Tonight on a whim I searched in a Bible search engine “wine.” The first result was discouraging.
20 Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. 21 He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. 23 Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. 24 When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said,
“Cursed be Canaan;
a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.”
26 He also said,
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem;
and let Canaan be his servant.
27 May God enlarge Japheth,[d]
and let him dwell in the tents of Shem,
and let Canaan be his servant.”
28 After the flood Noah lived 350 years. 29 All the days of Noah were 950 years, and he died.
Bummer, man. The first instance of wine in the Bible has such great potential. Noah and his family had just lived out great faithfulness. They became, in a matter of 40-ish days, the only humans on the face of the earth. They created a covenant, built an altar. Then, he planted a vineyard – so cool, right? A sign of new life? …and messed it up with a super awkward story of naked drunkenness. Not much has changed in 2,000 years, huh?
I think it’s a great illustration, though, and one that’s on my mind pretty much all the time. What does God think about wine? Would Jesus have gotten drunk on that wine he changed from water in Cana? Well – we know getting drunk isn’t okay, but would he have had a couple glasses?
I’d like to get all the facts on the table, to call out EVERY verse on wine in the Bible, and see what comes from it. This research is mainly for personal reasons; when Cody and I moved out to California, we experienced a little 7-10 split of reactions in our tiny home town of Orange City, Iowa.
Side One: “No. Way. You are moving to California to be WINEMAKERS??!! Ugggghhh and I’m stuck here working in this government-run hospital or going to grad school. I wish my life was that cool.”
Side Two [What they said out loud]: “Oh! My. How exciting. How adventurous. How… different. My, my. Good luck to you! [What their faces said]: “NOOOOOO Satan has claimed another two souls to the rocky soil of worldliness! Dare they make a living from alcohol! Surely not!”
We’ve been living in California and working in the wine industry for shortly over a year now, and the two sides have swayed back and forth in my head. Fact: Christians are supposed to be different. To live differently. Also fact: Paul says to be a ______ for the _____, to be flexible with lifestyles (not beliefs, but lifestyles) to better communicate the Gospel. Fact: Jesus turned water into wine. Fact: the Bible says not to get drunk, right there in the list of debauchery and sexual immorality and all those cousins of destruction.
So which is it. Black and white or 50 shades of pomace-colored grey? I intend to find out. And this is the part where I open a new Word Document to collect Biblical data. Boom, baby. Three blog followers out there, I will keep you posted.