The Puzzling Blessing of a Curse

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes marvel at scripture. It amazes me sometimes how in the story of scripture I see God take that which is broken, cursed and even twisted and turn the story into something redemptive.

Consider the story of Ham. You remember him. His dad was Noah. Well, some years after the flood, Noah got drunk on some wine, which had come from the vineyard he’d planted. Ham saw his father naked, and apparently with some glee went and told his brothers—Shem and Japheth—about his father’s condition.

It’s curious. When Noah learns of Ham’s indiscretion, he pronounces a curse. But the curse is upon, not Ham, but upon the fourth son of Ham—who just happens to be Canaan. Why Canaan? I’m not sure we’ll ever know the full story, but some commentators have remarked that Noah had seen the same troublesome traits in Canaan.

But of course the story doesn’t end there. Canaan moves away and establishes himself in cities, which ultimately becomes known as the land of Canaan. This land of Canaan is the very same land which God promises to Abraham.

The curse becomes the promised land. The curse becomes the blessing. And it seems that is how God works. He takes that which is broken, and redeems it. Our lives, of course, are part of that redemptive story.

It strikes me that is why giving is so powerful. Our giving reflects our participation in God’s divine and redemptive work. It reflects the idea that we can participate with the Master in celebrating how He makes all things new—even that which was cursed.

William High is the President/General Counsel of the Servant Foundation. Servant’s mission is to inspire, teach and facilitate revolutionary biblical generosity. He may be reached at

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