Summary: Noah gets drunk and gets naked in his tent. He behaves badly. He fails in terms of his witness to his family. He fails God in that he’s way out of control. BUT IT IS HAM’S DISRESPECT, NOT NOAH’S FAILURES THAT FEATURE IN THIS STORY.
Genesis 9 – Part 5 – BUT MY FATHER DESERVES MY DISRESPECT!
So here’s the story again - Noah gets drunk and gets naked in his tent. He behaves badly. He fails in terms of his witness to his family. He fails God in that he’s way out of control.
BUT IT IS HAM’S DISRESPECT, NOT NOAH’S FAILURES THAT FEATURE IN THIS STORY. BUT THE BIG SIN IN THIS PASSAGE CENTRES AROUND A SON’S DISRESPECT FOR HIS FATHER, NOT THE FATHER’S FAILURES. What? Am I supposed to respect my father, when he behaves like a moron?
Ham, Noah’s son treated his father with scorn rather than the respect he deserved. And yes, HE DID DESERVE RESPECT. I mean, the man was responsible for saving the lives of his family! That should count for something! If nothing else, Ham in some way should have felt obligated to give respect to his father. Maybe he resented that obligation and was looking for a way to discredit his father. Who knows?
Ham obviously didn’t try to cover his father when he lay naked in his tent. He just told his brothers about his father’s state of drunkenness and nakedness. Somehow, he took pleasure in seeing his father in this inebriated and embarrassing state. I have seen worse in the Church. No not drunkenness and people running around naked but children who show such disrespect in the way in which they speak about their father. The Bible calls this a serious sin! I should know. I am guilty of this sin myself.
Shem and Japheth didn’t take part in Ham’s disrespectful behaviour. They covered their father's nakedness. They actually went to great pains not to look at him naked.
SO WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL? HAM DIDN’T COVER HIS FATHERS NAKEDNESS. SO HE MADE A JOKE ABOUT IT TO HIS BROTHERS. SO WHAT?
Today, we have watered down respect for our parents. We don’t see what Ham did as all that significant. Far worse things have been done. But perhaps we need to reassess our own attitudes. Ham dishonoured his father! His disrespect, scorn and contempt was not something we can simply pass over. The Bible regards honouring parents as important. DISHONOURING THEM IS ALWAYS A SERIOUS SIN!
The relationship we can have with God as our father is often nurtured by the attitudes and response we show to our parents, EVEN WHEN THEY GET THINGS WRONG.
Deuteronomy 27:16 (NLT) says “‘Cursed is anyone who dishonours father or mother.’ And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’” It doesn’t add “only when we think they have got it all together.”
What about me? Did I honour my Dad? I didn’t like him much. He also drank too much alcohol and behaved badly. I guess I loved him in a funny, distant kind of way, but I did not respect him. I have spoken against him. He wasn’t a good father to me, but then again I chose not to be a son to him. Sometimes I was so concerned about his failures that I missed what was going on in my life and with my attitudes. I missed out on so much he had to offer because I stereotyped him as being weak and having nothing that I would be interested in. I paid the penalty of not gaining anything from the relationship because of the decisions I made to avoid him. That was a curse that was realised too late.