September 14, 2017
Scripture Reading – Proverbs 23-24
Proverbs 23-24 is our scripture reading for today as we continue to mine truths found in this book one author described as “Common Sense in Overalls” (source unknown). The principles and precepts found in Proverbs leave no room for ambiguity if one believes Solomon wrote exactly what the Holy Spirit directed him to write (2 Peter 1:21). Today’s devotional commentary focuses on Proverbs 23:20-21 and Proverbs 23:29-32.
Solomon addressed a pattern of sin that has been the ruin of the greatest of men and women—drunkenness and gluttony. American families are a tragic testimony of excess in each. A 2009 survey found 63.1% of Americans are overweight [there are medical reasons for some; however, the majority cannot take refuge behind that defense]. Gluttony is not only sinful (Proverbs 23:2; Philippians 3:19); it is a leading cause for high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, cancers and arthritis. As a nation, we are eating ourselves to death!
Believers are not only guilty of gluttony, there is a growing number of believers trivializing imbibing in wine and alcohol. Championing Christian liberty, some pastors are leading their families and congregations to accept wine and alcohol proving the adage: Liberty for one becomes a license for another.
Wonder what those torchbearers of “liberty” will say to parents burying a child killed in an alcohol related accident? What rationalizations will they offer when a vice they approved leads a family to the morass of abuse and addiction?
Solomon observed that a man given to excesses of drunkenness and gluttony tends to laziness [i.e. “drowsiness”] and follows a path to want [“poverty” and “rags”]. Solomon warned his son alcohol may desensitize a soul, but it never solves problems. A series of six questions describe the sad lot of those given to wine and drunkenness (23:29-30).
Proverbs 23:29-30 – “Who hath woe [grief; despair; cry of lamentations]? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions [strife; brawlings]? who hath babbling [complaints; disparaging talk]? who hath wounds [bruise] without cause [for naught; for no good reason]? who hath redness [dullness, implied from drinking wine] of eyes [sight]? 30 They that tarry long [delay; remain] at the wine [strong drink]; they that go to seek mixed wine [with herbs or honey].”
Those who indulge in strong drink have a penchant for “woe” and “sorrow” or what some today describe as “mental illness” and depression. The excessive cost of alcohol consumption in the United States in 2006 was estimated to be $223.5 billion.
Of course, we cannot place a dollar amount on alcohol’s human toll. Solomon described the suffering of alcoholism as “wounds without cause…redness of eyes”. Failing health, physical and sexual abuses, failed marriages, splintered families, ruined careers, crime, murders and suicides can all be ascribed to drunkenness. Solomon admonished his son:
Proverbs 23:31-32 – “Look [examine; choose] not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth [walk; behave] itself aright. 32 At the last [in the end] it biteth [sting; strike] like a serpent [viper], and stingeth [wound] like an adder [poisonous serpent].”
The phrase “moveth itself aright” describes the redness of the wine and its sparkle when it is strongest and most alcoholic in content. Solomon warned his son…don’t look at it; don’t desire and imbibe in wine when it has fermented for it will be like the bite of a poisonous viper when it delivers its mortal wound.
Someone reading today’s devotional will take an exception to my commentary and dismiss Solomon and this simple author. You indulge your liberty and take solace in others coming to your defense; however, I wonder where those “friends” will be when your son or daughter descends into the dark, dismal hole of sinful indulgence attempting to fill the void and emptiness of their soul with drugs and alcohol?
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 – “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith