Proverbs 20:1; 23:19–21, 29–35; 31:4–7 comment (0)
April 24, 2014
By Robert Olsen, Ph.D.
Related Scripture: Proverbs 20:1; 23:19–21, 29–35; 31:4–7
Explore the Bible
Assistant Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile
Avoid Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Proverbs 20:1; 23:19–21, 29–35; 31:4–7
Alcohol’s Deceptive Power (20:1; 23:19–21)
If you listen to the TV advertisements, alcohol is something that makes parties fun and makes people laugh and enjoy themselves. These commercials never show the homes broken because of alcoholism or the ruined lives caused by the wrecks of drunk drivers. Many people think they need a drink to feel at ease or to loosen up. The truth of the matter is that for Christians, we need to be comfortable in who we are in Christ and not feel like we need anything else to make us “acceptable.” The problem with alcohol and many other drugs is that they have the ability to alter one’s personality and cause people to lose control and inhibition. In this set of verses, the writer of Proverbs shows how wine and beer have the ability to make one lose control and become violent. Much domestic abuse in the United States is due to alcoholism.
In Proverbs 23:19–21 the writer shows that anyone who is overcome by food or drink is unwise. It is easy to see the loss of self-control by those who get drunk, but we often fail to remember that we can lose control in other areas of life as well. America struggles with obesity because many people lack self-control when it comes to food. As Christians we need to remember that we are to be controlled by the Holy Spirit and that self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit, and so we need to practice moderation in all areas of life.
Alcohol’s Destructive Power (23:29–30)
Many young people are enticed by alcohol. Underage drinking has been a problem for some time in the United States, but few people think about the long-term problems that come from alcohol abuse. Besides the chance of driving while intoxicated or doing something stupid while drunk, long-term alcohol abuse is harmful to the body. Cirrhosis of the liver is a real problem for many alcoholics, and the damage done to relationships is irreparable. Christians need to beware of subjecting themselves to alcohol’s destructive power.
Alcohol’s Addictive Power (23:31–35)
These verses show the addictive power of alcohol. Even though the person in these verses was beaten up and had been hallucinating, when he came to his senses he craved another drink. How foolish is it that people do ridiculous things and behave in wretched manners only to want to experience it all again? I knew people in college who would be drunk on the weekend, throw up and pass out only to repeat this behavior the following weekend. Anyone who gets addicted to a substance is limiting the ability of the Holy Spirit to work. The craving for the drug or alcohol takes top priority and prevents a person from being able to operate responsibly and logically.
Alcohol’s Distractive Power (31:4–5)
There is wisdom in avoiding alcohol because it causes one to forget morality. This is one of the main reasons for people to avoid alcohol. It is easy for one to lose their bearings and then make poor choices. One needs only to look up on the Internet “alcohol and missing work” to see the number of websites that deal with this problem. If you doubt the problems caused by alcohol, just go online and you will see the amount of troubles caused by it.
Alcohol’s Use as a Sedative (31:6–7)
In this last section, Lemuel mentions that one positive use of alcohol is as a sedative. Before the days of anesthesia and pain medication, one of the best ways to numb pain was through alcohol. However, with the advent of new painkillers and anesthesia, there is no need to try to excuse the use of alcohol for a painkiller. If someone struggles with pain and sees alcohol as a way to numb the pain, this is a path to alcohol dependency that leads to the problems mentioned in the previous sections. The main goal of a believer is to be controlled by the Holy Spirit and exhibit self-control at all times, and so Christians need to do what it takes to remain free from addiction, be it to alcohol, drugs or anything else.