Introduction: Humans began again in this lesson. The flood has destroyed all humans except Noah’s family which entered into the ark. The reason for the destruction of humans was that they were in constant rebellion against God. How does this new group of humans do? They have looked upon the judgment of God and have the lesson of the flood fresh in their minds. What have they learned, if anything? Let’s dive into our study of Genesis and find out!
I. Noah’s Drinking Binge
A. Read Genesis 9:18-19. Recall that Genesis 1:27-28 instructed Adam and Eve to “multiply and fill the earth.” Is this instruction still in effect?
1. Consider that Cain’s descendants no longer exist. Will this forward movement of humanity be more friendly towards God?
B. Read Genesis 9:20. Consider Noah’s life. Does he now, at age 600 (Genesis 7:6), begin a new career? (Yes. “Noah began to be a man of the soil.”)
1. As a beginning farmer, why did he plant a vineyard? He must have considered it. Why not potatoes or vegetables?
C. Read Genesis 9:21. Do you think that getting drunk was an accident for Noah?
1. If not, what would spur him to cloud his consciousness? (It was a completely different world. Likely it was much less beautiful.)
2. Compare Psalms 104:14-15 with Ephesians 5:18. Can you see Noah in these verses? He decides to “gladden” his heart because things might be a little depressing and he ends up drunk.)
3. The Bible universally condemns being drunk. Has Noah embarrassed himself? (Noah “lay uncovered” but he is “in his tent” and not laying outside or anywhere that he can obviously be seen by the public.)
D. Read Genesis 9:22. Why would Ham tell his brothers?
1. Would you tell if this were your father? (Ham is mocking his father. In this day mocking fathers is the typical content of television programs. But, that is contrary to the will of God. See Exodus 20:12.)
2. Of all of the humans who lived on the earth, who was the giant of the time? (It was Noah! He was no ordinary person, he was the human instrument to save all those who were currently alive. Ham wants to shame a giant.)
3. Is the problem of children expressing superiority over their parents or adults in general a serious one today? (I don’t think we clearly perceive the nature of this sin. We have university students shouting down adults, we have children like Greta Thunberg being celebrated for disrespecting adults who disagree with her.)
E. Read Genesis 9:23. Did Ham’s brothers join in this attitude of superiority over their father? (No! They went to great lengths to avoid seeing their father naked.)
1. Is this great ceremony really necessary? Noah is, as mentioned before, in his tent. (The brothers recognized the importance of their father and they acted to protect his reputation.)
F. Read Genesis 9:24-27. If Noah had not gotten drunk, this would never have happened. Noah was the “but for” cause of his own embarrassment. Does Noah have the moral authority to curse Canaan and make Canaan and his descendants servants? (The Bible answer is, “Yes.” Noah has a special relationship with God.)
1. Apply this to the Greta Thunberg situation and the young people like her. Are the attacks by these young people on their parents and other adults justified because the adults may have made an error? (The Bible answer is, “No.” Noah violated God’s law by becoming drunk, but this did not justify embarrassing him or making fun of this giant of faith.)
2. Does this principle apply to the elders in your family?
3. Why the curse of servanthood given to Canaan (Ham’s son) rather than Ham? Is this fair? (I think this is primarily a prophecy. Consider how parents transmit to their children attitudes that persist for generations. Ham is a rebel who does not honor his father. Shem and Japheth go to great lengths to protect the honor of their father. It is this attitude that is at the heart of Noah’s prophecy of the future of that family.)
a. Many adults who read this section will disagree with me about how young people should show respect to their elders. Ask yourself what your attitude is doing to your children?
II. The Tower of Diversity
A. Read Genesis 11:1-2 and Genesis 11:6. What is God’s view of diversity and efficiency? (If the people are unified in their language nothing is “impossible for them.”)
1. I graduated from Andrews University at a time when it had more foreign students then almost any other college in the United States. We were way ahead of the crowd on the issue of diversity. When I attended law school at Emory I became immersed in the Jewish culture. Where would you draw the line between helpful diversity and the diversity that makes progress “impossible?”
B. Read Genesis 11:3-4. What are the goals of these humans? (They did not want to be dispersed over the face of the earth, so they build a tower to become famous and retain people in that location.)
1. Is this consistent with God’s directions to them? (Read Genesis 9:1. God told them to “fill the earth.” This directly contradicts God’s plan.)
2. Consider their tower construction plan. Is it only intended to make them famous? (Given their desire to thwart God’s plan of filling the earth, it is likely they did not believe God on the issue of future floods. This would prevent their destruction in the future.)
C. Read Genesis 11:5-7. Is God punishing humans for trying to thwart His plan? (He is forcibly redirecting them to follow His plan.)
1. If you only considered this story, what would you conclude about those who promote diversity? (God forced it on the people, but God did not intend it as a good thing, He intended it to cripple their efforts to undermine Him.)
D. Read Romans 10:12, Galatians 3:28, and John 13:34. Discrimination on the basis of race has been illegal in the United States from the time of the end of the Civil War (1865). The U.S. Constitution was amended in 1865 to add the Thirteenth Amendment which outlawed slavery. It was amended in 1868 to add the Fourteenth Amendment which guaranteed the equal protection of the laws to everyone. A number of federal civil rights statutes barring racial discrimination were passed at about that time. A hundred years later, in 1964 the Civil Rights Act was passed to prohibit discrimination in private employment. Are these laws consistent with the law of God?
1. Does our study of the story of a drunk Noah have anything to teach us about the diversity issue? (The Noah story is about respecting those who have gone before us and accomplished great things. Respect goes a long way towards shaping the proper attitude about discrimination.)
2. Is respect a universal Biblical requirement? (Read Romans 13:7. Respect is to be given to those to whom it is due. The Bible teaches us to discriminate between good and evil. Thus, not all ideas and plans of action should be respected.)
E. Read Genesis 11:8-9. God’s diversity program worked, they stopped building the city and were “dispersed … over the face of all the earth.” God won. Did humans lose?
1. How would the world be different if humans had obeyed God by filling the earth and keeping a universal language?
F. Friend, God calls on us to respect our parents, and respect those who are heroes of faith. This attitude will bless not only you but your children if you pass it on to them. God calls on us to show judgment when it comes to whether we respect other ideas and plans. Will you show wisdom and love in your respect?
III. Next week: The Roots of Abraham.
Copr. 2022, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: http://www.GoBible.org. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.