"Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. But 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." Genesis 9:22-23 (NIV)
"This day is not getting off to a very good start. She’s already being rude," my friend informed me.
It seemed the day ahead would present some challenges. One of our group members was having another rough day … and when she had a rough day, we all had a rough day.
I stopped for a moment to pray. I prayed for the woman. I prayed for both of our days. (It appeared we both needed it!) Then, I headed into a meeting, and purposed to forget the comment and move forward.
I know my friend was looking out for me by offering a warning, but when we find ourselves privy to information we didn’t ask for, we’re always given an opportunity …
Cover or expose?
In today’s key verses, Noah’s sons are in a similar situation. After the flood, Noah planted a vineyard. One day, while he enjoyed the fruit of his garden, he became drunk. In his stupor, he fell asleep naked in his tent. Ham, Noah’s son, walked into his father’s tent, I’m sure very surprised at what he found.
Stepping outside the tent, he let his brothers, Shem and Japheth, in on his discovery. The younger two responded to their father’s embarrassing situation by putting a cloak on their shoulders, walking backward into the tent and covering their father.
Noah’s sons had options on how to respond, and they took very different approaches.
Ham chose to expose. He took the opportunity to highlight his father’s fault.
To be fair, Ham didn’t intend to step into this uncomfortable scene. The Bible doesn’t say he was looking for dirt on his dad. We can’t assume anything other than Ham was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
In contrast, Shem and Japheth heard and covered. They weren’t looking to be told or to hear of their father’s unwise decision either. What made the difference, though, was how they responded.
They took action to protect their patriarch. We don’t read any words they said. No dialog of defense for their dad. They simply chose honor. They chose love.
God commands us to love others, and love makes choices for the good of others.
We, too, can find ourselves with the knowledge that someone has made a poor choice. Temptation nudges us to tell another. Like the brothers, it might be a family member, or it could be someone you barely know. No matter who the hurting person is, God calls us to practice protecting.
Practice taking the information to God first. Not to a friend or a favorite social media outlet. And if you feel God directing you, approach the person in a loving manner and protect them by speaking truth. Whatever the response, let it be in love and covered in prayer.
Ask God right now to give them the wisdom they need.
Father, (insert name) needs Your wisdom. Would You step in and help her find her way to what is best, and honoring to You? In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Editor's Note: In a short devotion it is difficult to cover all aspects of a Biblical text. We recognize that in some situations "to cover" would mean to hide or to enable another's sin when that sin is negatively impacting others. That would not be the heart of Jesus.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Corinthians 13:7, "It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (NIV)
Proverbs 11:13, "A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret." (NIV)
Do you know a young woman who needs help making some right choices? Lynn Cowell’s book Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants
would be a good resource to give her.
Today, Lynn is giving away a copy of Magnetic
as well as a free download for covering your girl in prayer. Stop by her blog
to enter to win and receive the free gift.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Why do you think we want to expose people when we hear of a bad choice they have made?
Choose a bracelet to wear today, or another reminder, to alert yourself to pray several times today for someone you know who needs to be covered in prayer.
© 2015 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.