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The Pride of the Drunkard

by Kent Heaton

Basil said, "Drunkenness is the ruin of reason. It is premature old age. It is temporary death" (Homilies, c. 375). There are few things engaged in by man that is as self-defeating and destructive as drunkenness. Quite frankly it is stupid beyond reason. A radio commentator recently described a time he had so much to drink he could not remember going home, how he got home nor who took him home. The sad part his remarks is that it was a boast with laughter intermixed of his drinking exploits. I thought of his wife who had to put up with a drunk coming home; possibly children. What about what they had to endure?

The pride of the drunkard is described in Proverbs 23:29-35. "Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long at the wine, those who go in search of mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things. Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying: 'They have struck me, but I was not hurt; They have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?'" The remarkable part of this scenario is after all the pain endured the man seeks another drink.

"Drunkenness is a vice which is painful and sickly in the very acting of it" (Jeremy Taylor, 1651). Billions of dollars are spent each year to promote drunkenness and billions of dollars are exacted to pay the health, mental and family crisis that is caused by the foolishness of alcohol. The news is filled with stories of pain and sorrow because of the impact of drunkenness. The word of God gives stern warnings of its consequence. Because of drunkenness Noah was uncovered before his family (Genesis 9:20-27) and Canaan was cursed. The daughters of Lot committed incest with their father when they got him drunk (Genesis 19:30-38). David got Uriah drunk trying to cover up his adultery with Bathsheba (II Samuel 11:13).

There is no glory in drunkenness.

"A drunken man staggers in his vomit" (Isaiah 19:14).

"For all tables are full of vomit and filth; no place is clean" (Isaiah 28:8).

"Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor, pressing him to your bottle, even to make him drunk, that you may look on his nakedness! You are filled with shame instead of glory. You also drink! And be exposed as uncircumcised! The cup of the Lord's right hand will be turned against you, and utter shame will be on your glory" (Habakkuk 2:15-16).

The greater sadness is found in moments of reckless folly here will only lead to an eternal sadness in Hell. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived ... drunkards ... will [not] inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10). It will not be funny to be a drunk in Hell. There will be neither pride nor boasting of drunkenness in torment; only the sad realization that life was about living with God and not dying through the bottle.

Children of God have enough to deal with in temptation stone sober than to cause a greater temptation through the drinking of alcohol. "Abstain from every form of evil" (I Thessalonians 5:22). "As He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, 'Be holy, for I am holy'" (1 Peter 1:15-16). Don't be a fool!