Be Wise About Alcohol

            Proverbs 20:1, 23:19-21, 29-35, 31:4-7

                             February 8, 2004


Over the last couple of lessons I have tried to

emphasize the fact that we are all in this world

together.  We are dealing with a very serious

topic this morning that affects millions of lives,

often negatively.


Through God’s grace, I made my commitment

in the mid 50’s about its use.


My father took the mowing machine and cut a

swath, in a back field,  for my sisters & I to use

when we walked to school so that the dew would

not bother us too badly.


Within a hundred yards or so of this swath, once

upon a time I promised the Lord God that I would

never drink alcoholic beverages.


While I will not say that that has made me a better

man than you, I will say, it has made me a better

man and no doubt saved me from a lot of self-

inflicted heartache.  They say that alcoholism is

a disease, if it is, it is self-inflicted.




I am not here this morning to place a curse on

anyone that uses alcohol, it apparently does that



I will try to give you straight from the Bible what I

have found that it says about this subject!


First, I know that the abuse of alcohol is a

work of the flesh because in Gal. 5:19-21


“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, ........

drunkenness.....of which I tell you before as

I have told you in time past, that they which do

such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God”


The New Testament is very emphatic about

the flesh - Rom. 8:5-8, Gal. 6:7-8, Eph. 5:14-18


Now when you associate these with

II Thess. 2:10-12 it clears things up for

those who want to know.


Secularly, the Greek god Dionysus, god of

wine - pleasure - civilization - represented as

a beautiful youth with a fawn draped over his

shoulders - there were festivals with processions,

dances, music.


The Romans called him Bacchus & celebrated

Bacchanalia - a festival that became so immoral

that in 186 B.C., the Roman Senate forbade it.


There is much evidence American Society is in

a decline, even sliding down the slippery bank

of alcohol abuse and into the quicksand of a

serious drug culture problem.


“witchcraft” used in Gal. 5:20 - Greek word

is translated “pharmaceia” - to use drugs.

BOTH ARE WRONG  according to Scripture.



Now I will confess that I do not know everything,

but I also confess that I know truth when I see it.


When I think of American culture the way it is

portrayed in movies and on television, ( and during

Super Bowl half-time shows) contrasted with

what I have read in my commentaries this week,

even though I don’t like it, it does make sense!


I would like to allow the Bible make some sense

today, especially, by using the Proverbs of our

lesson:  Prov. 20:1, 23:29-21,29-35, 31:4-7


For starters:  ch. 20:1


“Wine is a mocker” - the inebriated persons scoff at

what is holy, reject reproof, and ridicule all that is serious.


“strong drink” - inordinate use of this renders men

noisy and boisterous, no longer masters of themselves

or restrained by the laws of morality & decency.


“Whoever is deceived thereby is not wise”


Where are the brains in American society when

it comes to this?



ch. 23:19-21 - An exhortation to temperance,

as an evidence of the fear of God.


v. 19 - “Hear thou” - personal pronoun


Of course, it is not recognized by Microsoft

Windows Spellcheck - perhaps there is a

relation, perhaps there is not. 


Of course, it is not in modern versions of

the Bible, perhaps there is a relation with

their translators and their users turning their

heads at this maxim, then perhaps not.


“guide thy heart in the way” - the right way

in distinction with the many wrong paths

of life - ch. 9:6 - called “the way of understanding”


Right thoughts lead to right actions.


v. 20 - “wine-bibbers ...riotous eaters of the

            flesh” - gluttony & luxury ruin their bodies.


these two terms were used in combination against

our Lord in Matt. 11:19


II Peter 2:21b-22        Rev. 14:4-5


v. 21 - Intemperance leads to prodigality (where did

            it get the Prodigal Son?) - carelessness & ruin.


Luxury & excess leads to drowsiness

(profound insensibility) enfeebles the mind

and corrupts the higher faculties, converting

a rational being into a witless animal.


Also - inability to work - poverty naturally follows.


vs. 29-35 - a ode or song  on the subject


v. 29 - Drunkenness is closely connected with the sin

mentioned in the previous two verses.


Who hath pain or grief? contentions/brawlings?

babbling/expressing sorrowful thought in regret

for lost fortune, ruined health, alienated friends?


Who hath wounds which might have been

avoided?  bloodshot eyes or the change in power

of vision when alcohol reaches the brain?


Physical deterioration - dissipation soon tells on

a man’s personal appearance, and still more on

his countenance, that he is mastered by what he

puts in his mouth.


Contentiousness - last week we learned that we need

all our powers and the Lord, too, to control ourselves.


A man who is excited by strong drink is in the wrong

environment for ruling his spirit and controlling his

tongue.  He is likely to speak the sentence, then comes

the blows and finally the feud.



v. 30 - The answer given - they who sit long hours

            drinking - Isaiah 5:11-16


“they that go to seek mixed wine”  - contrast Ps. 27:8


v. 31 - It is as though the cup had an eye which

            glanced at the drinker with a fascination which

            he could not resist.


“moveth itself aright” - gliddeth down smoothly,

 pleases the palate & passes over it without roughness

or harshness.


v. 32 - Wine is like the subtle poison of a serpent which

            affects the whole body & produces fatal consequences.


The mischief is not seen at first - it is “at the last” that it

does its work. 


It is so deadly that all need to be warned - half of all traffic

related deaths associated with alcohol  -


Affects the pocketbook, money runs out, business fails, home

is wrecked, health is deteriorated, the brain is weakened, the

doctor, the lawyer, the judge, the scholar loose their mental

faculties needed to do their jobs, scars the conscience, destroys

character, the soul-life is poisoned and there is an aversion to

religion - the drunkard cannot enter heaven.



Pulpit Scan - p. 457


"Excerpted text Copyright AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved.

Materials are reproduced by permission."


v. 33 - “Thine eyes shall behold strange women” - effect

            on the brain by feverish conditions but seems to

            make reference to the often denounced connection

            between drunkenness & incontinence (sexual control?)


Illustration of health student in oral report - “alcohol increases

the desire but hinders the performance”


One of the effects of alcohol is the unbridling of lust, when

the eyes look out and rove after UNCHASTE WOMEN.


Who are they one might ask?


The excitement of the intoxicating cup has had a lot to do

with departures from the path of purity and honor, eventually

leading to ruin.


“thine heart shall utter perverse things”  -  Jesus said “For

out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries,

fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:  these are the

things which defile a man” - Matt. 15:19


The sight of a drunkard is a better sermon against the

vice than the best that was ever preached upon the



Example of  man staggering down Kentucky Ave.

on Jan. 18, 2004 - two steps forward, one back or

sideways - as if he needed to draw attention to

himself, he had on a huge and red Santa Clause hat.

Approached Mr. & Mrs Outland - I drove around again

to make sure there were no problems - I asked Mr.

Outland last Sunday about what the man said to him

as he was pulling back his coat and strutting - Mr.

Outland said he didn’t understand what he was saying

or meant.



Drunkard’s notions distorted - he confuses right & wrong -

(Super Bowl half time fiasco last week)  Say and do things

which one would not do if in possession of their full senses.



v. 34 - compared to a man asleep  in a frail boat in stormy

            waters - unconscious of surrounding circumstances.


Or sleeping  where no one could sleep without the greatest

danger of falling off - the mast of a ship - you know - dropping

an object in your hand when you go to sleep.


The victim of intoxication is indeed “at sea” and like one

sleeping on the verge of danger and sudden death - LIVING



In a spiritual sense he is drunk who does not perceive the

great danger of his soul, and even becomes more stubborn

with every chastisement.  


Jer. 5:3-4


v. 35 - The drunkard is depicted as talking to himself -

            “thou shalt say” - after the hang over he has some

            vague idea that he has suffered certain rough

            treatment at the hands of his companions but it has

            made no impression on him.


“they have beaten me and I felt it not”


Far from profiting from his merited chastisement, he is

represented as looking forward to do it again?


“I will seek it yet again” - (back to intelligence issue or else

  wicked habits have done in the conscience)


ch. 31:4-7


v. 4 - It is not for leadership to use strong drink.


I think of Isaiah 8:19


The evils of intemperance are bad enough in private persons,

but greatly enhanced in presidents, senators, representatives,

local judges, etc.


Their misdeeds affect a whole nation or community.


I think of Ted Kennedy whose family’s fortune was made

during Prohibition - what money can do - “to whom much

is given, much is required” - a thorn in the Judiciary

Committee - one of the primary ones to “bork” Robert

Bork, one of the more qualified persons to ever appear

as a nominee to the high court - author of Slouching

Towards Gommorha - it ought to replace Steinbeck’s

Of Mice or Men in local high school English Dept.’s

reading list - yea, along with Myrtle Hayes’ Only




There is no secret where drunkenness reigns - this in

accordance to the proverbs - “where drink enters,

wisdom departs” & “when wine goes in the secret

comes out” - a la Chappaquiddick. 


v. 3 - a sin in close affinity these verses that follow.


Remember Hosea 4:11 - “ Whoredom and wine and

new wine take away the heart”!


Alcohol makes a man incapable of being a private friend

or a  public counselor.


It disarms a man of all his reason and wisdom making him

more a fool and less a man.  It breaks down a man's inhibition's,

the God provided natural braking system to keep man from doing

something foolish!


I don’t want to be cruel here but this is true.  Abuse of

alcohol discovers the nakedness of the soul with all its

 weakness and follies.  I have enough nakedness in my

soul with weakness and follies, that I do not need the

provoking of alcohol for them to raise their ugly heads.


v. 5 - A warning - “Lest they drink, and forget thy Law”

and “Pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted” - literally

of all the sons of affliction - the whole class of poor people.




Intemperance leads to selfish disregard of other’s claims, an

inability to examine questions impartially, and consequently to

perversion of justice.


Isaiah 5:21-24 


Who can juggle this stick of dynamite?


True use of wine - v. 6, Judges 9:13 - blessing of wine in

moderation & as promotive of social cheerfulness.



Oh that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away

their brains!  that we should with joy, revel with pleasure, and

applause, transform ourselves into beasts!