Alcohol and Piloting

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  ESV

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 consumed in excess, clear and sound thinking is compromised.

Noah coasted for just a moment.  While he was 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 knowing the earth would be destroyed.  The flood is now behind him.  The storm has passed, and earth is once again a beautiful place to live. 

For a moment, Noah lost his vigilance, 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. 

Some years ago, Jaime (my daughter) and I were at a major airport about to board a plane.   At the gate, we stood in line behind our pilot who was checking in with the gate agent.  The smell of alcohol was overwhelming.  Being a peace-loving person to a fault, 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, and about to fly cross-country with a severely compromised captain. 

I spoke with the gate agent who attempted to pacify me. I then asked for a supervisor and then had to request his superior.  Now, Jaime and I are the only ones who have not boarded, and the plane is delayed.  Finally, the most senior employee there went on the aircraft and walked off with the pilot in tow.  They approached us, and we were taken back by the strong smell of cologne.  The pilot lamented to me that we would think he might have been drinking while on duty.  Uncomfortable, I was put in a position to have to speak up.  I stood my ground and 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 that any addiction is an impairment.  Nakedness and exposure can be the results.  Under the influence, how many secrets are revealed!  Never am I more vulnerable than after weathering a storm, or after a spiritual victory.

Coasting is for heaven, Lord, not here.  Make me ever vigilant.  Amen

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