SOS Noah Part 2

We had been at our task so long, it felt good to get back to farming again.  Reading the seasons and feeling dry earth upon my hands was simple joy.  The grapes were in and we were finally eating fresh food that we had grown ourselves.  It felt good.

Our wine had run out some years before and we were just now building back up to what my family would consider normal.  I tasted one of the new wines and it was heavenly.  I took a skin and sat watching the sunset, drinking in peace.  When that was done, I got another.  I don’t know that I consciously intended to get drunk, but I have to be honest… I wanted, at least for a little while, to forget.

I wanted to forget what had happened, forget the weight of the world that had literally been on my shoulders for generations.  I wanted to forget the cities that were now gone.  I wanted, for a little while, to forget the friends of childhood that had been swept away in the storm of His judgment.  I wanted to forget the wood and the grain and the animals in their sevens and twos.  I wanted to forget the earthy smell of creation as we cared for her. I wanted to forget the rocking days on the crest of the waters wondering how long it would take before we saw land again.

I drank.  I let go completely.  I should not have.

I don’t remember much after that.

I woke up in my bed and the story slowly came to me.

My son had found me naked and alone, passed out in sin and shame.  With nothing but evil intent, he immediately ran to tell whomever he could.  I sensed that he took delight in it.

My other sons were more true.  Shem and Japheth walked in backwards carrying a garment on their shoulders and they covered me with the honor and the dignity of men who walk with God.  They turned their faces away from me, caught in my sin, so they would not even look upon my shame.  They brought me to a place of rest and watched over me until I came back to myself.

I walked with God and I still do.  My failing doesn’t change fundamentally who I am and it certainly doesn’t change Who He is.  Don’t misunderstand.  I have no excuses to give.  I own completely my drunkenness and the fact that my actions brought dishonor to God and my family.

The revelation in my story isn’t that we’re flawed.  We knew that already.  It isn’t that we can’t be righteous on our own, that’s a given.  We need God to help us on our way and this will always be true.  The consideration here is, how do we respond when we find someone caught in sin?

At some point in this life, you’ll find someone worthy of love in a place where they are caught in their own sin.  You’ll see them in that horrible place where embarrassment and shame replace everything else.  You’ll have a choice to make.

You can approach them with a heart filled with pride and a desire to add evil to evil.

Or you can find your brother and walk into that place backwards, carrying the cloth of redemption on your shoulders. You will have the chance to find the very heart of God in helping even the best of men come back to His presence with honor.

Choose well.

But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were turned away, so that they did not see their father’s nakedness.  (The Account of Genesis, 9)

Devotional Thought for the Day

How do you want to be treated on the day you are uncovered?  How do you want the men you know to respond when you are the one undone?  What action do you want people to take when you have lost all self-control and moved beyond the laws of God and of man in moments or patterns of weakness?

Should we make failings known to other people as quickly as possible?  Do we run to tell our brothers?  Is it loving to further damage families and people for the sake of flaunting the story?  Do we laugh and mock and delight in the fall of great men?  Do we arrogantly shake our heads and whisper cautionary tales about how they should have known better?  Do we pass judgment on them and write off their work and purpose in the earth?

Do we recognize that they are still children of God?

Do we refuse to gossip about the shame of our brothers and friends, our fathers and sons?  Do we walk in backwards, carrying the holy cloth of His restoration and grace and seek to protect them?  Do we turn our face and treat their dignity as something precious – not to be touched by human hands?  Do we bring them to a place of healing and safety?

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