After they finished Noah has a time of worship, he builds an altar and takes some of the clean animals and birds and sacrifices them to God, with a heart full of thanksgiving. God is pleased with the sacrifice Noah makes, enjoying the pleasant aroma of his sacrifice and worship. Personally I don’t think that it is the sacrifice of the animals themselves that God finds pleasing. For King David centuries later says about sacrifices, “…that of the sacrifice of animals, God is not pleased…instead it is worship with a contrite spirit and broken heart that is pleasing to God. (Psalm 51:16-17) It is the attitude of Noah’s heart and it is the attitude of genuine thanksgiving that God found pleasing.
In response God makes a covenant with Noah and not only with Noah, but also speaks to his sons. God tells them,“Though the inclination of mankind’s heart is evil from
childhood, never again will I curse the ground nor destroy all living creatures, as long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease” Gen 8:21-22
He then says to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth, the animals and birds will fear you from now on. From now on they are given to you for food, in the same way that I gave you all the plants for food. But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. And you must not murder, for I will demand an accounting from both people and animals who takes the life of another person. I tell you that I will never again destroy all of my creation by flood, and after it rains I will place in the sky a rainbow which is the sign of my promise to all of my creation.”
Scripture says that Noah was a man of the soil. He became a gardener of sorts and planted himself a vineyard. I think this statement is humorous, because after one year and eleven days of being cooped up in the ark, I doubt if he would have wanted to become a fisherman. After one year and eleven days of constant smell and noise and living so close to all those animals I doubt if he wanted to continue any kind of occupation involving animal husbandry. The one thing they lacked on the ark was a garden. They lacked fresh produce, the smell and aroma of flowers, the taste of fresh fruit, juicy apples, grapes sweet oranges and tomatoes etc. Is it any wonder that he was a man of the soil? And so he begins his task in planting his garden. He digs the soil, plants his vines, tends to his trees, and crops. His Sons are involved with him in this venture and some years go by and a son is born to Ham; Noahs second son. Noahs other sons have sons and daughters and soon Noah is a grandfather and then a great grandfather and finds that the years quickly go by from the time they first entered the ark.
It was during this time of Noah being a grandfather that he produced enough grapes to make wine. There could have been a celebration of the harvest, where the whole family gathered to celebrate, and in the course of the celebrations Noah become drunk and staggered to his tent falling asleep.
Think about the tent. It was years after they came out of the ark and Noah was still living in a tent. He didn’t live in a house, but in a tent. He was a craftsman of craftsman. He had all the skills to build a house, and a nice solid one at that. So what was it that caused this man to be still living in a tent? I think it was his experience of being confined in the ark for one year and eleven days that had a lot to do with it. He could have dismantled the ark and built a home from it. They could have stayed in the ark and continued to use it as their home. Did Noah and his family suffer from claustrophobia stemming from the long time on the ark? Perhaps his family continued to live on the ark and Noah stayed outside, living in the tent. Or perhaps they all lived in tents? Scripture doesn’t tell us what happened; we can only read between the lines. It is a story of real people, real problems, with a real past that is having an affect on the now.
Ham, Noah’s middle son was a hothead, someone who lacked self control, for his name means “Hot” as in the tropical sun. He not only discovers him lying naked in the tent, he looks upon his genitals, which most likely were frail and shrivelled, with contempt. He goes and tells his two brothers about it outside. Here we read a story about a young mans rebelliousness towards his father, a man who is showing the truth of his name. He doesn’t just go and say quietly to his brothers,
Instead he looks upon his father in contempt, he looks upon him in disgust, and while mocking his father he goes out to his brothers and says words to the effect.
To his brother’s credit, they would have none of it. They did not join in his mocking, and his unrighteous anger; instead they rebuked their brother through their actions. They quietly spoke and working together picked up a garment or blanket and spreading it between themselves they walked into the tent backwards covering their father with it. They would not allow themselves to see their father’s state and they would not allow themselves to partake in their brothers shameful actions.