Monday, June 16, 2008

Genesis 9 - We show our drunks

Chapter 9 is jam packed with some pivotal information. In it, God instructs us to "be fruitful and increase in number." He lays out the symbolism of the rainbow and promises never to wipe us out again with a flood. He establishes boundaries for the protection of human life and the very relationship between us and all the animals. But that's not why I like chapter 9. I like it because Noah gets drunk.

Not that I support drunkenness. Not at all. Not that I like Noah sinning and laying naked in his tent, essentially passed out from too much wine. It's actually a pretty gross picture of a man that just followed God with all his heart. The reason I like it is because it's real.

Different people have different criticisms of the Bible. It's full of errors because it was written by man. It's not true. It's not relevant to this day and age. There is no shortage of arguments that attempt to defame the Bible, but one that is really hard to make is that "the Bible isn't real."

Verses like 21, "When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent" are such perfect examples of how very real the Bible is. Noah is a hero of faith. He should be held up as a great man. He walked with God and helped save mankind. But when he fell, when he got drunk and lay nude, the Bible didn't gloss over that. The Bible didn't sugar coat that story or omit it. The Bible tells us like it is. When our heroes rise, we see that, when they fall, we see that too.

I don't know if other religions treat their heroes like that, but I am glad the Bible does. I am glad the word of God is real and deals with both the beautiful and the ugly. Because it means that I can trust both.


Helen said...

Good point, Jon. Don't forget David, who was sort of a superhero until the thing with Bathsheba. I remember the first time I read the story, I kept thinking "Oh no he didn't!" I really expected it to turn out differently that first time, too. I thought David would rethink his plan and say "Look, Uriah, I've done a bad thing. I really bad thing and I don't deserve the loyalty you have shown me." I cried when that didn't happen. Of course, now that I am ancient 38, I realize that there are no superheroes except Jesus. Noah's and David's sin and need for redemption are part of the point. Thanks for the post. It really got me thinking, and I like that!

haemin said...

good stuff. it takes a while for me to process this kind of stuff, so i don't have a more substantial comment right now. i just wanted to say that i've been reading and it's been good. thanks.

Troy & Tara Livesay Family said...

Amen Jon. Very true, thanks!

Jules said...

This is absolutely one of my favorite thing about the Bible. Seriously. Because I have done some spectacularly unholy things in my day, and it is such a comfort to be able to turn to the Bible and realize that even the big dogs dropped the ball from time to time. (With the notable exception of Christ Himself).

It reminds me that even though I do a sucktacular* job of being a Christian sometimes, God can still use me. Moreover, He still loves me. Like that whole David/Bathsheba thing. In God's eyes David was "a man after His own heart." How powerful is that? You gotta love a God who is that much bigger than your sin. And you gotta love a faith that lets you see that in real and beautiful ugliness. Also, if it's good enough for God's word, it's good enough for my life... rather than sugar coating my faith, I've started to try to show people exactly how much God had/has forgiven in my life. Grace is awesome and speaks for itself.

*You are hereby notified that I am officially integrating "sucktacular" into my vocabulary.

bethany said...

I don't think that I've ever thought about that before - but it's very good. I can remember being slightly crestfallen when I moved from reading the kids' Bible story picture books to reading the real stories in the Bible... simply because the old testament heroes weren't perfect. And I thought that they were. Maybe it kind of gives me more of a realization too, that God knows that none of us are going to be perfect, but He still loves us and can use us. Once again, good post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Sheryl said...

i love this post! and i love that the bible tells it like it is. none of us are perfect not even those who are "heroes of the faith". it's been a belief of mine that the more real we are, the more people are drawn to Christ. i get tired of those who won't truly let you in, who don't want to show their junk. i say show it because it proves we're real and it proves what a god of mercy and grace we serve! okay, stepping off my pulpit.

Rob said...


I agree of the main things I've learned in reading through the Bible this year is how much like us the people are...there is a great span of time, but the attitudes, faults, sins, and problems are timeless. I'm also encouraged that God uses screwed-up people, because I'm one, too.

Jeffrey said...

I'll go with this, but particularly the David thing. After all God did for him he committed adultery and murdered, but was humble enough to repent. Yet Christ called him a man after God's own heart.

It nice to know all Christians are broken and God fixes us all. Even if we don't allow ourselves to be that person in the church.

scott said...

We actually read this chapter in my world lit class (my teacher loves to bash religion) and sadly many students use passages such as this as a basis for their idea of God's nature. One of my good friends couldn't believe that Noah of all people would get drunk and then curse his grandson. I hope she will realize the truth of God's love and see that He still loves and blesses us even though we are screwed up.
Thanks for the posts - I love all of them.

katdish said...

I wonder if some people only skim over the parts in the bible where God shows people's "junk". When we understand that God can use our shortcomings for His glory, our witness only grows stronger. Thanks, Jon. Good stuff.

Flesheater said...

Great point.

Not to mention it shows us he wasn't on some high level above us that we can't get to.
He was human like us, and we to can do great things for G-d, just like we to can do horrible things against G-d.