“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1). The most dangerous drug in America is alcohol. Cocaine, marijuana, heroin, ecstasy, nicotine, all of them bow before King Alcohol. Alcohol is the most dangerous drug in America, and this nation worships King Alcohol. We all need to get Biblical wisdom and understanding in regards to alcohol, but first consider these statistics:
- More than 100,000 U.S. deaths are caused by excessive alcohol consumption each year.
- Direct and indirect causes of death include drunk driving, cirrhosis of the liver, falls, cancer, and stroke.
- The alcohol industry does $30 billion annually
- Over $600 million is annually spent on alcohol advertisements
- 71% of adult Americans drink
- 78% of adults between the ages of 18-29 drink
- 65% of youth surveyed said that they got the alcohol they drink from family and friends.
- 80% of all crime has alcohol involved
- 50% of all single vehicle accidents are due to drunk drivers
- 25% of all family problems are alcohol related
- The per capita consumption of alcohol in America for people 15 and older is 32 ½ gallons!
I never drank a drop, so who drank my 32 ½ gallons?! Alcohol is dangerous because of its availability, its acceptance, and its affect. Alcohol not only affects the drinker, but the friends and family of the drinker, as well as the community of the drinker; all are horribly affected by alcohol. Alcohol causes homes to unravel. Alcohol crushes lives and devastates dreams, hopes, and hearts. Alcohol brings moral, physical, spiritual, mental, and financial disaster. What does the Bible, specifically the Proverbs, have to say about alcohol?
You might be surprised that the use of wine is not specifically condemned in Scripture, in fact, there are some texts which speak favorably of wine (Psalm 104:15; Deuteronomy 14:26; 33:28). How can this be? You should not confuse the intoxicating wine of today with the wine spoken of in Bible times. When the Bible speaks positively of wine, the wine mentioned was basically un-intoxicating. Strong drink is always condemned because it was an unmixed, fermented, and intoxicating drink.
The Scriptures always condemn drunkenness (Isaiah 5:11-12; 28:7-8; Habakkuk 2:15; Ephesians 5:18; Romans 13:13; Galatians 5:19-21). Drinking is never commended in scripture, except for medicinal purposes (Proverbs 31:6-7; 1 Timothy 5:23). Drunkenness is condemned. Abstinence is commended.
- Priests were to abstain from alcohol (Leviticus 10:9).
- Part of the Nazarite vow involved abstinence (Numbers 6:3).
- Leaders were never to drink (Proverbs 31:4-5).
- John the Baptist, whom Jesus referred to as the greatest man “born of women” (Matthew 11:11) never drank “wine or strong drink” (Luke 1:15).
Seven Biblical Reasons for Alcohol Abstinence
1 – Because Drunkenness is a Sin not a Disease
In 1956 the American Medical Association (AMA) declared alcoholism a disease. If alcohol is a disease then it is…
- The only disease that requires a license to propagate it.
- The only disease that is bottled and sold.
- The only disease portrayed as glamorous.
- The only disease that produces government revenue.
- The only disease that is habit forming.
- The only disease spread through advertising.
- The only disease which has no germ or virus as the cause.
Drunkenness is not a disease. Drunkenness is a sinful choice. However, the majority of Americans believe that alcoholism is a disease. The majority of Americans are wrong. Hodgkin’s disease is a disease. Parkinson’s disease is a disease. Alcoholism is a choice to imbibe until one is drunk; drunkenness is a self-inflicted sickness as a result of poisoning one’s self.
2 – Because Alcohol is a Mind-altering Drug
Christ desires His followers to be under only one influence – the influence of the Holy Spirit. Alcohol will hinder what a believer should want most, namely to recognize and to do the will of God.
- Romans 12:2 – “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
- Ephesians 5:17-18 – “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”
The mature believer does not ask: “What can I do and still not transgress God’s will?” But rather: “Is there anything at all that I can do or stop doing that will better enable me to recognize and do the will of God?”
Drinking alcoholic beverages – whether or not one drinks until drunk – does not increase one’s sensitivity to the will of God. On the contrary, it weakens the intensity of our desire to be holy as God is holy. Drinking alcoholic beverages contradicts and threatens what a Christian should most value.
3 – Because Alcohol Impairs Wisdom
The thrust of this series is to challenge the readers to “get wisdom and get understanding.” Drinking alcohol defeats that purpose because alcohol impairs wisdom.
- Proverbs 31:4-5, “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: 5Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.”
- Priests were forbidden to drink. Leviticus 10:8-9, “And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, 9Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee.”
You may argue that you are not a king, prince, or priest, but, if you are a believer, the Bible says otherwise.
- 1 Peter 2:9 – “ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”
- Revelation 1:5-6 – “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father.”
If you are to get wisdom and understanding the last thing you need to do is drink alcohol. Even small amounts of alcohol impair wisdom. Consider the following:
- Trained typists committed 40% more errors after only small amounts of alcohol
- 1 oz of alcohol retards muscular reaction 17%
- 1 oz of alcohol increases decision making time by 10%
Alcohol will steal your memory, your reflexes, your capacity to reason, your defenses against sin, and your ability to glorify God. Alcohol will cost you in wisdom. Do you have any wisdom that you want to waste?
4 – Because Alcohol is an Unnecessary Drug
- Proverbs 31:6-7, “Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. 7Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.”
This is not a call to knock back some cold ones after a rough day at work, or after a tough loss by the team, or after being left by your spouse. This is the prescription of alcohol as a drug for someone who is dying. This is the prescription of alcohol as a painkiller or sedative.
No doctor would prescribe Southern Comfort for his patient nowadays because alcohol is an unnecessary drug. It has one purpose: to cause drunkenness.
5 – Because Alcohol is Destructive
Proverbs 23:29-34a: “Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? 30They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. 31Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. 32At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. 33Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. 34Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. 35They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not.”
Alcohol destroys the individual. Drinking destroys brain cells and causes sluggish thinking, behavior and speech. Drinking leads to obesity, liver disease, heart disease, and moral failure. Alcohol destroys the individual and the family. Child and spousal abuse, adultery, murder, poverty, and rape all go hand in hand with drinking. Alcohol destroys the individual, the family, and the community. The stats listed at the beginning of this lesson drive this home. The social cost of drinking and drunkenness is astronomical.
A loaded 737 carries 215 passengers. Imagine if a loaded 737 crashed once a week killing all on board. There would be outrage in the streets and in the halls of Congress. More than 369 people die every week as a result of alcohol induced causes, and hardly anyone whispers a complaint. Alcohol is destructive to everyone.
6 – Because Alcohol is Addictive
Proverbs 23:35b, “When shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.” Why would any Christian drink a beverage that not only blurs the fine shades of moral restraints, but is also habit-forming? Alcohol is addictive. One drink leads to another…and another…and another.
- 1 Corinthians 6:12, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
Again, the only influence a Christian should be under is the influence of the Holy Spirit. Why would a blood-bought child of God place himself in bondage to the bottle? Be in bondage to Christ, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light, but do not place yourself in bondage to the bottle.
7 – Because Wisdom Calls for Abstinence
Abstinence is the choice of wisdom and understanding. Abstinence is the highest, best, and most wise course a believer can take; it is a choice that will not render shame. Proverbs 20:1, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” To be deceived is to be led astray. The social drinker, the sometimes drinker, the every-now-and-then drinker is on the path that leads astray. Do not even get on that path. Get wisdom and get understanding about alcohol: choose abstinence.