Proverbs 23:19-21 – A warning for big bellies and booze!

parentingProverbs 23:19-21 will be our focus for today’s devotion.  Solomon makes a personal appeal to his son in verse 19 to be wise in the matter of what he allows to enter his heart, mind and thoughts.  Notice Solomon’s counsel and challenge:

Proverbs 23:19“Hear [hearken; obey] thou, my son, and be wise [act wise; refrain from evil], and guide [go straight; be honest] thine heart [mind; thoughts] in the way [course of life; path; journey].”

Solomon counseled his son to “hear”, meaning to hear and heed his father’s instructions; and “be wise”—literally, refrain from foolish, sinful choices.  He challenged him to keep his heart on the right path.

Solomon understood what every parent must come to accept–there is a time in the life of every son and daughter when they must shoulder the burden and responsibility for their attitudes and actions.  A time of testing and temptation is inevitable in this sin-cursed world and the character of a man or woman will be revealed in their choices.

The immediate application of Solomon’s counsel and challenge was a temptation that was too readily available in a king’s court—wine and rich food.

Proverbs 23:20“Be not among winebibbers [drunken; heavy drinkers]; among riotous eaters [gluttons; squanderers] of flesh:”

Solomon addressed a pattern of sin that has been the ruin of the greatest of men and fat Americanwomen—drunkenness and gluttony.  American families are a sad testimony of excess in each.  A 2009 survey found that 63.1% of Americans are overweight [there are medical reasons for why some people are overweight; however, the majority cannot take shelter behind that reason].   Our gluttony as a nation is not only sinful; it has led to an epidemic in high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, cancers and arthritis—our nation is literally eating itself to death!

There is also a growing number of Christians that trivialize the imbibing of wine and alcohol.  Some pastors, in the name of Christian liberty, are leading their families and congregations down a path accepting wine and alcohol that will invariably prove the adage; liberty for one becomes a license for another.  What will these torchbearers of liberty say to parents burying a child killed in an alcohol related accident?  What justifications will they give when a vice they approve leads a family to the morass of abuse and addiction?

alcohol issuesProverbs 23:21“For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty [driven to poverty]: and drowsiness [sleepiness; indolence; slumber] shall clothe [dress] a man with rags.”

Solomon observed that the character of a man who lends himself to the excesses of drunkenness and gluttony tends to laziness [i.e. “drowsiness”] and follows a path that leads to want [“poverty” and “rags”].

The virtuous mother of Proverbs 31 cautioned her son that “strong drink” was not for men whose burden was to sit in high places (Proverbs 31:4-5).  Solomon warned his son in the closing verses of Proverbs 23 that alcohol may desensitize a soul, but it never solves problems (23:29-30).

My friend, some of you need to put down your fork, pour out your booze and tennis shoesput on your tennis shoes!  I close with the apostle Paul’s challenge to Christians living in Rome:

Romans 13:13-14 – “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14  But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

Copyright 2014 – Travis D. Smith