Mark and Shelly Nelson, authors
We asked ourselves on Day 1 what we were really hoping to gain from our study this week. As we’ve searched Proverbs for wisdom regarding alcohol, we’ve definitely realized it’s a deeper question than is drinking right or wrong. We’ve recognized the consequences of drunkenness and identified the dangers of lingering with temptation. One more theme to explore as we consider this topic.
Whoever loves pleasure will become poor;
Whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich.
17 Do not let your heart envy sinners,
but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.
18 There is surely a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.
19 Listen, my son, and be wise,
and set your heart on the right path:
20 Do not join those who drink too much wine
or gorge themselves on meat,
21 for drunkards and gluttons become poor,
and drowsiness clothes them in rags.
- How much of your budget do you spend on “pleasure”? What would you consider extravagant?
- Does your heart long for (envy) the “lifestyles of the rich and famous”…their entertainment, their food, their wine?
Read what others say
From John Gill:
“Let the fear of God be always before thine eyes and in thine heart; be continually in the exercise of fear, which is attended with faith and trust in the Lord; with love and affection to him, and joy and delight in him; be constantly employed in the duties of religion, private and public, which the fear of God includes; and this will be a preservative from envying, murmuring, and fretting at the outward happiness of wicked men; and from joining with them in their evil ways.”
From Focus on the Family:
The Bible never gives detailed instructions about drinking. It does, however, give principles every Christian should consider. … Christians have a responsibility to regulate all of their behavior in every area of life according to the law of love (James 2:8). So, drinking should be handled with prayer and careful consideration.
- If someone does decide to drink, they should guard against the progressive nature of alcoholism (the tendency to move from a free choice to a chemical addiction). It’s particularly important to be aware of any family history related to alcoholism, as this can increase the chances of a person losing control.
- Minors should obey the law and abstain from any use of alcohol.
- Remember the advice Paul gives about stumbling blocks in 1 Corinthians 10:23-33: The question we should ask ourselves isn’t what may or may not be permissible— that’s a self-centered approach. Instead, we should ask how our choices (and how we communicate our perspectives) might impact other people (Philippians 2:3-4).
Talk about it
- How do you steward what God has given you to provide for your needs?
- Today’s passages focus on being zealous for God and not the things of this world. As we consider alcohol or any area of life, what demonstrates to others where our commitment truly lies?
- Verse 23:19 admonishes us to be wise and set our hearts on the right path. What does that look like according to verses 20-21? Can you say you’re on the right path?
Oh, LORD, Creator and Provider. In the beginning you made all things and called them good. Your creation provides for our needs and excites our senses with beauty and variety. With the Fall, we know we have taken what you’ve given for our pleasure and perverted it to bring us harm.
Give us wisdom in how we handle your good gifts, both in public and in private. Draw our hearts to you, that we find full satisfaction in you. Protect us from comparing the joy you give to the temporal joy we see exploited in this world.
Pray for any specific actions you’ve realized you need to take as a result of this week’s study. Ask for his power, through the name of Jesus, to help you be zealous.
Coming next week
Next week, we’re going to deal with a topic that Proverbs speaks to quite a bit — sex. A whole lot has changed since Proverbs was written, but the devastating consequences of sexual sin is not one of them. The Wise Father of Proverbs has some wisdom to teach us in this area.
 Christians and Social Drinking. https://www.focusonthefamily.com/family-qa/christians-and-social-drinking/