Daily Devotion of Proverbs 20
This Proverb is jammed pack with tested advice and warnings. It starts by waving a “Danger” flag to a temptation that is the ruin of many. Unfortunately, the pitfall is not seen as something to be feared, and it is indulged in by many. Some Christians justify their partaking of alcohol and find that their lack of wisdom in doing so is the downfall of their walk for the Lord and damages their testimony.
Much is said in the Bible about the dangers and effects that alcohol will have on one and his Christian testimony. Indulgence in alcohol is never recommended in God’s Word. Its use is usually negatively spoken about. Here are some reasons why a Christian should avoid alcoholic beverages:
- Alcohol is dangerous. Even wine is likened to a poison that will ruin one’s life!
“Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright [fermenting]. 32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.” Pro. 23:31-32
- Alcohol should not be drunk by a wise person.
“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Prov. 20:1 Wine’s influence will make one mock or deride others. Strong drink will often make one loud and cause him to show his anger.
- Alcohol will increase one’s problems and affect one’s health and mental stability.
“Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? 30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.” Pro. 23:29-30
- Alcohol will control a person and affect one’s thinking and discernment.
“But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.” Isa. 28:7
- Alcohol will affect one’s will.
“Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.” Hos. 4:11 Notice that there are two types of wine: new, unfermented wine, and alcoholic (fermented) wine.
Alcohol will affect one’s desire to do something for the Lord and the desire to be industrious.
“Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them! 12 And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands.” Isa. 5:11-12 “
Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: 21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags. We are not to even be around drinking, so certainly the Saviour would not have broken this commandment.” Pro. 23:20
These verses, and many more, show we should not drink, especially if we are concerned about keeping the “temple” that God gave us clean (I Cor. 6:19) from temptations and sin. However, what confuses many, and is often used as a way to justify drinking, is the Bible’s usage of the word “wine.”
In the New Testament, that one word is used to describe both alcoholic and non-alcoholic wine. The Greek word “oinos” is used to reference fermented and unfermented “wines.” The context of the verse usually reveals which type of “wine” it is referring to.
What is non-alcoholic “wine”? We call it grape juice. Sometimes the Bible refers to it as “new wine” (Mat. 9:17, Luke 5:39). Understand that in biblical days, there was no refrigeration and that it was hot, which would quickly ferment the “new wine.” To keep this from happening, the new “wine” was often simmered, so that the water would leave the “wine.” What would result would be a thick, grape syrup that would keep for a long time. It also was called “wine.” Before it was drunk, water would be added to it again. An ancient shipwreck was recovered that had a cargo of containers of this grape syrup, and it was found to be still preserved.
There are other reasons why a Christian should not drink, even wine. They include:
- Fermented wine is a picture of sin! It is the yeast (“leaven”) in the grape that turns the juice to alcohol. Yeast is a picture of iniquity, as it spreads and “ruins” (fermentation is a decaying and rotting process) many things it is placed in. For this reason, it not only should not be drunk, but it should NEVER be used in the Lord’s supper; as Jesus was sinless, and should not be pictured as sinful by fermented grape juice. Furthermore, for the same reason, raised bread should not be used. A little “leaven” in grape juice or flour will raise and spread throughout the product, just as a “little” sin spreads and affects whatever life it touches.
“A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Gal. 5:9
“Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” I Cor. 5:6
- Many justify drinking because Jesus turned water into “wine” (John 2:9-10). It was not alcoholic wine He changed from water because if He did that, He would have been serving alcohol that would have earned Him God’s “woe,” rather than God’s approval on His life (Mat. 3:17). Jesus’ conversion was also not an example of biblical doctrine on drinking, but it was a miracle to show Jesus was God in the flesh.
“Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!” Hab. 2:15 If one is not to give it to others than he should not be drinking it himself.
- Alcohol is often a gateway to other sins. One sin usually leads to others, and alcohol is no exception.
“Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.” Pro. 23:33
- Some twist I Tim. 5:23 around to say that it is okay to drink wine for your health. Any drunk or doctor will tell you that alcohol will tear up anyone’s stomach. Alcohol irritates one’s digestive system, including the stomach, causing it to produce too much acid. This can lead to gastritis, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and even bleeding. Look at the beer belly of a beer guzzler for proof. God, of course, knows all this, so alcohol consumption cannot be what I Tim. 5:23 is referring to.
“Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.” I Tim 5:23 I read that to get the “good” chemical in wine that is supposed to help one’s health that many, many bottles of wine each day should be drunk. Drinking that much would qualify one as a drunkard whom the Bible condemns. A better choice for their stomach’s health would be to eat grapes.
- What is “drunk”? How many drinks does it take to be “drunk.” An excellent answer to this question is from Jim Jorgenson in Should I. He wrote, “Perhaps you would say, ‘It would take six beers to make me drunk.’ If you only drink one beer, then you are one-sixth drunk. You are one-sixth less able to serve God than you are before drinking.”
- We are not to have the appearance of doing anything wrong. We are to have an upright testimony. Drinking would give an appearance to others that we were drunkards.
“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” I Thes. 5:22
Christians are to be led and guided by the Spirit of God, not the spirit of drunkenness. Interestingly, the old-time drunkards knew that drinking was not of God, and the wrong spirits influenced users of it. To prove that look at a bottle of booze, and it will still be identified as 50% (or another number) “spirits.” Drinking it leads one to follow the wrong spirit, and it will not be the Spirit of God.
A Christian should be “Christ-like,” as the name implies. He should not even be close to the edge of the godless world, from which he was saved. He should be as far from temptation and sin as he can get. One cannot lose his salvation, but one can lose his Christian testimony and be ensnared by many of the same pitfalls the unsaved fall into when they indulge in alcohol All lose when they drink booze!
“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” Eph. 5:18
“Alcohol is a very effective dissolving agent. It dissolves families, marriages, friendships, jobs, bank accounts and neurons, but never problems.” — Author Unknown
Words to Understand:
Sluggard: a lazy person
1 ¶ Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
2 ¶ The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul.
3 ¶ It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.
4 ¶ The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.
5 ¶ Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.
6 ¶ Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?
7 ¶ The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.
8 ¶ A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes.
9 ¶ Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?
10 ¶ Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD.
11 ¶ Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.
12 ¶ The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.
13 ¶ Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.
14 ¶ It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.
15 ¶ There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.
16 ¶ Take his garment that is surety for a stranger: and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.
17 ¶ Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.
18 ¶ Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.
19 ¶ He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.
20 ¶ Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.
21 ¶ An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.
22 ¶ Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee.
23 ¶ Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good.
24 ¶ Man’s goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?
25 ¶ It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy, and after vows to make enquiry.
26 ¶ A wise king scattereth the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them.
27 ¶ The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
28 ¶ Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy.
29 ¶ The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.
30 ¶ The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.