Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. Genesis 9:20-21
Wine is spoken of favorably in scripture. God asked for wine to be used as an offering in the book of Numbers. But like anything, when it is consumed in excess, clear and sound thinking is compromised.
Noah coasted for just a moment. While he is recounted as a righteous man in the hallmark chapter of the bible, he was not perfect. (Nor is anyone else mentioned in Hebrews 11.) Noah had passed God’s great test of obedience by faithfully building the ark for 120 years. He withstood the emotional and spiritual challenges of leading his family while hearing the earth destroyed. Now, the flood is behind him. The storm has passed and earth is a friendly place to live. Coasting is never a wise posture because vigilance is laid aside.
For a moment, he laid his judgment aside and drank too much. He stripped himself bare, exposed what he never would have thought of exposing while sober, and succumbed to shame. His judgment was suspended while under the intoxicating effects of alcohol.
Some years ago, Jaime and I were at a major airport about to board a plane. At the gate, we stood in line behind our pilot and crew who were checking in with the gate agent. The smell of alcohol was overwhelming. Being a peace-loving person, I was not anxious to have to do something about the situation but it became apparent that over 300 people were boarding an aircraft, in bad weather, about to fly cross-country with a severely compromised pilot. I finally spoke to the gate agent who pacified me and offered to do nothing. I asked for a supervisor, then another, then another. Now, Jaime and I are the only ones who have not boarded and the plane is delayed. Finally, the last supervisor went on the aircraft and walked off with the pilot in question. He approached us, reeking now of cologne, and lamented that we would think he might have been drinking while on duty. Hating to be in that position, I was required to speak up. I stood my ground, told him that I had indeed smelled alcohol. I assured him that we would be boarding the plane but praying for him throughout the flight – that God would override his impaired judgment.
All this is a reminder this morning that any addiction, even to something supposedly good and God-given, becomes an impairment. Nakedness and exposure are the result. Under the influence, how many secrets are revealed! Never am I more vulnerable than after weathering a storm, after a spiritual victory.
Coasting is for heaven, Lord, not here. Make me ever vigilant on enemy territory. Amen