If we read the Bible, it doesn’t take long for human behavior to fall out of step with God’s plan and make a mess of things. Only three chapters into His/story and we’ve already blown it deciding that the grass was greener on the other side. As a result of their rebellion and disobedience, Adam and Eve are banished from the garden and lose their shot at immortality. It’s not a stellar beginning for the human race. However, Adam and Eve wouldn’t be the last to miss the mark. In fact, we’ve been missing it ever since, but that doesn’t stop God. We may be misfits, but God hasn’t rejected us. We have been disciplined, but He hasn’t given up on us completely.
After Adam, Eve, and their sons we don’t get a detailed account of individual people for quite a while. For around 1650 years there isn’t much history except for genealogy in Genesis 5. It gives us an account of decedents from Adam to Noah, but that’s it. There just isn’t enough information about Methuselah, Enoch, Lamech, and others to talk about. All we know is they lived a lot longer then, like 900+ years. Yikes! Who would want to live that long? Anyway, after an information blackout we are introduced to Noah in Genesis 6 and apparently things are still not going so well for the human race. In fact, they’ve gotten a lot worse.
“5The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” Genesis 6:5-8 NIV
God has had enough and it looks like He is going to “wipe us out”, but there is one person who has found “favor in the eyes of the Lord”. I’m assuming one out of millions, which is sad, but it makes me think of the movie “Dumb and Dumber” when Lloyd says, “so you’re saying there’s a chance”. Sorry if you don’t get that movie reference but you can google it. It’s funny.
Yes, God is offering the human race another chance, another shot at redemption, which is basically the central theme of the Bible. It’s the point of this whole “Misfits and Rejects” series. Even though we blow it and deeply trouble God’s heart, He still loves us and offers redemption, reconciliation, forgiveness, and second chances.
That one in a million “who had found favor with God” is Noah. In Genesis 6:9 it says, “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.” Jesus is referred to by some as the “2nd”, “last”, or “final” Adam, so maybe Noah is Adam 1.5 because it is a new beginning or reboot of sorts.
Fortunately for Noah he gets to live, and his family with him, but there is a catch. Noah has to build a boat or an ark to survive the flood that God is bringing on the earth. Building this ark would be no small task since it was roughly almost the size of the Titanic. The Arks dimensions in feet were 450x75x45 and the Titanic was 850x92x64. The ark was about 400 feet shorter, but still, that’s a BIG boat! But wait that’s not all! Noah has to gather food and supplies for a literal “boat load” of critters. It is estimated that Noah and his family had to care for between 1500 and 7000 land dwelling animals. Plus, they would have to care for them on the ark for almost a year. Fortunately, there was a window (Genesis 8:6), not sure if it was the only one, but can you imagine the smell? Ugh! I used to have to clean horse stalls and that was bad enough to gag a maggot. Okay I’ll stop there and refrain from any potty humor, even though it is tempting.
It is estimated that it took 120 years to build the ark, and it doesn’t say that Noah had any help other than his family. No modern machinery, rivets, or nails, probably just wooden pegs, homemade glue, ropes, and pulley’s they built by hand, which is beyond incredible when you think about it. Plus, he was probably the laughingstock of the region. He had to endure 120 years of ridicule, mockery, and rejection for building an ark or boat when it had never flooded or even rained before. We’re not even sure if it was built close to a body of water.
In Genesis 2:5-6 it says, “for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, 6but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.” In Genesis 1:6-7it says that God created “a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” There was water “under the vault from the water above it”. This is called a “firmament” or dome of water over the earth. I don’t think anyone is completely sure how it all worked, but rain is not mentioned again until Genesis 6, so we can surmise that rain was going to be something new for the human race to experience, and this storm was going to be a monster.
Through all of this Noah and family demonstrated incredibly heroic and unimaginable faith. Each time God asked Noah to do something it says, “Noah did everything just as God commanded him”. So how does Noah go from hero to misfit? You would think after this experience witnessing God’s unlimited power that Noah wouldn’t even think of doing something to throw a wrench into God’s new beginning, but his actions after the flood cause one of his sons to do something that gives this incredible story a not so stellar ending.
20Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. 21When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. 22Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. 23But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked. 24When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, 25he said, “Cursed be Canaan!” Genesis 9:20-25 NIV
I know some people may say, “what’s the big deal?” After surviving the flood and the annihilation of all living things Noah had a reason to celebrate, but drunk and naked in the same sentence usually doesn’t end well, and in this case it doesn’t either. Unfortunately for Ham he has to endure one of those awkward moments that requires therapy, seeing your parent naked. He was probably scarred for life. We’re not sure what really happens here besides Ham seeing his father naked, which was enough in itself, but when Noah sobers up and realizes what happened he’s not a happy camper. Noah “curses” his son Ham, the “father of Canaan”, and his descendants who become the Canaanites. Apparently, the curse works because if you read on in the Bible, things don’t go so well for the Canaanites.
Again, we’re not sure what happened exactly. Maybe there is more to the story. But Noah, as incredibly heroic as he was, probably shouldn’t have gotten hammered and passed out with no clothes on resulting in Ham’s startling and life altering discovery. I mean, I’m just saying it was probably not a good idea. Remember this is supposed to be a grand new beginning for the human race, and I’m pretty sure God didn’t have drunk and naked in mind when He planned it. So, note to self, “don’t let your guard down, get hammered, and take your clothes off” when you’ve just done something awesome for God. I can see God smacking himself in the forehead and saying, “really Noah, after all you’ve been through! Come on man!”
Stay tuned because there’s more to come in our “Misfits & Rejects” series. While we like to think our heroes of faith are impervious and immune to making mistakes or poor decisions, we have to remember that they were human just like us, flawed and broken, and yet God still loved and used them for His purposes despite their imperfections. So the good news is, there is hope for us too.
Have a great weekend! Love y’all!
Director of Family Ministry and Facility Coordinator – Andrews UMC