The family of Noah and all of the animals have disembarked from the ark. Noah offered sacrifice in thanksgiving to God and God makes a covenant with Noah. God promises to never again destroy the earth by water and sets up a reminder of this covenant with a rainbow.
We would do well to understand that a covenant is not merely a deal or contract. Rather, it is an exchange of people or exchange of self. God promises to be with Noah and to bless his family. Noah agrees to continue "walking with God." We will see a number of different covenants throughout our reading. Each one will expand God's reach or kingdom on earth. In each covenant it is man who breaks the covenant but God, in His mercy, expands His love. God made a covenant with Adam and Eve in the garden. They broke it with sin. God then expands His covenant from a couple to a family, or a group of couples. Watch in the readings as these covenants grow and expand! [A great book on the covenants of God is Dr. Scott Hahn's A Father Who Keeps His Promises]
The family isn't on dry land for long before sin rears it's ugly head. God wanted to wipe wickedness from the earth but it didn't work. Why? It is because sin is in the heart. Sin was carried, like a virus, onto the ark and thus survived the flood. It will take a new flood (Baptism) and a new heart (the Sacred Heart) to ultimately destroy sin and it's effects.
The sin that manifests itself after the flood is a sexual sin. We'll see this too as a common theme throughout the readings. Why is it so often that sexual sins are the downfall of man? Why is it the favorite playground of the devil? I would venture to propose that it is in our sexual powers where we image God in a unique way. With His help, we have the ability to bring forth new souls destined for eternity. What better point of attack for Satan than here where we, with God's help, bring forth souls created in His image and likeness.
This sexual sin may not have been readily apparent in the reading but it takes place during this strange story of Noah's nakedness and the cursing of his grandson. In essence Noah is drunk and probably passed out. Perhaps Noah's wife is as well. Regardless, Ham takes advantage of the situation and sleeps with his own mother. This is what is meant by the idiom "saw the nakedness of his father or uncovered the nakedness of his father." So, Canaan is the son of Ham and Noah's wife. Thus Noah curses Canaan, his grandson, the fruit of this unholy union. (see Leviticus 20:11)
We now turn our eyes back to the genealogies of Ham, Japheth, and Shem. In chapter 10 we are told of the descendants of these three brothers and where they settled in the world.
In chapter 11 the author explains why there are so many different languages in the world. We read about the tower of Babel. Here, once again, men are forgetting about God. This tower is representative of them wanting to climb to heaven. Rather than carrying the name of God upon their hearts they say, "let us make a name for ourselves." This is an attempt to "be like God" and so God confuses their language making it difficult for them to do this sort of work. What New Testament event undoes this confusing of languages? (see Acts 2: 5-12)
In chapter 11 we also are given the full genealogy of Shem. Shem carries the blessing, "Blessed by the Lord my God be Shem..."(Gen 9:26) and the bloodline of Jesus. It is here that we are introduced to the new characters in the story that we will be following for quite some time - Abram, Sarai, and Lot.
If you are thoroughly confused by the genealogies to this point, this chart may help put things into perspective....
Why didn't God just make sin disappear instead of doing all these things (flood, Babel, etc)?
What enabled Enoch and Noah to stand alone and righteous amidst great wickedness?
What can you do to imitate them in our own generation?
For day four, please read Genesis chapters 12-16
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