Mark and Shelly Nelson, authors
What’s the most curious item you’ve seen in the middle of the road? You know what it’s like —— driving full speed on Interstate 75 and there it is blocking an entire lane of traffic. I feel bad for the people who were obviously moving and lost a very nice chair or part of a sectional sofa.
While people may gawk a bit, slow down to avoid an accident while asking, “what was that?” I have yet to see anyone pull over, park on the should, and wander onto the road to examine it closely or plop down to see if it’s comfortable. Of course not! That would be dangerous!
That’s the same warning we see in our passage today. Yesterday verse 29 asked us all the “who has” questions, and today is our answer… “those who linger.”
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!
- Have I ever spent a bit more time in a situation I knew wasn’t good for me?
- When was I willing to try something “just this once” that I knew I probably shouldn’t?
- What is it (or who is it) that catches my eye every time and entices me to think about how I would feel if it (they) were mine?
Something to Consider
These two verses are definitely talking about wine, but they follow a similar pattern we see in other passages about temptation.
James 1:13-15 says individuals are not tempted by God, but tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grow, gives birth to death.
How does this align with our verses today?
- First, we linger. The idea behind this word is “spending a lot of time with” wine or regularly putting ourselves in the presence of temptation.
- Next, we sample. We build up a tolerance and need something more, something stronger to achieve the same feeling we did when we first started down this path.
- Then we admire. We become blind to the negative impact on our lives and become drawn to the alluring nature of this temptation.
- Finally, we swallow. The taste of this temptation is what satisfies us.
The word in James 1:14 for “dragged away” describes using bait on a hook to catch fish. The fish is safe being in the presence of the bait. It’s when it starts to nibble, admire the lure, and finally swallow that it leads to death.
Read what others say
From J.D. Barry:
“We have a say in the progression of events in our lives—it all has to do with the doors we open and the ones we close. Overcoming sin happens when we choose not to open the doors that lead to it; hence Jesus tells us to pray, “lead us not into temptation” (Matt 6:13). We must choose the path that keeps us away from sin and leads us toward faith.”
- Recognize God’s holiness. He is so “other than” — set apart from evil — that he cannot and will not tempt us. Thank God for his faithfulness. He walks beside us through trials which refine us that we may be holy as he is holy.
- Confess to God your weaknesses. He already knows our hearts and is aware of what temptations challenge us. Ask God for his protection. Once you’ve admitted where you are weak, welcome his correction and guidance to remove the evil desires that entice you so that you are not dragged away.
- Pray in the name of Jesus. He endured the consequence of our sin and overcame death that we might live life to the fullest.
Talk about it
- How do you recognize when you’re “lingering” with temptation? Do you feel an internal nudge to move away from it?
- Read 1 Corinthians 10:13 together. Based on the previous question, how is God at work in your life to shepherd you away from danger?
- What can you do to be more attentive to God’s protective promptings?