Too Close

by: Dr. Bob Gray Sr.

Genesis 9:23, “And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.”

This is an ugly scene! This is a terrible scene! Picture the man who for 120 years had built an Ark, the man who was called the preacher of righteousness, the man who found grace in the eyes and sight of the Lord, the only man whose family was saved from judgment in the flood, a man who never wavered for 120 years, and a man who believed God when it had never rained before and preached that there was going to be a flood! What a man!

He is now with a sordid and ugly scene happening in his life. This wonderful man is found drunk. It is so easy after a great victory to stumble. Check the Scriptures and you will see it. It was right after the great victory on Mount Carmel that Elijah became scared and ran in a backslidden state. It was after the great victory where we find Job, who had stood the test, becoming proud and God had to bring him back down to his knees. It was right after the great revival in Nineveh when Jonah backslid and began to pout.

Now the victory is over and the flood is over and we find Noah in this awful gory scene, as he is drunk naked inside of his tent. Yet, there is a beautiful and decent little golden thread that runs through this story, something that you will not see unless someone calls it to your attention.

Here is Ham! He goes inside the tent and there is this awful sordid picture. May I divert just for a moment and address the modern psychologists who insist that parents bathe with their children and say they are nuts! My Bible says that a child is not supposed to see the nakedness of his parents.

Ham goes in and sees the nakedness of his father. He goes out and says to his two brothers, Shem and Japheth, that dad is in the tent drunk and naked. Shem and Japheth don’t want to see the nakedness of their father. They know he is in the tent naked, but they do not want to see it. So, they take a garment and go backwards into the tent to place that garment over their father.

CommonwealthBC_14Think about this! They knew their dad was not perfect, but they did not want to see the imperfection of their dad. These boys did not have the Scriptures, the written Word, Genesis, Deuteronomy, Numbers, or Leviticus where God taught they were not to see the nakedness of their parents.

They knew their father was not perfect. They knew their father was a sinner, drunk, and naked in that tent, but they did not want to see it even though they knew it was true. Anyone who is over you is there because God placed them there in your life, and if you are not careful you will miss the fact that God put them there and you will end up excusing your rebellion because of their imperfection. Here are some sons who said, “We know it’s true, but we don’t want to see it.”

I had the wonderful honor of preaching with Dr. Jack Hyles at least once a month for 22 years. Wait a minute, I knew he was not perfect because he was a human being like me, but I did not want to see his imperfection. I needed a hero. You need a hero. I knew he had weaknesses, but I did not want to see them. I knew he had sins, but I did not want to see them. I refused to allow myself to get that close.

Most divorces are caused because there is no mystique between husbands and wives anymore. Ladies, dress up for your husband like you would for guests in your home. Most church splits are caused because people become too close to each other. They begin to see all the warts. They see all the imperfections. They see all of the sins and here comes trouble in that church.

If you become too close to a staff member, let me tell you what you will find! As it is written, he is not righteous, he does not understand, and he does not seek after God. Let me tell you what you will find if you get too close to anyone. Romans 3:10-18 describes what you will find. Paul is speaking here about the Jews and the Gentiles. The Jews thought they were better than the Gentiles. The Apostle Paul is saying you are no better than the Gentiles. He describes every human in these verses. This is the biography of Dr. Jack Hyles, Dr. John R. Rice, Dr. Curtis Hutson, Dr. B. R. Lakin, Dr. Lee Roberson and the Dr. Tom Malone’s of this world.

We have lost our mystique! You are going to find that your wife has the poison of asps under her lips, she is unprofitable, a throat that’s an open sepulcher, a tongue that uses deceit, her mouth is full of cursing and bitterness, her feet are swift to shed blood, and wives who become too close to their husbands will find the same thing out about them.

Let me see the beautiful forests, but do not let me become too close to see the knots, broken branches, dead branches, serpents, insects or the spiders. Let me stay at a distance and see the autumn time as the forest puts her coat of many colors on like Joseph of old. Let me step back and see it! Don’t let me become too close to see the diseased and dying tree. These two boys said, “We know daddy is a sinner, but we do not want to be reminded that daddy is a sinner.”

Tell me of Peter’s sermon on Pentecost, the 3,000 souls saved and baptized. Tell me of Peter saying in Matthew chapter 16 when Jesus asked, “Whom say ye that I am?” and Peter rose to his eloquence and replied, “Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God.” Tell me about Peter when he saw 3,000 saved. Tell me about Peter when he was crucified upside down. Tell me about that, but don’t let me get so close that I see him cursing and denying the Lord. Don’t major on that!

Tell me about David defeating Goliath, taking his own hands and killing a bear and a lion. Tell me about David who was forgiving Shimei for hurling stones at him and cursing him. Tell me about David when he knew that King Saul was attempting to kill him and he found Saul at the opening of his cave. He pulled his sword out of its sheath and could have pierced the heart of Saul, but he did not do it. Tell me about David when he wrote, “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.” Tell me about David when he wrote the Psalms. Tell me about David when he was so happy when the Ark came back, but don’t tell me and don’t major on what happened with Bathsheba and Uriah. Please allow me to go backwards and place the garment over the Bathsheba and Uriah incident. I know he did it, but I don’t want to see it. I want to think about David with the slingshot and the felling of the giant.

Tell me about Moses going to Pharaoh and telling him, “Let my people go…” Tell me about Moses coming to the people and explaining to them the Passover Lamb. Tell me about Moses when he led those people out of Egypt. Tell me about Moses when he took the rod and smote the waters of the Red Sea and they parted. Tell me about Moses when he walked over and led the Israelites over on dry ground with those waters being parted by God Himself. Tell me about Moses when he prayed to God and was given manna from Heaven. Tell me about Moses when he smote the water in Horeb and water gushed out to give water to three million plus Jews for forty years. Tell me about Moses who led three plus million Jews for forty years in the wilderness. Tell me about the great Moses who followed the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.

However, please let me back up and cover that which caused Moses to have to go to Mount Nebo. Please let me back up and cover up that which caused Moses not to be able to go into the Promised Land.

Ladies and gentlemen, the reason we do not have any heroes today is because we are more interested in publishing weaknesses rather than strengths. Our society of Christians, as well as our societies in America, needs the assets of leaders and less talk about their liabilities. Don’t tell me what happened at Mount Nebo. I don’t want to know!

Please tell me about John Marks’ book, the Gospel of Mark. Please tell me about how he went to Paul when he was in prison in the last days of Paul’s life, when Demas left John Mark stayed beside Paul. Don’t magnify what happened at Pamphylia. I don’t want to hear what caused him to go back home. I’m going to back up with a garment and cover it up because I don’t want to know. Let God take care of the punishment and let me not see it. Too close!

Tell me about Abraham leaving the Ur of the Chaldees. Tell me about Abraham and Sarah packing up and leaving their home, neighborhood, town, with no car, train or bus, and no airplanes to follow God by faith. Tell me about Abraham and Sarah’s faith. Tell me about Abraham going up to Mount Moriah after a three-day journey when he put his own son Isaac on an altar, but please don’t tell me and please don’t major on what happened in Egypt. I want to back up and put the cover over Abraham like Shem and Japheth did for their father. Please do not tell me what happened with Abraham in his backslidden state.

There is not a man or woman reading this article who can withstand close scrutiny. None of us have a right to look down on someone else, and when we become too close we expose our critical minds too destroy relationships that ought to be a blessing instead of a curse. Every one has their own pet convictions that nobody else has, but that does not make you any better of a person than those who do not hold to your convictions. The poison of asps is still under your lips and with your tongue you have used deceit. Your heart is desperately wicked. No sinner has a right to sit in judgment on another sinner! Romans chapter 3 describes you as well as me.

Tell me about John leaning on Jesus’ chest, being in the inner circle, being the disciple whom Jesus loved, going with Jesus to the Mount of Transfiguration, standing by Jesus while others forsook him and fled. Tell me about John being one of those who turned the world upside down for God, but don’t tell me about what happened when his mother wanted him to have seats at the right hand of God the Father. I want to back up and cover it up! Please don’t major on the bad qualities. Major on the good qualities.

Shem and Japheth were not covering up sin. That is impossible to do. They knew he was a sinner and that he had sinned, but they did not want to see it! He’s still was dad! He still was their father! He still had a life to live! They knew he was not perfect, but they did not want to see it!

That is why couples end up in divorce court. That is why churches split. That is why preachers leave churches. That is why church members keep changing churches. That is why churches keep changing pastors. If you do not watch it, someone will end up doing to you what you are doing to others.

Tell me about the 120 years of preaching and building! Please do not misunderstand me, Noah was wrong. He should not have gotten drunk. He should not have been naked, but how about the 120 years of preaching and building. Think about it! Who is hurt the most over this drunkenness and nakedness? Noah who did it or those who talk about it? It was Noah and his family who paid the price. Why ruin your life by not learning from the 120 years of preaching and building? How about looking at the whole picture.

Pause for minute and consider this, if Noah had been drunk for 120 years his sons would not have tried to back up and cover up his nakedness. The fact that they were shocked and did what they did was because of 120 years of serving God faithfully. Tell me about Noah a preacher of righteousness. Tell me about Noah who was blessed of God and found grace in the sight of God, but don’t let me see his naked body lying drunk in the tent.

Tell me about Lester Roloff’s walk with God, his faith, the battle for troubled children, and going to jail for fallen young people, but don’t tell me his faults. I don’t want to know! I didn’t want to get too close!

Tell me about Dr. John Rice and his great prayer life and the Sword of the Lord paper. Tell me about his books that sold millions and his influence on preachers around America. Tell me about Dr. Rice and his bringing back revivals to America. Tell me about his emphasis on the doctrine of the fullness of the Holy Spirit to Baptist churches. Tell me about his bringing the prayer closet back to America, but don’t tell me his weaknesses. I do not want to see them. I know they are there, but I don’t want to see them.

Tell me about Dr. Bob Jones Sr. and his great campaigns, his wisdom and his citywide campaigns, but don’t tell me about his weaknesses. I know he had them, but don’t tell me about them.

You are married to the love of your life and then you become too close to her. You have a new pastor and then you become too close to him. You have a friend and then you become too close to them. You have a child and become too close to the child. Don’t tell me about my daddy’s failures. Don’t tell me about my mama’s weaknesses.

THINGS TO DO

  • Realize people were human before you noticed their humanity.
  • Do not be shocked by what people do.
  • Be close to every one and not too close to any one.
  • Be quick too forgive.
  • When you find yourself becoming critical realize it is because you are getting too close.
  • Focus on the assets of people and not their liabilities.
  • Pray for those involved in your world.
  • Let the mind of Christ rule your mind.

Dr. Bob Gray Sr.
http://solvechurchproblems.com

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