book of Genesis chapter nine? I heard a story about three men who were arguing about which job profession was the oldest and the one was a doctor, a surgeon, who said, 'Well, you know the Bible talks about God carving a rib out of Adam to make Eve.' So he said, 'My profession would be the oldest in history.' A friend of his who was standing nearby was an engineer and he said, 'Well, you know, the Bible also says that God, in six days, created order out of chaos and made the world. That, my friend, is the job of an engineer.' The third guy standing by was a politician. And he smiled real big and said, 'Ah! But who created the chaos?'
Politicians get their fair or unfair share of jokes and most people today seem to have an avid dislike and distrust for human government. We are fed up, many of us, with those who run for office and make promises and then don't fulfill them. Or do fulfill the promises we wish they wouldn't. But God did invent human government and here we see in Genesis 9, God establishing for the very first time, the authority for man to govern himself. That's implied in our text. There were only eight people that made it onto and out of the ark: Noah, his wife, three sons and their corresponding wives. And life started out simple but rules had to be established early on in order that, once those eight people reach a level of many people and a society, it could function smoothly. And we're going to see that tonight in our study.
If I were to divide up the chapter into three sections, I would do it: the survival of Noah (verses 1-19), the sin of Noah (21 and 22), and then finally, the sons of Noah (23 through 29). That's how the chapter's sort of divided up and laid out for us but you just have to think of what it was like when they got off that ark and God made a covenant with them. How, I guess, basic and simple life was. Pretty basic. Not a whole lot of needs at that point. They needed a place to rest, they needed clothing, they probably brought that on the ark. It's interesting in the year 1900, a survey was conducted of what people believed they needed or had to have for life to be comfortable, for them to feel contented. And most people in our culture could name 72 things that they needed. 72 needs in life. Fifty years later, 1950, Americans could name about 500 things they needed. Now I wonder what it is today—what we say we need. 'Well, I need my laptop. And I have to have my cell phone. And WiFi. How comes you guys don't have WiFi?' But those eight people getting out of the ark had to experience life at the basics. And really, the Bible says, there's really two needs that we have. In 1 Timothy 6, "having food and clothing, with these things we will be content." And really that's all they had. They got out of the ark, it was very simple, the waters abated, and they're trusting God now completely in this brand new relationship.
There are, in chapter nine, four instructions that God gives to Noah and his sons. These four instructions about their life are the kind of instructions that would be permanent instructions. That is, all of Noah's progeny, his ancestors or those that would come from him, all people at all times in all places have these same basic instructions by God. Number one, and that is in verse one, that the human life is to be perpetuated. Life is to be perpetuated. Notice the command, it's very similar to that what God gave to Adam. "So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth." God had said that to Adam and Eve now here, twice in this chapter, God says the same thing. Life is to be perpetuated. Now notice, God blessed. God loves to bless. He loves it. God is the giver of good things and He loves to give good gifts to His children, His kids. One of those beautiful blessings of God is children. You see, children, according to God, aren't a curse; they're a blessing.
That beautiful psalm, Psalm 127, children are a "heritage from the Lord." The fruit of the womb is His reward. Now God said, be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth. I think we've done that. We've done a pretty good job of it, actually. Today there are 6.7 billion people on earth. We've filled it. It took from Noah's day to the year 1804 to produce 1 billion people on earth. But you can see that exponentially that thing's going to take a little bit of time to reach 2 billion. In fact, it was1927 where we were able on earth to produce 2 billion people. 1960, 3 billion. 1975, 4 billion, 1988, 5 billion, and now today, 6.7 billion people. So we have been fruitful, we have multiplied, and we have filled the earth. In fact, it is becoming, in some places, a real problem to maintain and sustain those people that are on the earth.
But having said that, let me encourage you. This world needs the kind of children that you can produce. Christian children—those with the worldview of Christ. Truth. And so whether you have your own kids or you adopt, your influence in a young life set lose in this world is so meaningful. Fill the earth with those kind of children; turn them loose and watch what God can do. So that's the first instruction. That life ought to be perpetuated.
Now keep that in mind because we're going to get to a story next time, in chapter eleven, where rather than filling the earth, they seem to congregate in one place. Instead of moving out toward different regions, they stay in one place, the land of Shinar, and there in Shinar, they congregate and they build a tower to reach heaven. We'll talk about that next time, but that was a problem that, at this time, they stayed in one place.
Here's the second instruction: that life ought to be prolonged. Not just perpetuated, but prolonged. Verse two: "And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand." Or, better yet, 'I have delivered them into your hand.' I have delivered them, or I have granted, or I have bestowed them to you. And He goes on, "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have you given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood."
Notice in verse two, four categories. Four categories of kinds of life and four different places. He was covering it all. He says, every beast on the earth, every bird of the air, all that move on the earth, that's three, and all of the fish that are in the sea. So God covers all of life and basically tells mankind, 'You are to have dominion over all other life.' Contrary to what you're fed today, that all forms of life, including human, are really all the same. You have a soul; your dog has a soul; fish have a soul. And it's all biological life, period. No. According to God, early on it was established that yes, there's life on earth, but you are the crowning creation made in the image of God. Your dog is not made in the image of God. Your cat is not made in the image of God. You and you alone are made in God's image. Thus, in that image, you have dominion and domination over all that is on the earth.
We read in verse two, "the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth." I was watching last week a National Geographic TV special and they talked about how animals, when they come in contact with man for the most part, are afraid of man. And they sighted a rhinoceros—seven tons. Seven ton beast could take a truck, SUV, and toss it around like a toy. But basically, a rhino is shy and when sees a man, it will run away unless provoked. If you get in their space, if you provoke, they will attack. But it's not their nature. Their nature is to run. To be shy. To retreat. So God says the fear of you, the dread of you, shall be on every beast, etcetera.
You can see there would be a problem in the animal kingdom. Reproduction is quick, maturity is rapid, so animals could quickly, easily overrun the world and overpopulate in comparison to human beings. So God instilled a dread, a basic fear of mankind, in the animal world. And it's a good thing because now mankind is able to hunt them, kill them, and eat them. And so for the sake of the survival of all of those species that would be needed. Verse three: "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs."
Prior to the flood, man was a vegetarian. Chapter 1:29, God declares, 'I've given you every herb that has seed, every plant and tree is for food for you.' So prior to this, prior to this command, prior to the flood, mankind would go out and eat berries and nuts and plants, etcetera. And though God didn't give a specific prohibition against eating meat—He just said, eat the plants—here God says, eat it all. Plants and animals. Our forebears, Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, and the rest of the gang before Noah, they were vegetarians, but that's not the way we were designed. Your mouth reveals that God designed the kind of teeth that are for tearing and chewing meat. Now some people try to equate being spiritual with your diet. So if you're really holy, you'll be a vegetarian and you'll have strict dietary rules because that's what holy people do. And that was a huge deal when I was growing up in the 70s and before that in California. And I remember I was a brand-new believer. I was living down at the beach; I was out in the front yard enjoying a beautiful day and I looked up and I saw a guy in a white robe with a Bible. Long hair, white robe, and the sun was behind him. And so it was like an apparition. I thought, 'Wow! It's the Lord!' That was my first thought: 'This is Jesus. Wow!' Until he talked. He said, 'Are you a believer?' Because I had my Bible out. I said, 'I am, I believe in Jesus!' And I'm still looking at him like, 'Would that be you?' And then he said, 'Do you eat meat?'
He must have seen the McDonald's wrapper next to the Bible. I said, 'Well, I just had a Big Mac.' And he proceeded to give me a tongue-lashing about eating meat and how ungodly I was and God made us not to eat meat, etcetera. He must have never read this, where God gives the mandate to survive on the proteins, the enzymes, of the animal kingdom. So now, though Cain was a farmer and Abel was a shepherd, now Noah and his boys, they're going to be hunters. And they're allowed to do that—that is part of the mandate. Except, verse four: "But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood." So God says, eat anything you want, but now here's one restriction. And it's sort of like the restriction that God gave to Adam and Eve in the Garden. Remember the restriction? You can eat from any tree you want, except for one. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil that's in the midst of the Garden. 'You shall not eat, for in the day that you eat, you will surely die.' That was the one exception. God allows Noah, the rest of his family, to have whatever they want, except, don't eat the blood.
Why is that? Because according to this and according to other Scriptures which I'll mention in a moment, eating blood of an animal is like eating an animal alive because the life source of an animal is the blood. When we get to Leviticus, it's expanded a little bit. God says, 'The life of the flesh is in the blood and with the blood, you will make atonement.' Atonement for your souls. So there is not just a health regulation, but some spiritual connotation attached. That just as the blood is used for atonement and speaks of life and one day your Savior will shed His blood, blood, the source of life, is to be considered sacred. I'm amazed at what people will eat. I've traveled different parts of the world and I don't get eating worms. I've done it; I didn't know I was doing it. I ate a little burger, I thought, 'Cool, hamburger.' It was in the Philippines, I ate it, tasted really bad, I got sick. Next day I found out why. Worm meat. So a McWormburger. Could never do that again—knowingly.
People eat spiders, bugs. I was in China and they served sparrow, duck feet, shark fin soup, turtle. I remember sitting at a table and there was this huge turtle shell and I just looked at it and then our host pulled it off and revealed these little chunks of meat and everything that came to the table I said, 'What is this?' And they'd say, 'This is sparrow.' 'What's this?' 'This is turtle.' Finally, and I was with Chuck Smith at the time, Chuck turned to me and goes, 'Stop asking what it is. Just eat it. Eat what's in front of you—don't ask any questions.'
Now over in Scotland and England they have a delicacy called blood pudding. They take blood of an animal and they boil it with a filler until it congeals. And with that gelatin, they make a sausage called blood pudding. I could never, ever… now I eat just about anything. I've never eaten that. Because even looking at it, even if it ever tempted me to look delicious, here it is: 'Don't eat blood.'
We get to the New Testament and Jesus will tell us in Mark 7, 'It's not what goes into a man that defiles him, it's what comes out from his heart that defiles him.' It is interesting, though, in Acts 10, remember Peter's up on the rooftop at Joppa and he gets that vision? And in the vision he sees all of the un-kosher animals let down in a huge linen sheet from heaven. And God speaks: 'Peter? Get up. Kill. And eat.' And Peter, being the submissive one that he is, said, 'Not so, Lord! I've never eaten anything unclean.' When we get to the fifteenth chapter of Acts, the only stipulation from the law of Moses passed on to the church is this: "No blood." Remember the letter that was written to the Gentiles? Abstain from immorality, from things offered to idols, from those things that are strangled and from blood. You don't want to offend your Jewish brethren. If you do these things, you do well.
So of all the Laws of Moses, it wasn't keeping the Saturday Sabbath, it was no blood. God says the life is in the blood, don't eat that. Verse five: "Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning." Now here's the third instruction: life should be protected, not just perpetuated, not just prolonged by eating animals, but life should be protected. "I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man's brother I will require the life of man. 'Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man.'"
Up to this point, man did not have a good track record in caring for one another. Just go back and review some of the history we've already covered. Cain murders his brother Abel. Lamech murdered a young man for injuring him. Chapter six, violence covered the whole earth. So up to this point, man did not have a good history or track record in maintaining caring, loving relationships because they became so violent that God had to destroy the whole earth. Here He says, "Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed."
What is God doing? Well just as God put the fear of man into animals, God is now putting the fear of God into man. If you murder, you will be killed. Now according to two great scholars, Kyle and Delitch, this command, according to the ways it's stated in Hebrew, this command is the basis for human government. Human government, according to most scholars, and the right, the authority from God, to exercise capital punishment go hand in hand. In fact, it's James Montgomery Boyce, great commentator, in his little book, says, "The test of human government is the test of capital punishment." Part in parcel; one and the same. God establishes human government; that is, the right, the mandate, the authority from heaven given to man to oversee the culture and the society with power and with authority.
Governments have power. Laws are upheld by power. If you go, 'I don't know if I agree with that,' or 'I don't know if I like that,' well, try breaking the law when you go home tonight. Don't go the speed limit. Now for some of you, that's not a problem. You'll do it. You might get a ticket and you might say, 'Well, I don't believe in human government. I'm not going to pay the ticket.' Alright, no problem—today. But wait awhile. They'll catch up. Or refuse to pay your income tax. 'I don't believe in paying taxes. They use some of the taxes to build nuclear weapons!' So don't pay. But just wait; you won't have any problems today, but wait awhile. The IRS, as it says in Romans, attends continually to getting your tax dollars. And they will use the authority and even the force by putting you in jail if need be, as punishment.
This then, is the basis and the test of human government. This week we saw that test. We saw this carried out, John Alan Muhammed, the Washington DC, Virginia, sniper who called ten innocent people, was put to death just the other evening. Lethal injection. Because he took innocent life and our society passed the test. His life should be taken. Now some people will resist, in fact, there were protestors out on the little grassy area across from where he was executed. And they protested this and they said they did it for religious reasons, that 'We're sorry for the victims and we're sorry for the families but we shouldn't take another life.' And what people will say, when it comes to capital punishment, though I think you know where I come from, I disagree on biblical reasons, they will protest saying, 'Well, capital punishment never will deter people from committing the crime.' I ask you this, does any punishment deter people from committing a crime? Does getting a traffic ticket deter you from going over the speed limit? No, it doesn't! People will still break it, knowing that they may be fined. Or there may be punishment. But they still do it. But the point is that you honor the law and you honor the society that brings that law.
And ultimately you honor God who gave that law. And here's why: God said, 'You can eat any animal; you can kill any animal. That's now permissible. But if any animal kills you, or if a man kills you, because you're in the image of God not the animals—different rules.' For that reason alone. You're in the image of God; I am in the image of God. Animals are not in the image of God. In fact, we're going to get to an interesting text, Exodus chapter 21 and part of that chapter goes like this. If you own an ox—how many of you own an ox? OK. Dave, you raised your hand? You actually own an ox? OK. He's just kidding. If you owned an ox and your ox gored your neighbor, you take the ox and you kill the ox and you pay the people that it gored. But you as an owner are acquitted because you can't be in charge of the wild nature of an animal. An animal might feel encroached upon like that rhino and would attack. But if your ox had a reputation for goring your neighbors and you knew about it in advance and you didn't do anything to curtail it, then if your ox gores your neighbor and your neighbor dies, you as the owner will be killed. Because it's your responsibility. And the ox will be killed as well--- stoned to death.
So God says, 'Animals can be killed for food. But people cannot be killed and if they're killed by humans or animals, their blood must be exacted from them.' This whole concept is something not only in the Old Testament, but I believe it's in the New Testament. Because I know some of you are thinking, 'Oh, that's just Old Covenant.' No, it's not. Paul the apostle, when he stood before the Roman government, and there was all of those different trials with Felix, Festus, Agrippa, he finally said, 'Look. If I have committed any crime worthy of death then execute me.' Now here's a Christian apostle willing to die himself if they could prove any kind of charge worthy of the death penalty. He said, 'Kill me. If you can prove that I've done something worthy of death, take my life.' Also, there's Romans 13, where Paul says the government bears the sword of execution to enforce the law.
I think it's probably good to turn to Romans 13 just to look at the delicate balance between love and forgiveness and capital punishment. Because those again that will espouse capital punishment will say, 'Well, shouldn't we love and shouldn't we forgive?' Yes. You should personally and you should personally forgive and you should never personally exact vengeance for somebody who has done something. But what about a culture? What about a society? Go back to chapter 12 of Romans and look at verse 17: Paul says, "Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men." Boy, am I glad that's there. I'm so glad it says, 'if it's possible.' Because you know what? Sometimes it's not possible. You want to make peace; they don't. You try; they don't want to talk. You go out of your way; they want nothing to do with it. They stew in it. But as much as you can, live at peace with all men. "Beloved, do not avenge yourselves." This is personal. "But rather give place to wrath; for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord."
The question is: how will the Lord repay? The answer is found as we read on in Romans 13: by the sword of authority given to human government. That's how. Did you know that when Roman governors were sworn in, they were each given a sword as the authority to bring all of Roman law to bear on the citizenry. Even capital punishment. Every new governor was given a brand new sword. So he says, continuing in verse 20, "Therefore if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Now here it is: "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God."
Now when Paul wrote that, who was in charge? Rome. Who was in charge in Rome? Caesar Nero. A horrible dictator. And yet here's Paul saying, 'God established human government and every authority that exists, exists from God.' That's part of His sovereign plan. "Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works [that is, usually], but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God's minister." Isn't that interesting? Have you ever thought of government officials as being in the ministry? Well they are. They're God's minister to you for good. "But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain." That was that sword of authority which meant capital punishment, execution. "For he is God's minister, an avenger." An avenger. Remember what we read in chapter 12? "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay." How will God do it? By His minister. An avenger who will take vengeance. "To execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers." I have a hard time with that one. But it's there. I don't like to think of the IRS as God's ministers. But they're there. It's there.
And it says: "They attend continually to this very thing." And boy, do they. So you render to those to whom it is due. So that is the New Testament's take on human government established in the Old Testament. Part and parcel of capital punishment being the test of using the authority that God gave.
Verse 7: "And as for you, be fruitful and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth and multiply in it." I find something to be sad and very, very interesting at the same time. It seems that those people that protest against capital punishment are the very same people who support abortion. Now, here God says, "As for you, be fruitful and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth." Abortion would be the very thing that goes against being fruitful and multiplying and filling the earth. So it's interesting. No capital punishment. They'll be out there with banners—it's wrong; it's evil. But the same time, they have no conscience at all in killing babies in a womb. I want you to think of this. For the last 200 years, ever since the Revolutionary War in our country, 1.2 million military personnel have been killed. We honored a few of them tonight who weren't killed but who fought in our midst and they deserve that honor. 1.2 million military personnel, men and women, since the Revolutionary War for the last 200 years have been killed. Every year in America, 1.6 million babies are aborted. Every year. I'm not talking 200 years—every single year. God says children are a blessing. Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth. Fill the earth; multiply in it.
Now here's the fourth instruction given in this chapter to Noah. Instructions that are to be perpetual and permanent ordinance for all. And that is, that life ought to be a partnership. Life ought to be a partnership. God calls it a covenant. I'm going to establish a covenant between Me and between you. "Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying: "And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant." You see that little word 'behold'? Don't write that off as some little holy sounding Bible word. Oh, it sounds so holy—behold. Behold is a word when translated is meant to be an attention-getter. As if to say, 'Everything I'm about to tell you is really important.' "Behold," God says, or 'Hey, check this out,' you could translate it. "I will establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth."
A covenant. A basis by which holy God and sinful man can have some sort of agreement and relationship. Now the concept of a covenant is all-important. Later on, God will establish another covenant with Abraham and He'll say, 'The land of Canaan I've given to you and your descendants forever after you. It's yours. That's my covenant with you.' Still later on, God will make another covenant with Moses and the people of Israel—the covenant of the Law. 'Keep this law and I'll bless you this way.' All of those are agreements, covenants. Now a covenant is the basis of a relationship. See here's the problem. How is it possible for holy God and sinful man to ever get together? Infinite God, finite man—what basis could there ever be for them to hang out and have fellowship? Only on the basis of a covenant, an agreement, a stipulated agreement where God makes promises.
In the Bible, there's two kinds of covenants. It's divided into two classes. A conditional covenant and an unconditional covenant. An unconditional, or a unilateral covenant, is where God makes a promise or gives a declaration, says, 'I'm going to do this period. This is going to happen period. I will do something period.' A conditional covenant is when God has His part, man has his part. 'You keep these conditions and if you keep them, then I will do this or that.' In the Garden of Eden, there is what theologians call the Edenic covenant. Man occupying the garden, the Garden of Eden, the Edenic covenant. What kind of covenant was it? Conditional. 'Hey, have fun. Walk around. Cruise around. Eat anything you want except don't eat that tree.' That was the only condition. Pretty easy! Very basic condition. They blew it. They broke the condition—the covenant was broken.
In chapter 12, God's going to make a covenant with Abraham. Five times God will say, 'I will do this. I will do that. I will bless you. I will multiply you. I will give you this land.' What kind of a covenant is that? Unconditional. He doesn't say, 'If you're perfect and upright and holy and everybody perfectly obeys, then I'll give you this land.' God just says, 'You know what? There's a portion of land I'm going to give to Abraham and to his descendants forever.' Period—unconditional. We get to the covenant of the Law of Moses. Conditional. 'Make these sacrifices, obey these things, and I'll bless you; I'll do this and that.' That covenant failed. Now why did it fail? Did it fail because God failed? No, it failed because man failed. Man was unable to keep it. God saw it from the beginning.
So that covenant, the covenant of the Law of Moses, the prophet Jeremiah is told by God the best news ever in the Old Testament, the old covenant. All of the covenants that we're going to be reading about before we get to Matthew are the old covenant. But there's a hint of a new one in Jeremiah 31. God says, 'The days are coming, saith the Lord. When I will make a new covenant, not the law written on stone but written on your hearts.' Something internal not external. Predicated not upon man's ability to keep it, but predicated upon God's ability through Christ to give it. That's an unconditional covenant. The new covenant. And we'll read about that in the gospel of John coming up in verse 17 of chapter 1: "For the law came by Moses but grace and truth [that's the new covenant] came by Jesus Christ." So this is the beginning of the covenant that God makes with Noah.
Verse 11, He says: "Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said: "This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud."
Before the flood, there weren't rainbows. Because there wasn't rain. A mist went up from the earth and watered the earth. Subterranean sources of water brought rivers to the surface, they watered the earth. But then God unleashed the deep, as we read about, and the clouds and the rain from heaven. All of it together flooded the earth and now we have the phenomenon that we still see today whenever there is rain or water in the atmosphere and the sunlight filtering through the moistures, the droplets suspended in the air, hits the water droplet, it refracts the bright white sunlight into the different colors and you see red and yellow and green and purple. And isn't it amazing? It's so simple but we still gawk at rainbows. We go, 'Look! Stop! Pull over. Pull over the car, I know we'll be late, but look at that.' Dude, it's been going on forever! But it's still cool, right? It's beautiful. But it's more than that. That simple phenomena is a statement of God. The word in Hebrew is keset or bow. It's the same word in the Old Testament for battle bow, where you'd have a bow and arrow in battle and you'd bend the bow and you shoot the arrow.
What I believe God is saying is, 'Here's My bow. I'm hanging My bow in the clouds. I'm putting it away. My bow is not used for judgment any longer; I'm hanging that implement up. And now when you see My bow hung up in the clouds, it's a statement of not judgment or war but peace.' Ok. Here's proof that it couldn't be a local flood, but it had to be a universal flood. Because God said, 'Here's my covenant. Every time you see that rainbow, I'll never flood the earth.' If it were a local flood that happened, then God was a big liar. Because there have been a lot of local floods every year around the world generation after generation. It was a universal flood, as we've already gone through the evidence of that, and God says, 'I'll never let that happen again.'
There will be local floods; there will be catastrophes. The sun and the rain shall fall on the just and the unjust, Jesus will tell us. But never again a flood that will destroy all of life. Now God will destroy all of life, He will uncreate what He has created in a catastrophe of fire—but never again by water. Thirteen: "I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it." I like that. Not only do you and I get off on rainbows—God does. 'Look at that. That's cool! I made that. I did that. And I remember what that means.'
"And I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth. And God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth. Now the sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And Ham was the father of Canaan." Now all of these guys, these sons, had their own children. But Canaan is especially mentioned. For one reason, for sure, but perhaps for more. One reason is that, in a few verses you're going to read that God will curse the son of Ham, Canaan. And he will be subservient to these other guys because of something Ham does. Or it could be also that Canaan is mentioned because, though the information isn't given, he was already known with a reputation. He was already notorious, so that anybody who was from around those parts or knew that history much closer to its writing than we, would have heard of Canaan already and he was already doing things that demanded a certain kind of reputation. So he's the father of Canaan.
"These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated." We'll get more into that next week. "And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent." Before we get into that, let me just say that of all of these three lines that we read, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And we'll read about their lineage next week and what happened to these people and where they settled and how the earth was populated, the table of nations in chapter ten. Though God is interested in all of them and they're all part of God's plan, the one that is central to God's plan is Shem. From Shem, Abraham will come. From Shem, the nation of Israel will come. From Shem, the Deliverer, Messiah, Christ will come. The One predicted in chapter 3 verse 15 that will crush the head of the serpent. So God will narrow it down and be very interested in the Shemites, or we would say, Semites. You've heard the term semitic or anti-semitic? It's from the word 'Shem.'
"So Noah planted a vineyard." And this is odd; this is weird. "Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent." I don't know why, and I'm not going to pretend to know why, and I'm not going to read anything else into it that really isn't there. But the guy got drunk, took out all of his clothes, and passed out. That's weird. His sin wasn't that he drank wine. His sin was that he drank too much wine—in excess. Drunkenness is a sin. Anything that gives you an altered state of consciousness is a sin. "Be not drunk with wine but be filled with the Holy Ghost," the Bible tells us. So his sin was excess—he got drunk. Tore off all of his clothes and passed out. OK, watch what happens: "And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father's nakedness."
Just a thought I want to plant in your mind. Do you find it interesting that Adam and Eve and Noah both sinned in the area of food? Adam and Eve took that forbidden fruit; Noah intakes this wine and gets drunk with it. It's just interesting that the very thing God gave to bless became a curse. It was used unlawfully and here, in excess. It's hard for us to understand this. We in our modern culture with every body part exposed because it's cool and fashionable and everybody does it and it's on mainstream television throughout the night. It's hard for us to get this. So he saw his father naked—so what? The shame of having a father of a family uncovered in that culture, where nakedness was seen as vulnerability and to view it was one thing. That was an accident. But to tell others about it, to gossip about it: 'Hey, let me tell you what I found out about our dad. Dude, he got drunk, stripped off all of his clothes, and passed out!' And the way it's written seems to be that he's gloating in it. Now some scholars believe that Ham was trying to assume responsibility of the father, sort of take over the headship by finding a fault with the leader of the family and trying to usurp the authority by spreading this bad news.
His two brothers did it right. They found out the information, they walked in backwards, they covered him up. It was a sign of respect. "So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him. Then he said [now, notice this]: Cursed be Canaan." Hmm. Why not cursed be Ham? Ham did it; Canaan didn't do it. "Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants he shall be to his brethren." Number one, it's possible that Canaan was mentioned because he had a bad reputation that he also committed some kind of vulgar act. We don't know that, the information isn't here, so I can't assume that but it is possible. Number two, it could be possible that Noah knew the reputation of Canaan, saw the reputation of Canaan, and made a prophecy, a prediction, based upon knowing the character of this young man, Canaan of what is going to happen to him. You know what it's like? When you see certain kids of friends of yours or people that you know and you see a certain son have an attitude problem and you just look at that kid and you predict, 'He's gonna be trouble. I predict it. I see the way he handles authority. I see and hear his attitude. He's destined for problems.' It could be that. Or simply, it could be this: 'You, Ham, my son, did this. Your son is also going to bring shame to your family.' Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, that old law seen intact even way back.
It is true that Canaan, who became the father of the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Jebusites, etcetera, was the very place that God told Abraham his descendants would have forever. 'This is yours. This land is yours and your children and children's children forever.' It was the land of Canaan. How was this fulfilled? Well, there's several stories. I'll give you one. In Joshua 9, when Joshua enters the land of Canaan, there's a group of Canaanites called Gibeonites. They dress up and they put on tattered clothes and they get old, moldy bread and stale wine and they just go a couple miles over the hill to the encampment of Israel but they say, 'Boy, we're from a far away place and we've been traveling for like, months, and we heard about you guys.' So Joshua makes a covenant with the Gibeonites, not knowing that the Gibeonites were Canaanites, because God said, 'Kill every Canaanite when you get in the land.' The Gibeonites said, 'Uh, let's figure this out.' So the Gibeonites lied, Joshua made a covenant with them but later found out that the Gibeonites lied to him so he said, 'Ok, you know, I can't kill you. I made a covenant with you. God told me not to make a covenant with the people of the land and I thought you weren't of this land but you are. So now you're cursed. You will now be our slaves bearing our wood, bearing our water, for the tabernacle of God perpetually from generation to generation.' And they did. Even into the New Testament the remnants of the Canaanite population became servants.
Now I've got to bring something else up before we quickly move on and close. "And he said: Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem, and may Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and may he dwell in the tents of Shem; and may Canaan be his servant. And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years. So all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years; and he died." There is some interesting stuff I want to talk a little bit about next week about Ham. But all of chapter ten could be entitled, 'My Three Sons.' It's all about how the peoples of the world were populated from Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And so I'll tie a few loose ends together next time.