Genesis 9-11 and Psalm 4
The Flood is now over. Noah and his family begin their “new normal” life, so Noah plants a vineyard and gets carried away with drinking wine to excess. He falls asleep uncovered in his tent, drunk from the wine. When his son Ham sees this, he goes and tells his brothers rather than simply taking action and covering his father. Noah is irate! “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.” Ham, the father of Canaan, becomes the clan that the Israelites will clash with over and over again including the Philistines, Hittites, Amorites, etc.
God rewards Noah by providing everything for his family. “Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything” (9:3).
Covenant with Noah (Noaic Covenant)
God establishes a covenant, a two-sided agreement, with Noah: “I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth” (Genesis 9:11). As a reminder, “Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on earth” (9:16). The rainbow now has special meaning, not just a marvel of nature to enjoy as a common event–the rainbow reaffirms the covenant. I can imagine the significance of this statement to Noah’s family, especially the first time it rained, they probably panicked! Here we go again! But the rain stopped and the rainbow was seen and they remembered. Calm down kids.
Sin still existed in the hearts of mankind. They began to grow in numbers and the corrupt human nature started to reveal itself in their hearts as they began to build the Tower of Babel. “Come let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other” (Genesis 11:7). It seems this time God was not going to allow mankind to take the path prior to The Flood by intervening early. He separated the people groups by creating different languages which divided them and ultimately caused the project to fail as people couldn’t understand each other. The result: they scattered to various parts of the world.
It’s an odd explanation of how languages entered the world, but the concept of man’s pride is certainly not new. How many times does our selfish pride cause us to stumble? Ok, I’ll be real, how many times have I allowed my pride to make me stumble? Too many. Even today I have to wonder if I’m taking on way too many projects because I think I can work my way out of problems. I pray this is not the case, but I have to consider the possibility. Lord, don’t let pride overtake me! I see these stories and I don’t want to repeat past mistakes!
Interesting note: Genesis 11:10-26 traces the lineage of Abram (Abraham) back to Shem.
One of the other scriptures referenced today was Psalm 4. I would love to set this to modern language and music! It’s only eight verses.
Tremble and do not sin;
when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.
Be silent. Listen for the Lord. He is there, “for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
Thoughts about serving others
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Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.