Drunk and Naked
He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. Genesis 9:21
I rarely write of current events, but I recently read a news story of another pastor whose secret misdeeds had come to light. The details of his indiscretion were shocking. How could he be so stupid?
These stories should probably not surprise us. Though we like to make heroes out of our leaders, they are still like us and like us, still have struggles. We tend to categorize people as all good or all bad, elevating some inappropriately while demonizing others inappropriately. Not all will fail in such a way as to make the news, but everyone struggles with some destructive behavior.
This brings us to today’s passage, which is not a salacious, personal confession, but rather a somewhat bizarre account of Noah, after the flood. In the story, Noah had learned how to make wine and wasted no time in getting drunk. As Noah had just saved mankind, perhaps he felt he deserved a drink. So, he got drunk and to the shame of his family, passed out naked.
I’m unsure why these stories are included in the Bible, but I am thankful they are. Noah’s intoxication shows his humanness. As he was chosen by God to build the ark, I think of him as a hero, incapable of failure, but here, we see that just like everyone else, he had his defects.
What does this mean for me? It means that I should never become so prideful in my faith that I think myself incapable of failure. This means that I should not worship spiritual leaders to the point where I think they are incapable of sin. God does not use only perfect people because there are none.
This does not mean that we do not lament failure or hold the guilty accountable. It just means that we must have the humility to realize that we all have our struggles. None of us are immune to the destructive appetites of our flesh. Not even Noah. This did not stop God from using him.