“What are my kids going to end up like?” Don’t you wish you could answer that question? Or maybe not. I have met many parents as a pastor that looked at what happened to their children and feel such shame. If only they had gone to church more… or had gone to church less… or had read the Bible to them more… or went to more parenting seminars. The guilt is immense.
But I’ve met and talked with enough black sheep to know that it often has not a thing to do with how they were parented. It had everything to do with their own stubborn will and their poor choices.
Take Ham. One of Noah’s sons. You know Noah… the man who walked with God… who alone found grace in the eyes of the Lord. His son, Ham… made a terrible choice one day. It began innocently enough. He caught sight of his father Noah naked in his tent. No big deal.
It was considerable breach of family ethic back in this day, but remember, the event was not intentional. It was what he did with what he saw that got him into trouble. The Scriptures put it gently, that he “told his two brothers outside.” More than likely his actions were an attempt to show himself triumphant over his father by mocking Noah’s condition. His two brothers proved more noble by (without looking) covering over their father’s shame.
Noah woke up… and he knew what Ham had done. He announces what will happen to all three of his boys: ““Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants he shall be to his brothers.” and “Blessed be the Lord, The God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant.”
Cursed be Canaan? What father would wish that on a grandson? But remember, this isn’t a wish. It is a prophecy. Noah could see in the behavior of his son, Ham, something that would be passed down to his son and beyond. Ham’s son would father the Canaanites. And they would be wickedly sinful… and they would always end up on the bottom of his three sons.
God sought to preserve man in the ark… to save him from destruction… but the seed of sin was carried on within the human heart even after the judgment fell. Noah’s drunkenness and Ham’s actions are evidences of that. And quickly the sin of man begins to spread on the earth again. “These are the families of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, by their nations; and out of these the nations were separated on the earth after the flood.” (10:32)
God would need another way to redeem man. Another stronger ark of safety. Jesus.
The late Adrian Rogers once preached: “Noah’s ark is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ in this way: The ark is like a great coffin. It doesn’t have a bow; it doesn’t have a stern; it doesn’t have a helm because it is under the control of Almighty God. The ark keeps the judgment waters out. God shut Noah, his family, and the animals inside the ark. … God sealed them in. Nobody could open the door. But, there was a window. Noah could open the window and look up. Do you see the parallel? Ephesians 1:13-14 says, “In whom [Jesus] ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.” We are in Christ, sealed by the Holy Spirit of God. It is in Jesus that we know God the Father. Is it not true that when we come in to Him, we are closed in to look up? The way that we look into heaven is through Jesus Christ, the Ark of Safety.” (source)
How did sin continue on the earth after God had wiped away sinful man? It sprang from out of the ark… from the depths of their fallen hearts. Man-made arks can save you from drowning but can do nothing about your sin problem. And just as Noah’s “perfect” family still turned out little sinners in need of redemption… your family will do the same. Just as a church can only produce a healthy, safe place to worship and perhaps a good churchman or churchwoman… it cannot make redeemed believers. That is the work of God. A church can only expose sin and then point to the Savior.
So: pray for your kids. Invite friends to your church. Encourage and counsel lost family members. But if they don’t turn out right. It is best to put aside your guilt.
Remember and hope. You too were a fallen sinner once as well. And you made it onto the right boat. Pray that they to will do the same.