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Does Alcohol Still Sober You? Five Warnings About Abuse

God planted the primary winery, and God engineered the primary grape. He knew exactly what would occur when that little unassuming ball was harvested, crushed, fermented, stirred, and pressed. He knew how it will make man really feel — glad (Psalm 104:14–15). He knew he would serve it — not water, not milk, not simply juice — within the church’s most essential meals collectively (Matthew 26:27).

Earlier than sounding the warnings, it’s good to do not forget that God loves good wine and nonetheless pours it for his kids to take pleasure in, however his love shouldn’t be younger and naïve. His prophet warns, “Wine is a traitor” — discover, not extreme wine, however wine, the on a regular basis alcohol of the day — “Wine is a traitor, an conceited man who is rarely at relaxation. His greed is as large as Sheol; like demise he has by no means sufficient. He gathers for himself all nations and collects as his personal all peoples” (Habakkuk 2:5). As conceited and ruthless as Hitler and as grasping as demise, have we reckoned with the tyrant many people thoughtlessly sip between bites?

Who Suffers With out Trigger?

Whereas it’s tougher than we would anticipate finding encouragement towards alcohol in Scripture, it’s under no circumstances arduous to seek out warnings about its abuses.

Moses as soon as describes it as “the poison of serpents and the merciless venom of asps” (Deuteronomy 32:33). In Psalm 75, it’s an image of God’s wrath (Psalm 75:8). Those that bow to their subsequent drink won’t ever see the dominion of God (1 Corinthians 6:9–10; Galatians 5:21). And if anybody claims to be a brother whereas abusing alcohol with out repentance, he’s to be reduce off from the church — for the sake of his soul. “I’m writing to you to not affiliate with anybody who bears the identify of brother if he’s [a] drunkard . . . not even to eat with such a one” (1 Corinthians 5:11). The warnings are as severe as they’re quite a few.

One passage specifically, Proverbs 23:29–35, not solely warns concerning the judgment that may fall on drunkenness, however concerning the religious risks of this sort of ingesting.

Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
     Who has strife? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds with out trigger?
     Who has redness of eyes?
Those that tarry lengthy over wine;
     those that go to strive blended wine. (Proverbs 23:29–30)

The sensible man goes on to elucidate his woes and sorrows, his wounds and miseries. A wholesome, godly use of alcohol stays vigilant towards no less than these 5 nice risks of alcohol (all outcomes of extreme ingesting): confusion, perversion, instability, paralysis, and futility.


Your eyes will see unusual issues. . . . (Proverbs 23:33)

The primary hazard of drunkenness is confusion. Abusing alcohol will make you see unusual issues, robbing you of the flexibility to understand actuality. You will note issues that aren’t there, otherwise you’ll see issues which can be there however not as they’re. Like the person on the facet of the highway, you gained’t have the ability to stroll straight, a lot much less in a fashion worthy of God (Colossians 1:10).

“Drunkenness blurs life-and-death distinctions and muddies the dear guarantees and instructions of God.”

We see this hazard when God says to Aaron and the clergymen, “Drink no wine or robust drink, you or your sons with you, whenever you go into the tent of assembly, lest you die. It shall be a statute ceaselessly all through your generations” (Leviticus 10:8–9). Why would God forbid the clergymen from ingesting alcohol? As a result of they, greater than anybody else, wanted to see actuality clearly sufficient to protect the individuals towards hazard, particularly religious hazard, and make them what’s true, lovely, and holy. “You might be to differentiate between the holy and the widespread, and between the unclean and the clear, and you’re to show the individuals of Israel all of the statutes that the Lord has spoken to them by Moses” (Leviticus 10:10–11).

Drunkenness, then and now, blurs life-and-death distinctions and muddies the dear guarantees and instructions of God.


Your eyes will see unusual issues, and your coronary heart utter perverse issues. (Proverbs 23:33)

Scripture repeatedly ties drunkenness to immorality, particularly sexual immorality (see Hosea 4:10–11; Joel 3:2–3). Within the verses instantly earlier than ours, the sensible father says,

My son, give me your coronary heart,
     and let your eyes observe my methods.
For a prostitute is a deep pit;
     an adulteress is a slender properly.
She lies in wait like a robber
     and will increase the traitors amongst mankind.
Who has woe? Who has sorrow? . . . (Proverbs 23:26–29)

Why transfer so rapidly, and with none transition, from prostitutes to wine glasses? As a result of the latter so typically results in the previous. Extreme alcohol exaggerates the pleasures of sin and obscures its prices and penalties. Drunkenness makes a lethal pit appear to be a properly, a bloodthirsty thief like a reliable good friend, a forbidden girl like a secret stream of pleasure.

So what’s the warning? Alcohol attracts perversity out of a person. He says issues he by no means would have stated sober. He does issues he by no means would have finished in any other case. Drunkenness undid righteous Noah after God delivered him by the flood: “He drank of the wine and have become drunk and lay uncovered in his tent” (Genesis 9:21). Alcohol fooled Lot into incest (Genesis 19:32). When Nabal rejected David and left his males hungry, what fueled his foolishness? “Nabal’s coronary heart was merry inside him, for he was very drunk” (1 Samuel 25:36). Alcohol doesn’t spark perversion the place it isn’t (Matthew 15:11), however it could possibly stoke secret sin right into a raging, devastating flame.


You may be like one who lies down within the midst of the ocean, like one who lies on the highest of a mast. (Proverbs 23:34)

The picture right here comes near the confusion of verse 33, however carries a singular warning. If the previous was the lack to discern holy from unholy, actual from unreal, this image emphasizes incapacitation. Alcohol leaves a person asleep whereas he lies in grave peril, in conditions the place his alertness actually issues. He even falls asleep within the crow’s nest, the place the winds and waves could be felt most. He’s totally, dreadfully unaware of hazard.

On this method, alcohol shouldn’t be solely a hazard to a person, however to everybody who depends upon him. Whereas he sleeps within the storms at sea, he imperils everybody else within the boat — and he leaves something he might need finished to another person. When he’s wanted most, he’s unavailable. Bottle after bottle, he makes himself a burden to these for whom he’s known as to guard and supply.

Worse than that, alcohol typically makes a person a terror to these he loves. One other proverb says, “Wine is a mocker, robust drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it isn’t sensible” (Proverbs 20:1). That is the very antithesis of Jesus, who calmed the seas for these he cherished. When the storm comes, this man creates much more chaos. He creates storms the place there was none. As a substitute of a secure refuge, he turns into unstable, unpredictable.


“They struck me,” you’ll say, “however I used to be not harm; they beat me, however I didn’t really feel it.” (Proverbs 23:35)

Of the 5, this can be probably the most scary. Drunkenness numbs a person to actuality, and particularly to all that threatens him. His senses have been so dulled that he can’t even really feel when somebody beats him. He’s harm however can’t really feel harm, which implies he can’t detect hazard anymore.

That’s what ache does — it alerts us to some risk and calls us to behave. If we’re drunk, we sleep by the alarm. “Watch yourselves,” Jesus warns, “lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come across you instantly like a entice” (Luke 21:34). He teaches the lesson with much more horrifying photos. He says that when the depraved servant drinks with drunkards,

the grasp of that servant will come on a day when he doesn’t anticipate him and at an hour he doesn’t know and can reduce him in items and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there can be weeping and gnashing of enamel. (Matthew 24:50–51)

The horror is in how rapidly they’ll fall from the comforts of drunkenness into the agony of judgment. If proverbs is not going to sober them, the weeping will.


“When shall I awake? I will need to have one other drink.” (Proverbs 23:35)

Does any single image higher painting the futility and madness of drunkenness? The drunk particular person seems to be for satisfaction in his glass, however searches and searches and by no means finds the underside. Regardless of how a lot he drinks, his thirst is rarely quenched. Consumption consumes him.

“The drunk particular person seems to be for satisfaction in his glass, however searches and searches and by no means finds the underside.”

The Preacher of Ecclesiastes was well-acquainted with robust drink. “I searched with my coronary heart how one can cheer my physique with wine. . . . Then I thought of all that my palms had finished and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vainness and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained below the solar” (Ecclesiastes 2:3–11). No quantity of alcohol may quench the craving inside him. And but hundreds of thousands maintain pouring, maintain binging, maintain striving after wind.

The prophet Isaiah had seen alcohol destroy souls. He says of Israel’s leaders, “They’re shepherds who don’t have any understanding; they’ve all turned to their very own method, every to his personal acquire, every person. ‘Come,’ they are saying, ‘let me get wine; allow us to fill ourselves with robust drink; and tomorrow can be like today, nice past measure’” (Isaiah 56:11–12). They ask lifetime of wine as a result of they’re fools, as a result of they stubbornly drink at dry wells. And so they’re parched souls burned any who adopted them. Drunkenness is a properly with out water, a marathon with no end line, a curse that won’t carry.

Ingesting on Empty

None of this, after all, negates the profound and religious goodness of wine. Once more, the Lord’s Supper teaches us that this isn’t a drink for the shadows, however for the rooftops. Like so lots of the greatest presents of God, although, wine is all of the extra harmful for having been infused with a lot potential for good.

And, as can be true about one of the best presents, knowledge over the glass will imply greater than heeding warnings. It can imply being so glad at one other, deeper properly that we are able to take pleasure in wine with out turning into its slaves. “Don’t get drunk with wine,” the apostle Paul warns, “for that’s debauchery, however be crammed with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). In different phrases, in the event you do resolve to drink, don’t drink on an empty soul. One of the simplest ways to protect towards the intense risks of alcohol is to fill ourselves with God — to drink every day and deeply from his phrases, to entrust him with our fears and burdens by prayer, to thank him for the brand new and distinctive expressions of his kindness, to bury our lives and presents and joys amongst his individuals, to sing collectively of our love for him. In hearts like these, drunkenness can’t get within the entrance door, a lot much less discover a seat on the bar.

Sarcastically, individuals who dwell like this, whose lives are gladly and recurrently soaked in God, not solely keep away from the terrible and damaging curses of drunkenness, however in addition they would possibly get to really and extra totally take pleasure in some good wine.


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