“Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent.”
Once the waters had resided and the ark settled, Noah and his family exited the ark to begin a new life. They would have to survey the land, build shelter, plant crops, and much more. It is interesting to me, of all the events that must have transpired, the Scriptures only focus upon a few. We read in Genesis 8, Noah offered sacrifice to the Lord. We can assume, after all he experienced, he was still a very godly man. We read in Chapter 9, a covenant between God and man was re-established, based upon the shedding of blood. When we come to the story before us, having settled in the new world with his new life, we find Noah indulging in wine and becoming fall-down drunk. As we continue through the Bible, we will see clearly that drunkenness is both foolish and forbidden. In our text, it is not the sin of Noah that is the focus of our attention, but the sin of his son, Ham.
It seems Noah had so much to drink he passed out naked in his tent. Whether his son was looking to find error in his father, or he just stumbled upon him, we are not told. We do know, Ham found his naked father, and went off to tell anyone who would listen. The reaction of his two brothers is quite heroic. Instead of mocking, condemning, or making a spectacle of their father, they simply cover him up. In so doing, they are covering up his failure. The next morning, when Noah awakens, he realizes what has happened and speaks prophetically concerning his sons. A curse is promised to Ham, while blessing is promised to Shem and Japheth.
“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.”
This story teaches us an important truth about dealing with sin. First, we learn that even the godliest of men can stumble. Second, we find it is not our responsibility to broadcast the sins of others, but to help them overcome sin. The actions of Ham did nothing more than ridicule the failure of his father, while Shem and Japheth work toward restoration. They did not condone the sin of their father, but sought to restore his dignity that he might get back to following the Lord.