Hebrew Highlights 56 - COVERING
Shalom. This is Yuval Shomron, coming to you from Jerusalem.
Today on Hebrew Highlights, I’d like to discuss one of the two Hebrew words for covering. Let’s begin by reading GEN 9:20-27, “Then Noah began farming and planted a vineyard. And he drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were turned away, so that they did not see their father's nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him. So he said, "Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brothers." He also said, "Blessed be the Lord, The God of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant. "May God enlarge Japheth, And let him dwell in the tents of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant."
When Shem and Japheth took a garment and covered Noah’s nakedness, we see picture of Messiah’s forgiveness. The two sons did not even look on their father’s sin for a second. They took something and covered it up. This was their response to what basically amounted their brother Ham’s gossip. Instead of calling in the rest of the family to laugh and scorn, the stopped the rumor in its early stages. Even if someone had asked them about the incident, they could have honestly said, “We did not see our father drunk”. The word used for covered in this case is “kisa”, which would be used if you put a cloth or tarpaulin over an unsightly pile of junk. Its purpose is to keep people from seeing something.
The Apostle Paul used this word in ROM 4:7-8, "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, And whose sins have been covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account." Let’s read the passage Paul was quoting from.
PSA 32:1-7 (A Psalm of David. A Maskil.) How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit! When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to Thee, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord"; And Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin. Selah. Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found; Surely in a flood of great waters they shall not reach him. Thou art my hiding place; Thou dost preserve me from trouble; Thou dost surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.”
From this psalm we learn that our sins are not covered automatically. We need to ask forgiveness. As long as our sins have not been confessed, they will haunt us. However, as soon as we lay them at the Lord’s feet and repent, they are put out of sight. So then, each man is responsible for his own sins before the Lord. He must choose between the blessings which come from forgiveness, or the consequences which come from continuing in His transgressions.
We, as third party outsiders looking on, have no right to uncover anyone’s sins. In fact, as in the case of Ham, we put ourselves under a curse for doing so. Gossip, in whatever form is detested by God.
In PRO 6:16-19 we read, “There are six things which the Lord hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.” Four of these seven things are directly connected to gossip.
We know from many passages in the Bible that our words have power. Power to condemn, and power to redeem. We need to choose between blessing and curse.
I wonder what would have happened to Noah had Shem and Japheth joined in their brother’s mocking. Perhaps their father would have become depressed, ashamed, and continued drinking, even becoming abusive. Instead, he went on the be counted as on of God’s faithful servants remembered in Hebrews 11. Maybe, just maybe, he saw a picture of Messiah in his own sons, who gently, quietly covered his sins, and looked the other way.
Shalom, Shalom, from Jerusalem.