'Wine is a Mocker'
There is a very large body of verses especially in Proverbs where we are warned about the danger of alcohol. But we are also warned about the dangers of keeping company with those who abuse alcohol: “Hear thou, my son, and be wise…Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: for the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty; and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags” (Prov. 23:19-21). The wise king Solomon spoke these words to each of us, we are his “son” if we wish to be the children of wisdom. In my country, and also in other neighbouring countries such as Russia, Belarus etc., we have a very large problem with alcohol abuse. Any event of life, be it sad or happy, is celebrated with alcohol and drunkenness. Weddings, funerals, going to the army, returning from army service, moving to a new house, are all met with hard drinking. Indeed, buying or getting anything new is an excuse for such drinking. At the time of drinking, there is no thought for the future. Prov. 23:29-31 says “Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath complaining? who hath wounds without cause? Who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek out mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth its colour in the cup, when it goeth down smoothly: at the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange things, and thine heart shall utter froward things”. All who live in the Ukraine can testify that this is so true, and those who drink know this to be true, and yet still they do it.
Alcohol leads to lack of self control, and most robberies and murders are committed under the influence or under the need to obtain alcohol. Alcohol takes away any desire to aspire to the higher, spiritual things which we are asked to aspire to. Physical degradation is apparent throughout our population as a result of alcohol. The sin of alcoholism is therefore because it destroys the body as well as because it leads us to lack of moral control. This is why the Bible says that abusers of alcohol will not inherit the Kingdom of God, because of the unspiritual way of life that it leads to (1 Cor. 6:9,10). The same apostle Paul who wrote this is the one who is often wrongly quoted because of his words to Timothy, that he should take a little wine for his stomach’s sake. But clearly this cannot be used to justify the abuse of alcohol. We should not be filled with wine, but with the Spirit of God (Eph. 5:18). Lk. 21:34 says that in the last days, the hearts of people will be full of alcohol, and this is why they will not be looking forward to the coming of Jesus and they will not be ready for him, and this is a situation we see fulfilling around us very much in this land.
Let us be aware, then, that from God’s viewpoint, alcoholism is put together with theft, adultery and murder. It is very serious. The priests on duty and the persons who took the nazarite vow were not allowed to drink alcohol (Lev. 10:9, Num. 6:1-4), and we too are on duty for God as a nation of priests. Our judgment must never be clouded. There is forgiveness of course for alcoholics, always the way is open to repentance. Repentance is about a new way of life, and this is the hope for alcoholics, that they, too, can truly share in the new life which God makes possible.
Comment: Duncan has written a booklet “Living with Alcoholism – Some Suggestions for Christians” available in several languages.
Bro. Gennady (Poltava, Ukraine )