Family life - Hope 103.2

Family life

By David ReayTuesday 19 Jul 2016LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Genesis 9:18-25

18 The sons of Noah who came out of the boat with their father were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham is the father of Canaan.) 19 From these three sons of Noah came all the people who now populate the earth.

20 After the flood, Noah began to cultivate the ground, and he planted a vineyard. 21 One day he drank some wine he had made, and he became drunk and lay naked inside his tent. 22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw that his father was naked and went outside and told his brothers. 23 Then Shem and Japheth took a robe, held it over their shoulders, and backed into the tent to cover their father. As they did this, they looked the other way so they would not see him naked.

24 When Noah woke up from his stupor, he learned what Ham, his youngest son, had done. 25 Then he cursed Canaan, the son of Ham: “May Canaan be cursed! May he be the lowest of servants to his relatives.” (NLT)

We can sometimes have in our minds a picture of an ideal family. Mum, Dad, the kids, the faithful dog, the doting grandparents, etc., etc.. Nothing at all wrong with such families of course. But families come in all sorts of sizes and shaped and with varying degrees of dysfunction. There are no ideal families.

If there were, we would presume the Bible would give us a picture of one. Instead we have the examples of Isaac, David, Eli the priest, and Noah. Not even Jesus’ own family seemed to be free of some tension and misunderstanding when it came to his fulfilling his mission.

In our text today, it seems Noah’s son Ham somehow didn’t respect his father. It may be he gloated over Noah’s nakedness rather than covered it. What is of note is that this is a family God thought worth preserving through the flood. If this was one of the better ones, we can imagine what the worse ones were like!

We can perhaps be thankful that the Bible doesn’t present us with idealised scenarios of family life. Families are a crazy mixture of the good and not so good, of pain and pleasure, of disappointment and delight. And yet, God doesn’t turn his back on them. He doesn’t demand some exalted standard before he gets to work on us. He works with love on the raw material before him. Which is the only way for us to embrace and appreciate family life.

David Reay