The Value of Taking a Drink
by Kent Heaton
Alcohol has always been a demon that plagues man with its sparkle and alluring appeal to the desires of the flesh. Noah planted a vineyard and “drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent” (Genesis 9:21). The children of Israel did not take long to fall head-long into licentiousness at Mt. Sinai with their debauchery (Exodus 32). King David tried to cover his own sin with Bathsheba by bringing Uriah home from the war and getting him drunk; supposing Uriah would go home and sleep with Bathsheba (II Samuel 11:12,13). David sinned when he got Uriah drunk (Habakkuk 2:15). King Elah was killed by Zimri because he was drunk (I Kings 16:8,10). Countless lives have been destroyed because of alcohol.
The Lord said in Proverbs 20:1 – “Wine is a mocker, intoxicating drink arouses brawling, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” Alcohol has an appeal that is only a veneer hiding pain and sorrow. The wise man suggested that those who linger at the wine are not wise. Drinking wine and intoxicating drink is stupid. The value of drinking means a person has become very dull in their minds, insensible, senseless and wanting in understanding. King Lemuel’s mother instructed him that drinking is not for kings nor princes “lest they drink and forget the law, and pervert the justice of all the afflicted" (Proverbs 31:4,5). If you want to die – drink (Proverbs 31:6,7).
The value of drinking is found in the pleasure afterwards. "So says Jehovah of Hosts, the God of Israel: Drink and be drunk, and vomit, and fall, and rise no more … Make him drunk … wallow in his vomit” (Jeremiah 25:27; 48:26). Sounds exciting don’t it? That is a wonderful picture of a Christian seeking to let Christ shine in their lives. The character of a child of God does not fit with drinking. We are commanded to “not be drunk with wine, in which is excess, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). Christians who drink grieve the Holy Spirit (and you really do not want to grieve the Holy Spirit – Ephesians 4:30).
Some Christians defend “social drinking” on the basis that the Lord condemns drunkenness and as long as they do not get drunk, they are pleasing God. Drunkenness is a sin and condemned by God (Galatians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 5:1; Romans 13:13). Taking a drink of alcohol is not sinful as it can be used for the “stomach’s sake” (I Timothy 5:23). Social drinking is not medicinal; it’s social. The reasons given for social drinking will also apply to social fornication – better known as “petting.” As long as I do not commit the act of fornication, I can do whatever I want? God forbid! “For let fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness not be once named among you, as becomes saints … no fornicator, or unclean person, or covetous one (who is an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” (Ephesians 5:3-5).
The value of drinking is rooted in the desires of the flesh and these desires make one an enemy of God (1 John 2:15-17). “They who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:8). Christians walk in such a manner to “please God” (1 Thessalonians 4:1). The soul that lingers long at the wine, going in search of mixed wine when it is red and sparkles in the cup will only find the bite of the serpent, the sting of the viper among many woes, sorrows, contentions, complaints and wounds without cause (Proverbs 23:29-35). It is hard enough to fight sin sober; why do you compromise your soul?