What’s in the West Wing?

Genesis 9:22-23 “Ham, the father ofCanaan, saw his father’s nakedness 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 nakedness” (NIV).

Observation: Noah, his wife, their three sons and their sons’ wives had survived the destruction of all living things on earth by riding out the world-wide flood inside the ark. Having gone into the ark, God Himself had closed the massive door before floodwaters swept away all the corruption and evil on the face of the earth. Or had they? Later, Noah made wine from his new vineyard and passed out in a drunken stupor in his tent, uncovering not only himself in the process also managing to expose the hearts of his sons.

Application: Two sons, Shem and Japheth, honored their father by covering him; one son, Ham, exposed his father’s failure, thus dishonoring him. Two held their tongues; one gossiped. Two blessed; one cursed. Each faced the same choice, but two chose life, while the other chose death. 

What could God have been thinking? Had He been naïve in believing He could eradicate man’s sinful condition by killing all but one family? Didn’t He understand that sin left in even one surviving individual, would act like sourdough starter? Was it a cosmic miscalculation that caused Him to kill nearly everyone on earth, only to find that death and the curse still resided in the DNA of the eight sole survivors? Or did He have some additional purpose in setting up this story? 

Romans 6 says that through baptism I have been delivered from sin just as Noah’s family was delivered from death by drowning. And Colossians 2 says that my baptism “into” Christ, like Noah going “into” the ark, is my circumcision, a cutting off of sin from me. So the standard for me, if I have experienced the spiritual circumcision of baptism as a believer in Christ, is for me not to sin.   

His life in me, however, is merely an invitation to purity, not a foregone conclusion. I have been given the same fresh start that enabled Shem and Japheth to choose well, yet I still sometimes choose as Ham did. This choice I now have recalls the moment when Beast’s heart softened toward Beauty. He had given her a tour and granted her permission to freely roam the castle except for the west wing. Her immediate response wasn’t gratitude for her newfound freedom. Rather, she asked, eyes wide with curiosity, “What’s in the west wing?” We have Beauty’s opportunity to choose, just as did Noah’s sons. 

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, You have given me the priceless invitation to live my life “in” You. Seal the reality of this into my heart, Lord, that I would choose wisely as I go through each day of the rest of my life.

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