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Righteous Excess Righteous Excess

Righteous Excess


A prominent pastor faces accusations of sexual impropriety. A Christian college president admits to financial misdeeds. A ministry leader is revealed to be verbally abusive to the staff. Behind each new revelation are broken lives and damaged trust, magnifying the toll of the sin.

We might be surprised to read that one of Noah’s first recorded acts after the Flood was to get drunk. His actions seem out of character for someone whom Scripture describes as righteous (Ezek. 14:14, 20; 2 Peter 2:5). Likely significant time elapsed between Noah’s departure from the ark and his night of excessive drinking. He had to begin farming and plant the vineyard (v. 20). He had to harvest the grapes and then wait for them to ferment. The original Hebrew language of this text suggests that this was Noah’s first foray into farming, and some have wondered whether Noah’s drunkenness was perhaps accidental.

The focus of the passage is actually less on Noah’s failure and more on the response of his three sons. Ham was first to see his father lying naked in a drunken stupor. He told his brothers, and they covered their father while averting their eyes (vv. 22–23). Most scholars believe that Noah’s curse against Canaan, Ham’s son (10:6), implies that Ham’s response to what he saw was either contemptuous or lustful. Canaan seems to have shared his father’s taste for that which was impure. Noah’s words were also prophetic, pointing forward in history to Canaanite sin and God’s judgment upon it through His people (see Lev. 18:3).

Noah was the most righteous man of his generation—but he was not perfect. Even his heroic faith did not prevent him from falling into devastating sin. Jesus is the only one who will not disappoint us.

Pray with Us

Paul Santhouse, vice president of Moody Publishers, welcomes the prayers of the Moody family for his teams. Thank the Lord today for the opportunity to spread the Word of God and to encourage believers through the printed word.

BY Dr. John Koessler

Dr. John Koessler, who retired as professor emeritus from Moody Bible Institute, formerly served in the division of applied theology and church ministry. John and his wife Jane enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan. A prolific writer, John’s books include Dangerous Virtues: How to Follow Jesus When Evil Masquerades as Good (Moody Publishers), The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody), and True Discipleship (Moody). John is a contributing editor and columnist for Today in the Word.

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