The ABC’s of Wisdom: Building Character with Solomon - Sobriety



Knowing When to Say No


Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

Proverbs 20:1


There are a great many references to wine, strong drink, and drunkenness scattered throughout the Bible. The earliest reference is in Genesis; the last, in Rev­elation. The total number of verses would run up into the hundreds. However, there is not a binding rule, i.e., “Thou shalt not drink.” In one place, the Bible says, “Do not get drunk on wine” (Ephesians 5:18). In another place, the Bible speaks of “wine that gladdens the heart of man” (Psalm 104:15). In one place, Paul says that no drunkard shall inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthi­ans 6:10). In another place, he advises Timothy to “use a little wine because of your stomach” (1 Timothy 5:23).

Because there is no universal rule, each believer must make his own decision guided by the larger teachings of Scripture, his own situation, the counsel of others, and common sense.

However, to put the matter that way does not exactly settle the issue, does it? A quick check of the concordance under the word wine shows that many of the references warn the reader of the negative effects of alcohol. Consid­er the following examples:


Proverbs 20:1: “Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler.”


Isaiah 24:9: “The beer is bitter to its drinkers.”


First Corinthians 6:10: “[No] drunkards . . . will in­herit the kingdom of God.”


Ephesians 5:18: “Do not get drunk on wine.”


Galatians 5:19-21: “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: . . . drunkenness.”


First Peter 4:3: “For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do-living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.”


The Bible warns us repeatedly of the dangers of alcohol. Let’s look at one other passage: Proverbs 23:29-35.


Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things. You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. “They hit me,” you will say, “but I’m not hurt! They beat me, but I don’t feel it. When will I wake up so I can find another drink?”


What is the Bible telling us? That we cannot drink? No. That it’s a sin to take a drink? No, not necessarily. It’s telling us there’s danger ahead. Think twice before you take the first drink.

Suppose you are traveling through the mountains and come to a fork in the road. One fork says “Safe for all travelers.” The other is labeled “Dangerous road.” Watch out for falling rocks. Soft shoulders. Landslides possible. Sharp curves, no guard rails. Travel at your own risk.” Both roads are open, both offer scenic views, and you see cars going both ways. Which way are you going to go? I suppose it depends on how ready you are to risk your own life. Either way, you’ve got a choice to make.


Lord, give me wisdom in my personal decisions, know­ing that others are influenced by the choices I make. Amen.


What is your own personal practice regarding the use of alcohol? Are you comfortable with the decisions you have made?

Is there any history of alcohol abuse in your family or among your close friends? How does that impact your own decisions regarding alcohol?


Want instant access to all 100 daily devotionals? The ABC’s of Wisdom: Building Character with Solomon is available in ebook format for the Kindle, Nook, or Ipad. Purchase your copy here! 

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