Theme: Opposition (Resistance)
(Key verses: Gen 9:20-27)
We have seen in our last discussion that the three main family lines of all physical nations on earth today came forth from the three sons of Noah as they all form part of one family or generation in the first man Adam (Gen 9:1; Act 17:26). The three sons of Noah and their offspring were given diverse attributes which sadly lead to much raging about vain things which actually all unite them to “take counsel together against the Lord and against His anointed” (Psa 2:1-2; 1Co 15:45-50; Gal 5:17; Joh 3:6; 1Co 6:17; Eph 2:18; Eph 4:4). The flesh is of one mind which is a type of the one mind of the spirit of God, but the two minds are in total opposition to each other (Rom 1:20; Joh 3:6; Gal 5:17; Amo 3:3; 2Co 6:14). The flesh and all its nations supply the all-important resistance and persecution to the spiritual elect of God. Like the physical nation of Israel in type, all God’s spiritual elect must first be delivered from their immature journeys in the wilderness (of murmurings and contentions against God) to finally face spiritual warfare in the promised land (Exo 13:17-18; Deu 8:2-3):
Jdg 3:1 Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan;
Jdg 3:2 Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof.
As physical Israel could not enter the promised land through the “eleven days” route, so it is with God’s elect who soon find out that the Babylonian doctrine of spiritual completion in the flesh or “fullness now” through a ten second sinner’s prayer, is indeed a false teaching (Deu 1:2-3; Rom 15:4; 1Co 10:11). The theme of opposition or resistance is foundational to our understanding why God exposes us to enemies and those who oppose the truth (Act 13:45; Tit 1:9; 1Jn 2:18). Only through opposition and strong resistance can we be approved and be overcomers in Him (Luk 11:21-22; Rom 12:21; 1Co 11:19; Rev 21:7). We need to know why things are dragging along when there seems to be such an easy and quick solution from our immature natural perspective. As we have seen in our previous theme of productivity and fruitfulness, Noah was an example in all of this to his three sons, even in the building of the ark over a period of one hundred twenty years and even after the flood:
Gen 9:20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard.
But even in our productiveness we become overzealous and intoxicated with self-importance and in our own immature prideful estimations of our times and seasons we unknowingly also uncover our own nakedness (1Co 4:5-6; Ecc 3:1; Rom 14:1):
Gen 9:21 And he [Noah] drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
Although Noah was private “within his own tent”, the enemy, in the form of his own son Ham, invaded that privacy and did not even keep what he saw to himself:
Gen 9:22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
As the phrase “uncover nakedness” is always referring to something of a sexual nature in the Scriptures, some are of the opinion that a wrongful sexual act occurred which involved Ham. Others add that the reason why Canaan’s name, Ham’s youngest son, is mentioned in this same sentence here is also connected to this sexual incident. There is also an explanation out there that the birth of Canaan was a result of Ham sleeping with his own mother which is also what “uncovering” the nakedness of one’s father implicates in Scripture (Lev 20:11).
But Noah’s cursing of Ham’s youngest son seems to suggest that Canaan was already born at the time of this incident. It is also important to note that Ham did not “uncover” his father’s nakedness, but just “saw the nakedness of his father”. Ham deliberately looked (gazed) at the “uncovered” nakedness of his father. In his immaturity Ham then did not keep quiet about what he saw, but told it to his two brothers. He did not regard the vulnerable situation his father’s drunkenness brought about in the proper light and with a loving spirit and attitude. Fleshly drunkenness and nakedness are both symbols of sin and shame (Isa 20:2-4; Rev 16:15; Eph 5:18):
Exo 32:25 And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)
Isa 47:3 Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man.
Rev 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
But “fools [like Ham] make a mock at sin” and think when one points to other’s evil and sin their own nakedness and shame is somehow covered and not visible (Eze 16:29; Rev 4:8; 2Sa 12:7):
Pro 14:9 Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.
Ham indeed had a different spirit than that of his other two brothers who rather showed love in their actions in covering their father’s nakedness:
Gen 9:23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.
Their actions proved their love for their father, who erred from the narrow way (the truth), in getting drunk and naked:
Jas 5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
Jas 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
It seems as though Noah was quite unaware of the consequences of drinking too much wine as his nakedness was exposed in the process which is quite a digression from how the scriptures initially describe Noah as a man who was very much aware and careful of his walk:
Gen 6:9b ….Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
Love indeed covers a multitude of sins, and love will inspire a person to go in private to the one who caused an offence. That is to lay the garment on our shoulders and walk backwards as to take spiritual leadership to forgive a past offence and not bind heavy burdens on other’s shoulders (Mat 18:15; Mat 23:4).
1Co 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
1Co 13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
1Co 13:6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
1Pe 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
1Pe 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
Ham’s behaviour deeply offended Noah as it indicated that a sinful, proud and unloving spirit was present in Ham. But Noah did not curse Ham as Ham was already blessed by God – the curse came on Ham’s youngest son, Canaan, for a specific reason (Gen 9:1):
Gen 9:24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
Gen 9:25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
Many unscriptural speculations have been made as to why Canaan was cursed, but we cannot even think “above that which is written” as that only puffs us up in our own opinions (1Co 4:6). The Scripture reveals that Canaan was indeed the youngest of Ham’s four children which points to his immature position in the family (Gen 10:6). Immaturity was the correlation and reflection of Ham’s behaviour towards his drunken father. Canaan represents our uncircumcised (religious) flesh within our time of spiritual immaturity when we think we are already matured and saved having gifts that inflates our selfish ambitions (1Co 1:6-7; 1Co 3:1-3; Gal 4:1-4; Heb 5:13). Spiritual immaturity is the cause of much opposition to the word of truth because of the strong delusion God has sent on it (2Th 2:11). One of the oppositions it causes is spiritual deafness and blindness and the unskilled handling of the truth:
Heb 5:11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
Heb 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
Heb 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
Spiritual immaturity causes envying, strife and divisions in fellowships because it focuses on “foolish questions… [fleshly or carnal] genealogies and contentions” (Tit 3:9-11). It always concentrates on so-called contradictions (divisions and subtractions) in Scripture, as it cannot make spiritual additions and multiplications (1Co 13:2; 2Pe 1:20):
1Co 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
1Co 3:4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
The immature babe in Christ (inside and outside) will always be a nagging menace until the day we physically die and will always want to bring “doubtful disputations” and “measuring themselves by themselves” (Rom 14:1; 2Co 10:12). Noah was indeed uttering a prophecy that Canaan and his descendants will be that needful opposition to the physical nation of Israel. God, knowing the end from the beginning (Isa 46:10), inspired Noah to speak those words as God’s counsel shall also stand in terms of the opposition which the generations of Canaan will provide. Canaan’s curse was in relation to the blessings on the witness of his two brothers which is very important to note:
Gen 9:26 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
Gen 9:27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
Gen 9:28 And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.
Gen 9:29 And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died.
Canaan had eleven sons, and he became the patriarch of the very people who were the thorns in the flesh of the Israelites and he was of the seed of Abraham, who was of the generational line of Shem, Ham’s brother whom he was to serve in every sense (Gen 10:15-18; Gen 11:10-27). This only occurs at the time determined by God when the iniquity of the Amorites (also a general name for all the Canaanites, typifying our own high-minded carnal mind) will be “full” or in the “fourth generation”. This specific time of judgment first comes on the spiritual elect of God when the deep and deceptive heart of carnality is revealed to us (1Pe 4:17; Isa 26:8; Rom 2:4; Jer 17:9; 2Th 2:2-3; Rev 13:18; Ecc 3:18):
Gen 15:18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:
Gen 15:19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites,
Gen 15:20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims,
Gen 15:21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
Gen 15:16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again [to Canaan]: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
When the physical Israel as a nation first entered the promised land, there were seven Canaanite nations mentioned who were in the land already and were “greater and mightier” than they:
Deu 7:1 When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
Deu 7:2 And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them.
Although the flesh is always spiritually immature, yet it is a complete or mature beast which develops much earlier before the spiritual seed of Christ in us. Without the armor of Christ, we stand no chance against the wiles of this mature beastly opposition (Eph 6:11; Rev 13:1-2). These physically mature nations (“greater and mightier than thou”) were well known for their evil “works” in committing “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings…” – all these are in our own flesh (Psa 106:34-39; Gal 5:19-21; Mat 4:4). But Canaan’s curse was to be servants also in the sense that they were ordained by God to show Israel their own evil hearts to humble them (Deu 8:2). Those evils we see outside us, reflect our own evil, and show us that the inward spiritual battles is indeed for our good as only through these battles and tribulations shall anyone enter the kingdom of God (Exo 34:11-16; Lev 18:24-25; 1Pe 4:12):
Act 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
God commanded physical Israel to “utterly destroy” the inhabitants in that land and not to get involved in their habits and customs:
Deu 20:16 But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:
Deu 20:17 But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:
Deu 20:18 That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God.
But there were also instances where God wanted these Canaanite nations and cities to make peace treaties with Israel to become their servants (1Sa 7:14):
Deu 20:10 When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.
Deu 20:11 And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee.
Conquered nations were the strangers that were also allowed to become one with the nation of Israel under one law for all and loved as a brother (Deu 10:17-19):
Lev 19:34 But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Lev 24:22 Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God.
These instructions from God do not contradict each other, but they are all adding up to give us a picture of the whole process we all will be involved in to understand the role of these “Canaanites” in our own lives. The Hebrew word for Canaan (kena‛an) is also translated as merchants or traders (Isa 23:11, Zep 1:11; Eze 17:4).
Hos 12:7 He is a merchant [Hebrew: “kena‛an”], the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to oppress.
It also points out how to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves as we engage each day with these nations within us “unto this day” (Mat 10:16; Jos 15:63; Jos 16:10; Jos 23:9; Jdg 1:21). The continued existence of the Canaanites even after several years of battles and wars are written to show us that our spiritual opposition will always be there to stimulate spiritual growth. We spiritually never “arrive” in the flesh – there is not, and there will never be spiritual perfection in flesh (Gal 3:3). All the nations of evil in us will be driven out little by little as they will be destroyed progressively (Pro 24:16; Luk 21:19; Rev 14:9-12):
Deu 7:22 And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.
Deu 7:23 But the LORD thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed.
2Pe 3:15a And account [esteem] the longsuffering of [from] our Lord is salvation.
The curse and servant hood of the Canaanites were never motivated by their ethnicity or skin pigmentation as some want to believe, but rather by their spiritual importance as they would shape the strength and growth of the nation of physical Israel. Some see these curses and actions against the Canaanites as an excuse or motivation for ethnic cleansing or genocide which is quite disturbing for those in the flesh who read these violent passages in the Scriptures with carnal perspectives in mind. Many wars and evil massacres in the history of mankind were fought under this banner. Xenophobic actions all form part in some way of these fears which some promote for personal or patriotic/political agendas, even in our days these things are prevalent. But the reason for this destruction of these Canaanite nations is given to us as a type of God’s judgment against evil – not against the particular nation as such, but it is pointing us to the very evil in our own hearts:
Deu 9:5 Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The military model used in the Scriptures was never supposed to justify wars and the murdering of other humans, but more as an example of our internal spiritual battles:
Rev 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels.
Jesus indeed will save all nations as this passage also alludes to the truth that God is no respecter of persons or particular nations, but use them only as types of us (Act 10:34-35; Rom 14:11; Php 2:10-11):
Mat 15:22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
Mat 15:23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
Mat 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Mat 15:25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
Mat 15:26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.
Mat 15:27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.
Mat 15:28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.