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?