A passage of proverbs about alcohol. Clearly, the abuse of alcohol is nothing new. Drunks have been stumbling over their drinks for most of the recorded history of man. Some believe alcohol is inherently sinful, I do not. After all, the first miracle of Jesus was turning water into wine. Having said that, it is sinful for me to drink, because my relationship with alcohol is pretty well described here.
Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. Yes, I have been bitten many times by that snake. It is always tempting, would go down so smooth. It would be so easy. After all, it’s only a beer!! But then…hey John, want a shot? A shot of what?? A shot of “who cares” is what. Just give it to me. And make it another. And I’ll drink yours too. And – Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things. And no one even knows what I’m talking about. Long, drawn out conversations, and you’re just staring at me with a blank stare. I know you have no clue what I’m saying – neither do I. But sure, I’ll have another. “They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I must have another drink.” Yup, that’s right, just give me another. Not sure who or where I am, but I’m sure I need another drink. Waking up bruised all over, but that’s ok – didn’t feel a thing. In 1 Corinthians 8 Paul tells us “Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” 1 Corinthians 8:8-9 ESV. For most people, alcohol is not an addiction. As it says here, they are no worse off if they drink or don’t drink. It is not a sin for them. But for me – I am the weak. It is a stumbling block for me. I know I can not drink without being bitten by that snake. So I know it is sin for me to drink. Yes, it’s just one beer. Yes, it’s just a taste. And yes, it will lead me to see “strange things”. So, I must avoid it.
“Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things. You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, like one who lies on the top of a mast. “They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I must have another drink.””
Proverbs 23:29-35 ESV