Over the last few years it hasn’t been unusual to read news headlines and stories about how something tragic was happening and folks just stood around, afraid or unwilling to get involved. It has become frequent enough now that we aren’t shocked to see such news. However, if something is wrong and we know it’s wrong and we have the ability to do something about it, then we should.
Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. – Genesis 9:20-23, ESV
Noah proves here that he’s not a bastion of perfect behavior. He plants a vineyard, ferments some wine, and then gets drunk off of it. Apparently he did so in a way that brought shame upon himself. Ham, one of his sons, sees his father and tells his brothers about it. Now if you read that at face value, if you put no sexual connotation into it as some would, the situation is already bad.Then Ham adds to it by disgracing his father by gossiping about Noah’s mistake. So Ham took a bad situation and made it worse. His brothers’ reactions were different.
Upon hearing from Ham what happened, they decide to do something about it. The first thing to note is they dealt with the real problem. They covered Noah up; they righted whatever was wrong. The second thing to note is how they did this. They righted the wrong, but in a way that did not bring further shame to Noah. What Shem and Japheth did is what Ham should have done. And how they handled the situation is an example of how we should deal with the wrongs we see in this world.
I understand we can’t fix everything. And I know that sometimes we just don’t have the ability or the time. But when we do, we’re God’s example on earth. We’re the ones representing His kingdom, His teachings, and His ways. When we stand back and do nothing, what we are tacitly saying is one of two things: either what’s going on is okay with our God or our God isn’t strong enough and big enough to work through us to overcome the problem. I understand that what I’m saying means sacrifice. And I’ll be the first to admit I need to do a better job of following Shem and Japeth’s example. But that’s the expectation He seeks for us to meet. That is the standard Jesus set for us during His earthly ministry. He confronted folks and fixed wrongs wherever He went. He did so knowing full well the price He’d have to pay for it. Yet He still did it.
If we truly believe that being with Him is better than being here, and if we truly believe that He will save us, then the consequences of any situation isn’t as catastrophic as it might be for a non-Christian. “To live is Christ and to die is gain,” were the Apostle Paul’s words. He understood that the best thing they could do for him was send him home to his Savior. And that’s the best thing anyone can do for us, too. But until our God calls us out of this world, we’re supposed to live every moment for Him. We’re supposed to spend every action and effort to further His kingdom. And that means standing up for what’s right, attempting to fix the wrongs when we can, and willingly taking on the consequences that come our way. As you go through today and the rest of the week, ask the Holy Spirit to allow you to see what’s going on with His eyes. Ask for discernment to see the wrongs around you and ask for the wisdom to understand what you might do about them, and, finally, ask for the strength and courage to act. Let us represent Christ strongly to those around us.