A Hangover, a Curse, & a Savior
The Bible is a very strange Book - that's actually one of the signs that it's divinely inspired. Had it been easy to comprehend by finite minds, it wouldn't be worth dying for. One of the factors that make it a strange Book is that it contains peculiar stories; stories that make you shudder, become breathless, and change you all at once. There are two particular stories I'm referring to.
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
In Genesis 9, there's a narration about Noah and his three sons. Noah plants a vineyard, has too much to drink and "became uncovered in his tent" (vs 21). Ham, his second son sees his naked father and shares the news with his brothers. Shem and Japheth then cover their father by walking backward into the tent so that they don't see him. Noah wakes up from his hangover, finds out what his son did, and pronounces a curse on Ham's son, Canaan!
Why curse his grandson instead of the son who was actually guilty of dishonoring his father? No one can fully explain. But there is a clue in the story. Twice in the preceding verses, the Bible says, "Ham...the father of Canaan" (vs 18, 22). This suggests that Ham, who was a father, should've known better. If he would not want his son to expose his shame, he should not have done so to his own father.
Ham should've taken into account that even though his father made a mistake in getting drunk, he was still a man that God had spoken to. "Noah walked with God" (Gen.6:9). He also should've considered that his father was in a very vulnerable and weak state, and as his son, it was his responsibility to protect his father from further shame (as much as possible). Instead, for whatever reason, he told his brothers of their father's weakness.
"Look, our father managed to talk with God, build a ship and survive an epic flood, but he can't control his liquor! Go see for yourselves!"
How do you treat your parents when they are most vulnerable? When dementia has brought your father to a point where he is as shameless as a newborn, do you still honor him? If your mother was high on drugs, do you still respect her?
"But my father abused me!" "My mother never loved me!"
Your Maker's response is simple: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them" (Deut. 32:35).
God calls us to honor our parents, whether or not they were good to us.
But if you think Ham was bad, check out Lot's daughters!
Their story is eerily similar to that of Noah: Both families lived in very wicked times, have seen their world destroyed by God in an act of judgement, the mothers are out of the picture at a certain point, alcohol is involved, and all of the siblings are a part of the story. Read Lot's story in Gen. 19.
Lot's daughters, poisoned with the sin of Sodom, get their father drunk and then rape him. These daughters conspire against their aged father and take advantage of him. Some Bible commentators have presumed that they justified their actions because their father tried to give them over to be ganged raped (Gen.19:8). Even if the daughters held this against their father, it was not an excuse for what they did. If a parent treats you badly, your actions are just as deplorable if you "pay them back" and take advantage of them in their old age.
Both women gave birth to their father's sons. Their descendants, the Moabites and Ammonites were forever bitter enemies of Israel. The descendants of Ham (Canaanites, Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites, and the Philistines) were also arch-enemies of Israel. One clear lesson we can draw from this is that our actions toward our parents play a huge role in how our children turn out.
But God is merciful and gracious! Tamar and Rahab were Canaanites and Ruth was a Moabitess. These women were the great-great-great-great-great-great (and so forth) grandmothers of Jesus Christ. Even through acts of dishonor toward vulnerable parents, God weaved his hand of love and mercy to bring forth salvation.
"There is a generation that curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers"
Let this verse not be spoken of our generation. Let us be a generation that honors our parents, despite their failures. If the relationship is a harmful and toxic one, God will show you how to honor them from afar if necessary. Our heavenly Father places a high calling on His children; to show grace to the ones who gave them life.
At Highland Avenue, we value family. We want to build stronger bonds between parents and children. If you would like to strengthen your family ties, please visit us or email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.