Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Wine Is a Mocker (Proverbs 20:1; 21:17; 23:19–21)

"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler …" (Prov. 20:1).

The abuse of alcohol can have far-reaching and devastating consequences. How many unredeemed souls have traveled the broad road to hell with a bottle in their hand? How many have traded reality for delusion at the cost of their own lives or even the lives of others? How many have sacrificed their families for a deception?

Bridges passionately warned his readers against the deception of strong drink. He taught his people to learn self-control and to guard against drunkenness by watching their lives for any ungodly indulgence in this area. God has given us fruit from the wine for enjoyment, not for abuse. If you find yourself unable to control how much you drink, do not toy with such an insidious tempter. In fact, I would encourage you not to partake of alcohol at all. Take whatever means necessary to save yourself from becoming enslaved to alcohol. “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Rom. 13:14).

Solomon called wine a mocker. It promises pleasures that it can never give. But, as Bridges says, “so mighty is the spell, that the besotted slave consents to be mocked again and again.” As each bottle is drained, the soul remains empty, and yet the drunkard continues to drink. He sacrifices his reason, his reputation, his relationships, all for a drink (Prov. 23:29–35). Only by the power of Christ can anyone be saved from such bondage. Bridges writes, “Humbling indeed is it to human nature, to see, not only the mass of the ignorant, but splendid talents, brutalized by this lust; that which was once ‘created in the image of God,’ now sunk into the dregs of shame! Yet more humbling is the sight even of God’s own people ‘wallowing in this mire.’ The examples of Noah and Lot are recorded, not as a laughing-stock to the ungodly, but as a beacon to the saints. ‘Let him that thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall.’ Even an Apostle had practically learnt, that his security lay not in the innate strength of his principles, but in the unceasing exercise of Christian watchfulness. ‘Take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.’ ‘Do not be drunk with wine’—said the great Apostle—‘wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit’ (Luke 21:34, Eph. 5:18).”

The Bible tells us not to make provision for our lusts (Rom. 13:13). Provision means to make plans with foresight. How can you make no provision for the sin of drunkenness? Be specific and practical. Not only should you make no provision for lust, but you should put on Christ. How do you endeavor to accomplish this?