Gracious Heavenly Father, may Your holy Word guide my every thought and action throughout this day.
Read GENESIS 9:1-29
 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.  The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands.  Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.  “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.  And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.  “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.  As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.”  Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him:  “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you  and with every living creature that was with you-the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you-every living creature on earth.  I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”  And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come:  I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds,  I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.  Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”  So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”  The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.)  These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the earth.  Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard.  When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent.  Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness and told his two brothers outside.  But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s nakedness. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father’s nakedness.  When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him,  he said, “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.”  He also said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem.  May God extend the territory of Japheth; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be his slave.”  After the flood Noah lived 350 years.  Altogether, Noah lived 950 years, and then he died. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat covenant did God make and how did he attest it?
The rebuilding begins. This is not just a re-vegetating or repopulating phase. God is also particular about how the created order will conduct itself. Notice that he releases all creation to become a food source for humans (3), which will engender fear in animals (2). From now on creation will know fear, but violence must not become normal behavior (4-6). Humankind is especially significant and any human deaths through violence have serious consequences (6). Since humanity is in the image of God, special dignity for humans is part of the moral code of the new order.
This is what makes Ham’s crime so serious (22). He sees his father unconscious and in an undignified position after drinking too much of his own wine, and doesn’t do the decent thing by covering him up. Ham’s brothers have regard for their father’s dignity, and even take particular care to avert their eyes lest they dishonor their father by seeing his nakedness (23). Hence they are honored, but Ham is cursed (25-27). Humans are all to be given the dignity due them as made in God’s image. This is one more way we obey and honor the Lord.
Have you seen situations where people are denied dignity? Pray about how you might respond to that.
Creator God, thank You for the dignity humans have as made in Your image. May I always protect that gift.
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