The sad fact of Noah’s fall so soon after his literal ‘coming down to earth’ (having spent a year in the ark), should not surprise us. Noah was after all a descendant of Adam, and as such we should not be amazed that Noah was able to sin. The life of Noah is no fairy tale, and there is no living happily ever after for him and his family. Sin with its many tentacles (and in this case Noah’s drunkenness) remains a curse and it is this that accounts for the complicated history of mankind. So let us not be amazed that Noah would sin so soon after his exit from the ark. Rather, let us be amazed that God, for whom every sin is contrary to His pure and holy being, should have chosen to bear with mankind so long after the flood.
We have seen that God deals with Noah, not in the way of what he deserves. He deals with Noah by way of a covenant. We have first seen a confirmation of this covenant in Genesis 6:18 & 9:9, “Then God said to Noah and to his sins with him, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you.”
A word that is often used in the OT to describe God’s heart behind this this covenant is the word translated as “loving kindness“ or “steadfast love” (ESV). The best word to describe this loving kindness may be summed up in a single word:Grace! Noah found grace (favour) in the eyes of the Lord. (Gen. 6:8).
God's loving-kindness is illustrated in the OT in His relationship with Israel. Despite Israel's persistent waywardness could God would not relinquish his love for her. The book of Hosea bears eloquent testimony to this (see for instance Hosea 11). Even though Israel was faithless, yet God remained faithful. But the supreme and final token of God’s covenant kindness is seen in the cross of Christ. “But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom.5:8) The “us”, according to John are those “…who did receive Him, who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God.”
So then as Noah wakes up from his drunken stupor, a series of events is set into motion which would profoundly affect the history of the peoples of the world. And so it is. It is often the small, seemingly unimportant things that trigger huge events. You may have heard this before, but it’s worth repeating:
“For Want of a Nail”
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
Such illustrations we find in the Bible. One disobedience in terms of eating the forbidden fruit drives Adam and Eve out of the garden of God’s presence. This act of disobedience by our first parents has huge consequences for the whole of mankind.
One murder drives Cain and his future offspring even further away from God and into the land of wandering.
A little too much wine causes Noah to behave inappropriately, and a little too much gazing upon the naked body of his father, as he lies exposed in the tent, affects Ham and his future family.
Noah discovers upon awaking from his hangover that he had been dishonoured by his youngest son, Ham, and following this he utters a prophecy with far reaching consequences, containing a curse upon his youngest son Ham and a blessing upon his two other sons, Shem and Japheth.
THE CURSE AND THE BLESSING
What is the link between Noah’s fall and Noah’s prophecy ? Following his own sin Noah in vv. 25-27 makes a profound utterance concerning the future of his three sons which is forms an outline of the beginning of the three great divisions of the human family after the great flood. From Gen. 10:32 we know that the great races of the earth are all descended from Noah through Shem, Ham and Japheth.
What will be the history of the races that spring from Noah’s three sons? How will the new world begin?
It can only begin with human failure, and so we must not be surprised to see the rapid spread of sin and evil so soon after the flood . I remind you of the initial sequence of sin Noah sins – Ham sins – and Ham’s son, and Canaan, the father of the Canaanites, becomes the epitome of sin in the Bible.
But here’s what we need to understand. These words of Noah were not simply uttered as a result of resentment against Ham for having entered Noah’s private space while he was lying drunk and exposed in his tent. That may be so at face value. There is however far more in Noah’s words than just a temper tantrum or words spoken in anger. These words spoken in 9:25-27 were in fact spoken as prophecy. They were uttered under a Divine impulse! This fact is proven by the fulfilment of the prophecy itself. A careful comparison of other Scriptures shows us this, and its remarkable fulfilment demonstrates that this was indeed a prophetic word.
This prophecy consists of two pronouncements: a curse and a blessing.
Initially, the cursing and the blessing had something to do with the way the sons had approached their drunk and naked father in his tent. Ham seems to have dishonoured his father by his irreverent approach. This is later described as the 5th commandment Ex.20:22. He had failed to honour his father here. It seems as if Ham may have used this moment not only to gaze shamelessly upon his naked father, but he might have also ridiculed him to his brothers. Philip Eveson says, “Corrupt minds feed on scantily dressed or naked bodies in suggestive positions. The modern media have made their millions through pandering to human lust” 
The contrast in attitude is observed when his brothers, Shem and Japheth walk into the tent,‘backwards ‘ (i.e. respectfully!) so that that they would not see their father’s nakedness, and covered him with a garment. Their attitudes and therefore their action is in direct contrast to Ham. Had he really cared for his father’s reputation he would have acted as his brothers did. The moral law (the 10 Commandments) which were given later with Moses, included the necessity of children maintaining respect for their parents. Children who disrespected their parents, according to the OT law were even liable the death penalty. (Deut. 21: 18-21) Shem and Japheth continued to treat their father with respect, even though he had compromised himself. We must never gloat over the sins of others. We must never add to their shame by our own shameful behaviour.
And now we see something peculiar. When Noah wakes up from his drunken stupor he curses not Ham, but his son Canaan, and in the curse passed upon Canaan we find a very solemn instance of the sins of the fathers being visited upon the children.
Note the consequence: he reaped exactly as he had sown—Ham sinned as a son and was punished in his son!  (A.W.Pink). So, the curse uttered by Noah did not fall directly on Ham but upon one of his sons, in fact, the fourth son who was called "Canaan" (see Gen. 10:6). So, we discover that not all the sons of Ham bore the curse! Canaan bore the curse!
We have to make this point because there is some horrible theology that has been associated with this text. The appalling misuse of this passage had been sometimes used by to justify the enslaving of the African people. This warped theology came mainly from the proponents of slavery in 19th Century America and Britain, who ignored the unexplained transition from Ham to Canaan in Noah’s curse, and who drew the simplistic conclusion that according to Ch. 10, Ham was the ancestor of Africans, concluding that his black descendants may be rightfully enslaved. However , they ignored the plain fact that the curse is directed against Canaan, and Canaan was neither black, nor African!
The Canaanites were the inhabitants of the territory that was promised by God on oath to Abraham and his descendants. And these Canaanite tribes of which you read – they were the cursed people, and the prophecy was fulfilled when Israel took over that land, and they were either annihilated or subjected to slavery with the conquest of Canaan under Joshua. In many instances the Canaanites actually became a stumbling block to Israel when Joshua and Israel failed to drive them out of the land. The point is that this is the fulfillment of the curse in relation to the promised land. It has nothing to do with Africans.
Besides that we do not actually know, who exactly the Hamitic races might be today. That issue is not exactly relevant to the central message of the Bible , since it is now clear to us that “ all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Today there are really only two types of people in this world today, Christians and non-Christians, and they are not separated along racial lines!From the clear perspective of the N.T. it is important to understand that all tribes, nations and tongues are fallen. The curse rests on the entire human race, and no man shall escape the coming judgement by fire, unless they are washed in the blood of the Lamb!
The curse was upon Canaan. And the particular blessing expressed was upon (note) the God of Shem."Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant.” (v.26) Donald Grey Barnhouse says, “The blessing is not upon Shem, but upon the God of Shem. Nothing can take root in man. It is the God of Shem who will bring forth Christ from Shem “
This fact speaks of the continued covenant relationship in which God was to enter into a covenant relationship with the children of Shem. The realization that Yahweh was to be the God of Shem caused Noah to break forth into thanksgiving—"Blessed be the Lord God of Shem." It is very clear that the Shemites are the Semites, from which the Hebrew people are descended , and through whose line the Lord Jesus was to be born.
"May God enlarge the territory of Japeth (v. 27). The name Japheth means "enlargement" so that here there was a play upon words. The Japhetites are most probably the progenitors of Greeks, Romans etc. the first fruit among the gentiles following the preaching of the gospel to the gentiles. It was through the influence of the Greek and Roman empires that the gospel spread – and so it was: "May Japheth live in the tents of Shem."
THE FULFILMENT OF NOAH'S PROPHECY
This prophecy uttered by Noah gives us in a few brief sentences the history of the new world and thus in the closing verses of Genesis 9 we have an unfolding of the future destinies of the new humanity. Shem is to have the spiritual pre- eminence among his brothers; to Japheth is given the task of enlarging their territory; and Ham and his sons are left without a substantial commission, except that Canaan is cursed.
An attempt to categorise exactly as to who today descends from whom is futile.
The NT view needs to guide out OT interpretation. We are assured that all the nations today are in need of the gospel. The temptation to separate this or that nation as God’s favourites (as has been attempted in many instances in history) will just not do. “All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God”. No single civilization, including the Hebrews have ever managed to live righteously before God.
What we do understand clearly from this text is that God’s plan is clearly outlined in history.
What we know is that God’s blessing would be upon Shem – but only, because this was the one through whom the promised Messiah (the Lamb that would take away the sin of the world) would be given. In this Shem was singularly privileged – but (note!) the glory goes to the blessed God of Shem! Shem himself, was subject to sin as were his brothers.
What we know is that the whole world needs a Saviour.
What we know is that this Saviour has come.
And all the nations must bow before Him.
He alone will present us perfectly before the presence of God’s glory.
That is the true future of the human race.
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/For_Want_of_a_Nail The earliest reference to the full proverb may refer to the death of Richard III of England at the Battle of Bosworth Field. This short variation of the proverb (shown to the right), was published in "Fifty Famous People" by James Baldwin. The story associated with the proverb, describing the unhorsing of King Richard during battle, would place the proverb's origin after the Battle of Bosworth on 22 August 1485. However, historically Richard's horse was merely mired in the mud. In the story, the proverb and its reference to losing a horse is directly linked to King Richard famously shouting "A Horse! A Horse! My Kingdom for a Horse!", as depicted in Act V, Scene 4 from the Shakespeare play Richard III, which was written circa 1591
 See Deuteronomy 28 for a further example
 Philip Eveson :The Book of Genesis simply explained, p. 202 ( Evangelical Press)
 A.W. Pink :Gleanings from Genesis, p.
 D.G. Barnhouse : Genesis , p. 66