Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long at the wine, those who go in search of mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things. Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying: “They have struck me, but I was not hurt; They have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?” (Proverbs 23:29-35)
The Folly Of Alcohol
The problem with alcohol is as old as the world. In the early days of man the temptation of drunkenness was as prevalent as today. Noah was the first man mentioned in the Bible that was drunk from wine but he was not the first case of drunkenness. Paul describes the character of the world in Galatians 5 which included “drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
The literature of Proverbs is filled with wisdom from above. There is practical knowledge found in these simple passages and Proverbs 23 is no less simple to understand. To sum up our text for today it seems those who desire to drink are fools. Let us be frank and to the point. God has a view of man’s actions and the pleadings of unspiritual men who devise ways to get around the truth of the will of God are left looking like fools. Arguments are made that social drinking is an acceptable lifestyle for a Christian. This makes as much sense as social fornication as long as you do not go too far. If you want to have trouble in your life take up the conjurer of evil and let it in your home.
People of God are not like the world. They do not imbibe in the worldly pleasures of the flesh. Drinking alcohol does not glorify God on any level. Christians should be ashamed to argue in defense of something completely hostile to the purity of God’s children. We cannot have one foot in the world and one foot in the body of Christ because the leg holding our foot in the world is dancing to the tune of the devil. We are kidding ourselves. If your foot is in the world so is your whole body. Can you have a beer in one hand and a Bible in the other? Well you can but the twain shall never be one.
Let me just say this about what Proverbs 23 says: Stupid. Defined this means, “regarded as unintelligent, showing a lack of intelligence, perception, or common sense.” Engaging in alcohol makes a person a member of the Unintelligent Club. Christians who find their membership there should be ashamed. Christ is ashamed of His brethren who cannot find the faith, courage and moral tenacity to come out from the world and be separate.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:17-18). You want to drink? Take the Holy Spirit. You will never regret it.
“The blacksmith did ignorantly conduct this burglar into his family’s heart. It was the Bottle Conjuror. Upon the opening of that fatal cork, forth flew the fiend, and shriveled up his home.” (Herman Melville, Moby Dick, 1851)