Modelling Our Faith for All to SeeOctober 4, 2021 - 12:00 am
“This is the account of Noah and his family.“
“Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.”— Genesis 6:9-10
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Noach, from the name of the main character, Noah. It is from Genesis 6:9–11:32.
All of us are products of our time. Our attitudes and opinions are forged in the world in which we are raised. As a mother, I try to be on alert for harmful messages and values that run counter to a life of biblical faith. It’s not always easy.
The truth is that for all the ways that life has been made easier by modernity, protecting our children in a culture that is often hostile to faith in God is a challenge that our ancestors centuries ago probably didn’t face. Certainly not to the extent that we do in our era of the internet, smartphones, and secular mass media.
But one thing is certain, the way that I as a mother express my faith in God will set an example for my children that is more powerful than anything coming from outside our home.
Modelling Our Faith for All to See
This exact lesson is right there in the opening verse of this week’s Torah portion. The verse begins by telling us it “is the account of Noah and his family” and then goes on to describe Noah’s personal piety and how he lived out his faith in God. It’s only in the following verse that the Bible tells us the details of his family, naming his three children: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
At first glance, it looks like the Bible is interrupting a discussion of Noah’s family to describe his piety and faith. But I believe that this is not what the Bible is saying. The Bible is teaching us about how Noah raised his children.
“The account of Noah and his family” begins with the fact that Noah was “blameless among the people of his time.” In a society so corrupt that God would destroy it, Noah was unaffected by the immoral culture around him. But he didn’t keep his piety private, where nobody else could see it.
The Bible goes on to say that Noah “walked faithfully with God.” Noah was modelling his faith for all to see, especially his children, who are listed in the very next verse.
This is a lesson for all of us. We must walk faithfully with God regardless of the messages from the culture around us, modelling our faith for all to see and setting an example for our children.