I Call You Cousin


Ham probably didn’t notice much change in his status as a result of his disrespect of his father, Noah, as recorded in Genesis 9. The punishment for Ham’s crime was actually directed against his son and his son’s descendants (9:18, 24). But even the grandchildren and great grandchildren didn’t feel the effects of their forebear’s sin. That would come a lot later.
Canaan was to be a slave to his brothers. Now Canaan was the son of Ham, but Canaan would also become the name of a nation of people who would settle in the land that God would eventually give to His people, Israel. The prophecy would come true, generations later, as Israel took control of the land God has promised them and subjugated the Canaanites.
But before the time for Ham’s crime was served by his descendants, the fortunes of his family were quite impressive. Genesis 10 describes Nimrod as a mighty warrior and, “a mighty hunter before the Lord” (10:9). Ham’s branch of the family was to become a fierce lot. They founded empires: Babylon and Nineveh, among other places. Their clans reached out to Gaza and provided the foundations for the nation of the Philistines. They became the Hittites, Jebusites and the Amorites.
Mighty nations all—and thorns in the flesh of the people who were to become the nation of Israel.
What impresses me here is the understanding that all the history that was to follow these families described in Genesis 10 would revolve around a battle between brothers. All that happens in our world today is a battle between brothers. We all stem from the same roots, the same family. We are all related.
That fact should give us pause to think about how we treat even the strangers who cross our paths. Certainly the relationship is a complicated one, but even VERY distant cousins deserve some respect.
I know it sounds naïve. None of us can change the world by being nice to the cousin whose name we don’t even know. But if we all treated the next stranger we meet like a long-lost cousin, maybe the world might change for the better just a little. Enough “littles” will eventually end up to be a lot.

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