The Sinful Grandfather, His Sinful Son, and His Cursed Grandson
by Joseph Franks
Noah was declared righteous. (6:8) Despite being of the sinful seed of Adam and Eve, he found grace and favor in the eyes of the Lord. Yes, despite his being a horrible sinner and deserving of the judgmental flooding of the Lord, he found himself rescued by the Savior.
Noah lived righteously. (6:22ff) He did that which God commanded of him. He heard God’s Word, exercised faith, built an ark, preached to his neighbors, entered the ark upon God’s command, and enjoyed the blessings of obedience with his household. Then, following the flood, Noah led his family in ceremonial and practical worship. They gathered as the church, offered sacrifices to their Lord and Savior, and set forth to keep the Cultural Mandate prescribed by their Soverign.
However, Noah proved to practice unrighteousness. (9:20ff) Following his baptism in the flood and mountaintop experience with God, he proved to be a sinful grandfather, who unwillingly encouraged the iniquity of his sinful son, and ultimately this resulted in the sad cursing of his grandson. Below is the inspired historical account:
Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside … When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan ….” (Genesis 9:20-25)
Friends, let’s not make more of this than we ought.
- It was holy and righteous for Noah to work in the soil with his hands.
- It was holy and righteous for Noah to plant a vineyard.
- It was holy and righteous for Noah to enjoy the fresh fruit of his vineyard.
- It was holy and righteous for Noah to enjoy the fermented fruit of his vineyard.
However, let’s not make less of this than we ought.
- It was not holy and righteous for Noah to eat and drink to excess. He was always to be sober-minded. There was never to be a time when he was not self-controlled. Sure, Noah had liberty to enjoy the various blessings of the Lord, but he never had license to utilize God’s gifts improperly. It was not sinful for Noah to drink the wine given him by the Lord of the Harvest, but it was sinful for him to drink to excess. Noah became drunk, and this was unrighteous.
Noah did not intend that which followed, but as a result of his sinful intoxication, Noah lay in a naked, unguarded, and unseemly state within his tent, and somehow this encouraged the sinful action of Ham. Oh, we are not exactly sure what transpired on that fateful day; was it disrespect, mockery, lust, or abuse? However, whatever was the transgression, it was not deemed trite.
Noah’s sin, resulting in Ham’s sin, resulted in the uttering forth of a curse upon Canaan — Noah’s own grandson. One does not have to assume that Canaan was spiritually and eternally accursed, but there does seem to be a serious expression of temporal discipline working through the line and lineage of Canaan.
Noah unwillingly sinned. Ham willingly sinned. And Canaan was seriously affected.
Oh fathers and mothers, grandparents and parents, does this biblical story trouble you as it troubles me? How often are we like Noah? How often does our unintentional sin impact our children and grandchildren? How much pain will our children be forced to live with because of our numerous sins of commission or omission?
Let’s not be like lot who unwillingly encouraged his daughters to grow in wickedness after the influence of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Let’s not be like Jacob whose deceit was passed on to his sons with a vengeance.
Let’s be rid of our passivity — our sins of omission. No more let us be like Eli who refused to disciple and discipline his two sons, and this resulted in their private wickedness, their public depravity, and their divine execution.
Would we continue to be like Herod and Herodias? Would we “party so” that we encourage our daughter to scandalously dance before the world and publicly spurn the ordained prophet of Jesus?
No, not us, not today, not any more, not any longer! Let us repent, run to the God of grace, and make anew our pledge to purse righteousness along with our family. Instead of living foolishly and licentiously, instead of encouraging our sons and daughters to sin, and instead of adversely affecting the trajectory of our grandchildren, let us endeavor to worship differently and pass on an inheritance of undeserved blessings to our children and our children’s children. More than this, let us claim God’s covenantal blessings and look forward to passing down Gospel glee to a thousand generations.
Men, let’s man up. Let’s walk in sober-minded, self-controlled, Spirit-led righteousness. Whether we eat, drink, or whatever we do, let us do it all for the glory of God. Our children and our grandchildren will be improved.
Ladies, follow our lead when we are upright. May our sons and daughters find themselves looking more like Jesus when they look more like their mothers and grandmothers.
Finally, similar admonition should be given to male and female leaders in the church. Elders, deacons, ministerial leaders, and teachers, how are we impacting the generations of those to follow? Are we compromising? Are we complacent? Are we going to be the sinful generation that unwillingly encourage the sins of the next generation that will adversely impact generations to follow? What will be said of us by our ecclesiastical children and grandchildren? Will all who come behind us declare us to be faithful, or will they mourn our sinful, drunken stupor and the tragic legacy we have passed their way?