Genesis 9:18-29: Love covers.

“18 The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) 19 These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the whole earth.20 Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. 21 When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. 22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. 23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backwards and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked.24 When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said, ‘Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.’ 26 He also said,‘Praise be to the Lord, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem.27 May God extend Japheth’s territory; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth.’ 28 After the flood Noah lived 350 years. 29 Noah lived a total of 950 years, and then he died.”NIV

‘’Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins’’ (1 Peter 4:8).

I believe today’s short story from ‘Genesis’ is a fine illustration of the above principle.

Speaking personally, I can’t see that the Bible takes a line against alcohol. (Although I understand, and respect, that many Christians choose to be teetotal for good reasons). However, it does not encourage drunkenness – even when it may be an accidental state (as it appears may have been the case here). The loss of control can lead to shame in many forms, even if it’s not intended.

‘The best of men are men at best.’

F.B.Meyer’s comments on this passage are, as ever, instructive:

‘Noah’s sin reminds us how weak are the best of men; liable to fall, even after the most marvellous deliverances…But if our brethren sin, let us not parade or tell their faults, but cover them with the mantle of divine love. We may abhor the sin, but let us restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, remembering that we also may be tempted. See Gal.6:1-4.’ ‘Devotional Commentary,’ p.18.