Summary: Like the biblical saints, Noah, Abram, Jonah, David and Peter, who wound up in the wrong places and sinned, we also wind up in the wrong places and we look to Elijah for the answer.
Back in the 80's when the movie Urban Cowboy was released, even the most urban city folk traded in their baseball caps for Stetsons, listened to country music and learned how to line dance. One of the hit songs then was Waylon Jennings “Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places.”
Some of the lyrics were:
I've spent a lifetime looking for you
Single bars and good times, never true
I was looking for love in all the wrong places
Looking for love in too many faces
Don't know where it started or where it might end
I turn to a stranger, just like a friend
You came a'knocking at my heart's door..
You're everything I've been looking for..
God bless the day I discover
You, oh you, lookin' for love...
And some of us can relate to winding up in all the wrong places. There’s an old country saying that the good Lord looks after the foolhardy and the Devil takes care of his own. In my own case, I’m thankful to God that He does indeed look after the foolhardy. And maybe as you look back at your own life you see those many times when you, like me, just seemed to foolishly wind up in wrong places. Well, according to my Bible, we are not alone. Noah, Elijah, Abram, Jonah, David, Peter. Have you ever noticed how the most saintly Saints also keep winding up in all the wrong places?
Noah and the Ark. We’ve all known this story since Sunday School. But in Sunday school we only hear the “G” rated version. Noah was used mightily by God. He built the ark, saved mankind and the animals from annihilation. Then the flood dissipated. The waters dried up. Genesis 8:20 says that the first thing this man of God did was to build an altar to the Lord and God blessed Noah and his sons. Period. This is where we usually stop the story because we don’t like what happened next. Because Noah winds up in the wrong place and goes from flannel board hero to R-rated sinner.
TURN TO Genesis 9:18 Now the sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And Ham was the father of Canaan. 19 These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated. 20 And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. 21 Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent. (It seems that one moment Noah is building an altar and worshiping God and the next moment he is in the wrong place. Lying drunk and naked on the floor of his tent.) 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. 23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father's nakedness.24 So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him. 25 Then he said: "Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brethren."
We don’t exactly know what the sin of Ham was, but Noah’s extraordinary response would indicate perhaps that it was more sinister than Ham just accidently seeing his father naked. There was a curse put on that family line that extended for thousands of years. But it all started with Noah being in the wrong place. Drunk and naked.
TURN TO Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." (Abram and his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot and their followers went to Canaan.) And VERSE 7 Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants I will give this land." And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.
God gave Abram the land and said this is where you need to settle down but disobedient Abram split and went South. Abram who we also know as Abraham was called by God for His purposes much like Noah. God suspended judgement over His people, and through Noah and Abraham, God gave His people a gift of salvation. God provided land, food and water. Noah and Abraham both build altars and worship God. And then soon after, they both wind up mired in a wrong place and a bad situation.