Sons of Noah

Daily Devotional

Average reading time is about 3 minutes

“Now the sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And Ham was the father of Canaan. These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated” (Genesis 9:18, 19).

The largest peacetime operation of the U.S. government is the once- in-a-decade census event. In 2010, more than a million census workers were hired to count about 310 million people in around 120 million households. That comes to 1 census worker for every 310 residents counted. The 2010 census cost a staggering $15 billion. Genealogists find the census helpful in studying the descent of families.

If you could trace your genealogy way back, you would eventually run into the three sons of Noah from whom “the whole earth was populated.” Though all three boys were from the lineage of a righteous man, not all of them followed in the faithful footsteps of their father.

After the flood, Noah became a farmer and planted a vineyard. He made a bad choice one day, becoming drunk and uncovering himself in his tent. Though the Bible gives few details, it appears that Ham’s son might have seen his grandfather and told his father about it. Perhaps they thought it was humorous—or maybe they made fun of the patriarch behind his back.

When Shem and Japheth heard what was taking place, they took a cloak, walked backward into their father’s tent, and covered him. Their act of respect set them apart from Ham and his son, Canaan. When Noah awoke from his stupor, he discovered what had taken place and spoke prophetically about the descendants of his three sons. While Shem and Japheth’s lineage would be blessed, Ham and Canaan’s offspring would be cursed and become servants of the favoured brothers.

We should not excuse Noah’s poor decision. The Bible is clear about the sinful direction alcohol can take a person. But the story also teaches us the serious consequences of breaking the fifth commandment. God warned, “Cursed is the one who treats his father or his mother with contempt” (Deuteronomy 27:16).

Dear Jesus, may I honour my earthly parents as a sign of respect for my heavenly Father.

Key Bible Texts

 For Further Study: Exodus 20:12; Proverbs 30:17; Ephesians 6:1–3

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