Proverbs 20 – A Warning Concerning Alcohol and Other Vices

drunk manThe proliferation of alcohol use in our society, now accompanied by a political tidal wave to accept marijuana as a legal drug, is disconcerting.  The pursuit of pleasure without moral restraint has given rise to a desire to dull the conscience and many are turning to alcohol, wine or drugs to fill their empty souls.

Consider the following statistics from the website of Mothers Against Drunk Driving [MADD].

1) Almost half of drivers killed in crashes who tested positive for drugs also had alcohol in their system.

2) In 2011, 226 children were killed in drunk driving crashes. Of those, 122 (54% percent) were riding with the drunk driver.

3) Drunk driving costs the United States $132 billion a year.

wreck and alcoholThe Center for Disease Control and Prevention gives the following statistic concerning Alcohol use: In 2010 there were 25,692 alcohol-induced deaths (this number excludes accidents and homicide deaths related to alcohol use).

The statistics I have cited may not come as a surprise to many reading this blog. Given the personal, family and societal ills associated with alcohol, I am shocked that there is a growing acceptance of social drinking among Christians. Adding to the tragedy is not only the silence of the pulpit, but also the affirmation of some preachers for the use of alcohol.

Solomon addressed the nature of wine and alcohol in Proverbs 20:1, writing:

Proverbs 20:1 – “Wine [fermented wine] is a mocker [scorner; holds in derision], strong drink [intoxicating; alcohol] is raging [roar; troubled; clamorous]: and whosoever is deceived [stray; mislead] thereby is not wise [almost always condemned].

The wine referenced by Solomon was naturally fermented and often diluted with water. Solomon warns his son that undiluted wine has the potential of exposing a man to ridicule and shame. “Strong drink” would have been made from fruits and vegetables.

Some Christians cite references in the Bible to support their use of wine and alcohol; however, a brief history study will reveal that today’s “strong drink” is a far cry from the wine and “strong drink” of the Scriptures.  For instance, the distilling of beer and other strong drinks is a relatively modern process that was not perfected until the 12th and early 13th centuries.  The alcohol content of today’s beverages is far greater than any mentioned in the Bible.

Solomon warns his son, drunkenness will expose a man to scorn, make him loud, obnoxious and a fool. In a passage we will study later, Solomon challenges his son to refrain from wine in the performance of his responsibilities as king (Prov. 31:3-7).

Christians would be rise to heed Solomon’s admonition!