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Let’s consider several verses in Proverbs from the New American Standard Bible. The first one is Proverbs 20:1 which reads, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.” The Word of God does not mince words when it comes to the abuse of alcoholic beverages. Wine MOCKS a person by making them think it will bring satisfaction when it actually brings heartache and sorrow. It often leads to poverty, as we see in Proverbs 21:17, “He who loves pleasure will become a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not become rich.” I can attest to the truth of this for before I was saved I worked in a liquor store and I witnessed hundreds of men and women who had been reduced to poverty and unhappiness by the abuse of alcohol. Their families also suffered as well, which added to their misery. Strong drink leads to brawling. Policemen have told me that most calls that they receive are domestic disputes brought about by alcohol. Clearly, the person who “is intoxicated by it is not wise.” I would also encourage you to read Proverbs 23:29-35 which gives us a graphic description of the devastating effects of drunkenness.

Proverbs 31:4-5 says, “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Or for rulers to desire strong drink, For they will drink and forget what is decreed, And pervert the rights of all the afflicted.” Not only does alcohol MOCK a person and lead to BRAWLS and POVERTY, but it causes one to be FORGETFUL and affects their JUDGMENT.

Proverbs 31:6-7 gives us an exception to the rule, for it states, “Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to him whose life is bitter. Let him drink and forget his poverty And remember his trouble no more.”  Before narcotics such as morphine were used to ease the pain and suffering of the dying, wine and strong drink were used. So there was a legitimate use of these for medicinal purposes. We see this also in 1 Timothy 5:23 where Paul told Timothy, “No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.” Notice it says, “a little wine,” for when using wine for “frequent ailments” there is still the need for moderation. I may add that if one is truly able to use wine in moderation, he has the liberty to have “a little wine” on other occasions as well, such as with a meal. I believe Paul had this in mind when he referred to the Christian’s liberty in Romans 14, though in verse 21 he does state “It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles.” We should avoid drinking wine or doing anything that would cause a weaker brother to stumble.  (150.3)  (DO)