Be filled with the Spirit! Proverbs- Week 9- Day 5

Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.

Proverbs 23:33-35

These verses are replete with the potential dangers of alcohol consumption. Here is the list.

  1. Bad relational and sexual decisions. “Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.”
  2. Danger because of bad decisions. “Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.”
  3. Fighting. “They have stricken me, shalt thou say”
  4. Hangover. “and I was not sick”
  5. Physical injury. “they have beaten me, and I felt it not”
  6. Lack of control. “when shall I awake?”
  7. Addiction. “I will seek it yet again.”

I know this is an unpopular position, but there is a strong case made here for avoiding alcohol altogether. Why would you want to invite any of this into your life?

Ephesians 5:17-21 gives an excellent alternative to being drunk with alcohol.

Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Ephesians 5:17-21

Do not be controlled by alcohol. Look what it leads to! Instead, be controlled by the Holy spirit! When we are, it leads to worship, singing, thankfulness, and submission to others as unto the Lord. The end of all of this favor with God and our brothers and sisters. What a better alternative!

What is truly controlling you? Are you being filled with the Word of God and the Spirit of God or something else? Take some time to give yourself to the control of the Word of God today!

Who has woe? Proverbs- Week 9- Day 4

Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

Proverbs 23:29-32

Whenever you watch how alcoholic beverages are marketed in our culture, it is often shown to be glamorous, tasteful, image enhancing, and critical for having a good time. Whenever anything is marketed, the downside is left out.

Therein lies the danger of the potential lie that the father is trying to teach his son in this text. He stated early, “let not thine heart envy sinners”. This is a danger we might face as we watch how alcohol is marketed to us. One may think, “They look cool. They look like they are having fun!” Yet here, the writer of Proverbs helps us to understand the downside. The questions come in list-like fashion in verse 29. Those who are deceived by alcohol deal with:

  1. Woe.
    Dangerous and undesirable consequences or calamities. How many horrible situations have been borne out of situations where alcohol was involved?
  2. Sorrow.
    This can include discouragement and even depression.
  3. Contentions.
    This speaks of fighting and disagreement. Drinking often leads to fighting and harms relationships.
  4. Babbling.
    The inability to express yourself. This speaks to the stupor created by drunkenness.
  5. Wounds without cause.
    This is a description of the person who has been so inebriated that they somehow injure themselves but do not remember it happening.
  6. Redness of Eyes.
    This is an apt description of one of the most basic effects of drunkenness. As I read this it also lead me to think about the overall disposition of the drunk person as not put together, and reeling from the physical effects of the drug.

Who has these problems? Those that “tarry long” and “seek mixed wine.” These speak to the person who has an addiction to alcohol. Now don’t let that minimize the danger to everyone. The line that is raised here for addiction is not that high.

When you read through a description like this it can sound like a typical weekend at your local club or bar. Now this doesn’t mean that everyone that drinks will experience all of these consequences every time they take a sip of alcohol. It is more that these consequences are the potential of what could and often does happen in people’s lives when they include alcohol consumption as a part of their lifestyle.

Verse 31 states not to even look at wine when it is red. This speaks to when it is the most intoxicating. In that day there was new wine which was either fresh and unfermented, or contained minuscule amounts of alcohol. Then there was wine that was mixed with spices, honey and other ingredients to enhance its’ intoxicating power. The admonition here is “don’t even look at it!”

Verse 32 gives the end of looking at, seeking for, and lingering long at strong drink. An Adder is a very poisonous snake. This verse could be speaking of the effects of a hangover, the overall danger of drunkenness and impairment, or both.

So much of the Bible’s discourse about alcohol consumption is argued over. “How far is too far?” is the question that is always asked. For sure, drunkenness is a line that everyone that reads the scripture and takes it seriously agrees on as being sinful. I would argue that “drunkenness” is impairment of any kind, and that line is easily stepped over. We also believe that “alcohol” was used medicinally in ancient times and was not prohibited to be used in this way. “Strong drink”, or alcohol meant for consumption that could create drunkenness is always condemned in scripture.

Here is a better question than “How far is too far?” “What is the wise thing to do?” This is a much better question. Why do you need to invite even the potential of the things listed above into your life? We may think that we can handle it. This is what everyone who has ever dealt with these problems has thought. Even if you can, your public testimony can tempt others to participate and then endure these consequences over time.

Takes Proverbs advice here. Don’t even look at it! Stop seeking it! Wisdom would make the appeal to find another way to quench your thirst and have a good time.

• What is your relationship with alcohol? Is it wise?
• What do you teach your kids about alcohol? Is it informed by scripture?

Your Friends and Your Future- Proverbs- Week 9- Day 3

Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.

Proverbs 23:20-21

We’ve been walking through some instruction that the father is giving to his son regarding how to relate to those who are sinful. He has told his son not to envy sinners, but to listen, be wise, and to guide his own heart. So, what does that look like practically?
“Be not among winebibbers.” The command is given to avoid people who are addicted to and controlled by alcohol. Do not make your company with them. He also says this about “riotous eaters of flesh.” These are people who make festivities around the gorging of food. Some have said that the reason God had dietary laws for the children of Israel was to make them avoid the culture around pagan meals. At times they were characterized by sexual impropriety, idol worship, and other things that will be listed later in the text. The father tells his son to guide his heart and act wisely by not being around this kind of behavior.
He gives a first reason as to why this kind of response is needed. He says that the drunk and the glutton “shall come to poverty.” He says that “drowsiness” shall create poverty as well. What is drowsiness? It’s the literal sleep and the lack of proactivity that comes from a lifestyle characterized by alcohol consumption and gorging oneself on food.

It has been said accurately, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” These verses are a specific application of that principle. Being controlled by outside substances leads to all kinds of spiritual, relational, physical, and social problems.
Instead of being controlled by wine, the scripture calls us to be controlled by the Spirit.

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit…

Ephesians 5:18

Are there any relationships in your life that you need to change because they are influencing you down a path that could lead to spiritual and even monetary poverty?

Guidance for the Heart Proverbs- Week 9- Day 2

Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.

Proverbs 23:19

Remember that the context here is a father warning his son of the temptation of envying those who are enjoying sin.

Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long. For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.

Proverbs 23:17-18

Before he makes this very practical in verses 20 and following, he takes the time in verse 19 to give his son 3 imperatives.

  1. Hear.
    As a young person I am tempted not to listen to those older than me. It’s easy for me to think that I know better. The father tells his son “hear.” Listen. Don’t disregard what those who are older are telling you. There is so much value in learning from the experience of those who have lived longer than we have.
  2. Be Wise.
    This may seem like an obvious statement that has been said over and over in proverbs. So many people ask the question “What is allowed?”, rather than the better question, “What is the wise thing to do?”. Our aim should be for wisdom.
  3. Guide your heart.
    Young people are often told to “follow your heart.” Yet the Bible presents a different prescription.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

Jeremiah 17:9-10

Instead of following our hearts, we must recognize that on our own the heart desires the wrong thing. We need God to transform our hearts. Here the proverb tells us not to follow our hearts, but to, with wisdom, guide our hearts.

I want to submit to you, before we read the next few verses on what can be a controversial topic, that the way we can hear, be wise, and guide our hearts is by having a close interaction with the Word of God.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

The Word of God is a voice we need to listen to, the greatest repository of wisdom of all time, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of our hearts. We must carefully and regularly listen to and obey what it says.

Recommit yourself today to live according to what the Word of God says no matter what.