Mark and Shelly Nelson, authors
Today let’s look at the core passage for Bruce’s upcoming sermon and what it says about our heart’s desire.
29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has strife? Who has complaints?
Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?
30 Those who linger over wine,
who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.
31 Do not gaze at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup,
when it goes down smoothly!
32 In the end it bites like a snake
and poisons like a viper.
33 Your eyes will see strange sights,
and your mind will imagine confusing things.
34 You will be like one sleeping on the high seas,
lying on top of the rigging.
35 “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?”
- Do I have someone in my life that I visualize when I read this passage?
- What is the allure of wine if it bites like a snake, impacts vision, confuses thinking and causes staggering?
Read what others say
Some may wonder how anyone could long for another drink after over indulging and knowing it could make them feel the way this passage describes. These two authors provide a glimpse at what our hearts truly desire and how the world seeks to fulfill that desire:
From Dr. Gary R. Collins:
“Stated concisely, human beings have an inner need for a real and growing relationship with God. When this craving is denied, unrecognized and unfilled, there is a search for something else which will fill the vacuum.”
From Steven J. Lennox:
“‘Don’t believe the ads’ could be written as the caption for [Proverbs] 23:31. Beer, liquor, and wine advertisers spend millions making their products look attractive: ‘They will bring you acceptance, women (or men), sophistication, and happiness.’ Don’t believe the ads. Instead go to the detoxification unit of your hospital, to a rescue mission, to a homeless shelter, or to nearly any downtown alley if you want to see what drunkenness is really like.”
- We can all fall into unhealthy ways of managing the stress of life. Alcohol dependence is just one. Bring God your sorrow, your strife, your stress. Speak it out loud or write it on a piece of paper. Admit your life is unmanageable when you try to control it on your own.
- Ask the Spirit to show you what you’re relying on to fill the “God-shaped hole” in your life – maybe it’s alcohol or drugs, but maybe its work or attention from others through social media, sex or physical appearance, recognition you receive or power you hold, etc.
- Confess your need for God’s love to fill your heart’s desire and for his power to overcome the temptation to seek satisfaction in any earthly substitute.
- Thank God for his forgiveness through Jesus and accept his mercy and grace that frees you from the bondage these other powers may hold over you.
Talk about it
- Galatians 6:2 says to carry each other’s burdens. Is there any sorrow, strife or stress you shared with God that you can allow your partner to help you carry?
- What do you crave? What do you wake up each morning hoping to find? What is the longing of your heart that God longs to fill?
 Gary R. Collins, Ph.D., Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide (Waco, TX:Word, Inc., 1980), 383.
 Steven J. Lennox, Proverbs: A Bible Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition (Indianapolis, IN: Wesleyan Publishing House, 1998)