Archive for the ‘Proverbs 23’ Category

We see some of the things of wisdom and understanding teaches (in verses 26, 27, 28). The first verse is another warning to listen to. The word prostitute is a very clear word showing just how disgusting this sin is.

These terms refer to any immoral woman. Falling into her clutches should be as frightening as the prospect of falling into a deep pit or well, from which there is no escape.

We have said before that devastating diseases are associated with whoredom today. A man or woman of wisdom will not get involved in this type of sin. This sin involves the body, and the body (if you are a Christian), is the TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. This sin, more than others, involves God in the sin; and this is an abomination to God.

Don’t let the desires of the flesh; draw you out of fellowship with God.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 23:13-14 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.

We see here, that punishment should not be overlooked in training a child. If he cries, it is not because you are killing him. The child will survive the punishment and thus avoid an untimely or premature death due to sinful conduct.

However, many parents are reluctant to discipline their children at all. Some fear they will forfeit their relationship, that their children will resent them, or that they will stifle their children’s development. But correction won’t kill children, and it may prevent them from foolish moves that will.

A lesson learned where punishment is involved is remembered better. In the Old Testament, a rebellious child was killed. Rebellion was associated with witchcraft. This is just saying, whip him and drive the rebellion out of him, before it gets too much hold on him. In the long run you will save him.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 23:27 For a prostitute is a deep pit and a wayward wife is a narrow well.

The greatest threat to men, especially young men, is whores and adulteresses. An attractive, bold, and immoral woman is their most dangerous enemy. Solomon asked his son for his heart and his eyes, so he might warn him to avoid the fatal snare of these sexual destroyers (Pr 23:26). With the cold and calculating heart of a beast of prey, they use any means of enticement to capture and destroy noble men (Pr 5:6; 6:26; 23:28).

Hunters once trapped wild animals by covering pits with thin branches and grass; the animals would fall through the deceptive cover and be captured (I Chr 11:22). The hole or pit was deep to keep them from leaping out, and/or it was narrow to prohibit running or movement. The depth was too great to escape upward, and/or the width too narrow for moving or speed. They were designed to prevent escape. Capture or death was certain.

The metaphors are powerful! Sexual sins can destroy you. Escape from the temptation, the obsession, and her manipulation is rare. Once a man gives in to a woman, he is trapped by his lusts, her selfish demands, and/or the revenge of an angry father, husband, wife, populace, or magistrate (Pr 22:14; 5:20-23; 7:25-27). Men are seldom recovered.

A whore is a woman willing to have sex outside marriage, usually an unmarried woman who is promiscuous. A strange woman is any woman you have not married, especially a married woman willing to commit adultery against her husband. The great God of heaven, Who invented and designed sex, limited its pleasures to marriage (Heb 13:4).

Solomon had read about Joseph’s trouble with Potiphar’s wife and Samson’s ruin by Delilah, and he had clearly seen the great pain of his father for adultery with Bathsheba. Only Joseph survived, and he spent years in prison due to the revenge of his spurned seductress. Samson was finally ruined, and David suffered greatly for the rest of his life.

Young man, avoid company or communication with loose women. Reject their advances. They are liars. The very short pleasure they offer is nothing in comparison to the long suffering here and hereafter. They are a deep ditch and narrow pit. You should marry a woman that fears the Lord and enjoy her and children by her (Pr 5:15-19; I Cor 7:1-5).

God named a popular church the great whore and mother of harlots (Rev 17:1-6). The Roman Catholic Church is the mother, and Protestant churches are her daughters – born in the Reformation. If you join them, you will be trapped in a deep ditch and narrow pit. Find a faithful and loyal church of Jesus Christ that follows the simplicity of the gospel, and save yourself from spiritual adultery (II Cor 11:1-4; I Tim 4:1-6; Jas 4:4).

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 23:17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD.

How easy it is to envy those who get ahead unhampered by Christian responsibility or God’s laws. For a time they do seem to get ahead without paying any attention to what God wants. But to those who follow him, God promises a hope and a wonderful future even if we don’t achieve it in this life.

The world exalts and promotes sinners. Movie stars, athletes, performing artists, business tycoons, royalty, politicians, and other rich and famous sinners are pushed at you every day. Solomon, with wise parental love, warned his son against envying worldly sinners (Pr 24:1,19). He knew the fear of God instead should be his only ambition (Ec 12:13-14).

Every generation, of every nation, has had heroes and stars; but only recently can the images and words of these popular sinners be thrown at you all the time. If this warning was important in Solomon’s day, it is much more important today. These sinners are all going down, and every Christian must believe it and live like it (Pr 23:18; Ps 37:1-3).

There are 10,000 sinners to envy in this generation and world. Every age, both male and female, and all temperaments, find certain sinners to be temptations. They imagine how wonderful life could be, if they had the abilities, looks, success, spouse, or circumstances of their idol. He might be a product of Hollywood; she might be a classmate or neighbor.

The fear of the Lord is far better. Every sinner, no matter how rich or famous, will die and go to hell (Ps 49:6-20). So fearing the Lord is man’s whole duty (Ec 12:13-14). With God’s blessing and favor, even obscurity and poverty are better than the dysfunctional, hopeless lives and eternal suffering of the wicked (Pr 15:16; Ps 37:16). Believe it, reader!

Moses did not envy Pharaoh or his rising peers; he chose the reproach of Jesus Christ to be of much greater value, for he saw his and their eternal future (Heb 11:24-26). Asaph described in wonderful terms the wisdom of looking past the glitter to the grave (Ps 73:1-28). While Demas loved this present world, Paul loved a future world (II Tim 4:7-8,10).

A morgue teaches the future of glamour girls. Yesterday’s goddesses are feeding today’s worms. Better yet, visit a cancer ward. Before they rot in the grave, they take on a ghastly and ghostly look. And then comes hell. Young girls envying models is one thing; adult women envying models is twice as vain. But the virtuous woman, shunning this world’s enticements to seek Christ, will live in pleasant splendor forever (Pr 23:18; I Tim 2:15).

Why read magazines glamorizing sinners? Why watch them on television? The world only shows enticing features of them: you do not see them drunk, divorced, depressed, dying, or dead. Why daydream about them? Your deceitful heart dwells on their seducing traits: it lies to you about their present troubles and future judgment, and you believe it. It would be far better to envy the righteous and covet their character and reputations.

Your constant thought must be to fear God, which is to hate evil and keep His commands (Pr 8:13; 14:2; Ps 112:1; 128:1). Fearing the Lord is not a mindset for devotions, for times of trouble, for prayer, for Sunday worship, or the Lord’s Supper – it is the lifestyle, perspective, and worldview that real Christians follow every minute all day long. You cannot allow envy for sinners even a second to get a toehold in your heart or soul!

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 23:10 Do not move an ancient boundary stone or encroach on the fields of the fatherless

The Lord God of heaven and earth protects property rights. He especially protects the poor and helpless. It is tempting to alter business practices for financial advantage, but God condemns such acts. It is tempting to take financial advantage of those who cannot defend themselves, but God condemns that as well. He will come to the aid and defense of those victims, and you will wish you had stayed away from them (Pr 23:11; 22:22-23).

It was customary in Bible times to use a pile of stones, a post, or other marker to establish property boundaries. These landmarks would remain unmoved from one generation to the next, as real property ownership continued as part of family estates. God gave wonderful laws to Israel, and one of them was the protection of property rights by condemning the moving of these established landmarks (Pr 22:28; Deu 19:14; 27:17; Job 24:2; Hos 5:10).

The fatherless are those who had lost their fathers to war or other early deaths. They lacked a strong male defender for property protection or business transactions. Entering their fields by any means of encroachment or theft was a heinous crime. The principle would obviously apply to other acts of property theft as well, such as misdirection of water, grazing of their fields, stopping of their wells, breeding of your herds, and so forth.

Like widows, God took special care of the fatherless, foreigner, and poor (Jer 22:3; Zech 7:10). The mighty God promised to come from heaven with vengeance on those who trouble these two categories of the weak and helpless (Job 31:21-23; Ps 94:6; Eccl 5:8; Mal 3:5). It is wisdom and true religion to go out of your way to help both (Jas 1:27). Never ask more than market price or pay less than market price to any of these parties.

The rule for property boundaries applies to all economic transactions and business practices. You have no right to alter any established way of doing things unless all parties are fully informed and agree and there is no damage at all to others. God demands impeccable honesty and integrity in all transactions. There is no room for compromise or confusion. He will avenge harshly! Go out of your way financially to honor the poor. You will never lose in such decisions, for the God of heaven will repay you (Pr 19:17).

Consider religious changes. Men today alter God’s worship to make it acceptable to the world. They call it casual, contemporary, purpose driven, or seeker sensitive. They remove old landmarks (II Thess 2:15). But God calls His people to seek the old paths (Jer 6:16). He calls you to earnestly contend for the old faith (Jude 1:3). Turning from sound doctrine to entertainment and fables is proof of perilous times (II Tim 4:3-4). The remedy is to preach the written word of God without apology or compromise, for it is more sure than even God’s voice from heaven (II Tim 3:16-17; 4:1-2; II Pet 1:16-21; Titus 2:15).

God’s worship does not change unless and until He says there is to be a change, and then only He should define the change (John 4:20-24; Heb 9:10). Men have no right to add to or take away from His rules (Deut 12:32; Matt 28:20), and they must not turn to the right or to the left (Deut 5:32; Pr 21:16; Gal 1:6-9), no matter how popular changes might be.

Will you be one of His 7,000 that will not change, like in the days of Elijah (I Kgs 19:18; Rom 11:4-5)? Most Christians compromise much of true religion for ease and popularity. God is looking for a faithful man that will not change (Ezek 22:30). Will you be a man (or a woman) that will not remove the ancient landmarks of Bible doctrine and practice?

Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 23:34 You will be like on sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. 

What is it like to be very drunk? Solomon compared it to lying down in a ship in a storm. Rather than being on deck, where his eyes could assist his balance, this man lies in the hold of the tossing ship, feeling as if he will soon be turned inside out. His head swims; his stomach retches! Better than that, drunkenness is like lying on the top of a ship’s mast, where the ship’s rolling motions are compounded greatly by the length of the mast.

The context is Solomon’s warning to his son about the terrible effects of drunkenness (Pr 23:29-35). He described a list of physical consequences (Pr 23:29), the enticing attraction of alcoholic beverages (Pr 23:30-31), the painful results being similar to a snake bite (Pr 23:32), the attendant breakdown of moral inhibitions (Pr 23:33), and the addicting nature of drunkenness (Pr 23:35). Here are plain warnings against getting drunk.

Drunkenness is a sin, but it is also stupid! Drunks lose self-control, their balance, the food in their stomachs, and their reputations. They voluntarily choose to pursue nausea in the belly and confusion of the mind; drunkards are great fools. Why in the world would a person drink too much of a thing that he knows will make him very sick and cause him much misery? Ignorance! A foolish heart! Peer pressure! Bad habits! Addiction!

What is the cure? Do not get infatuated with alcohol (Pr 23:30-31). Recognize and admit wine and strong drink are deceiving (Pr 20:1). Remember that a moderate amount can give the benefits God intended (Pr 31:6-7; Ps 104:14-15; I Tim 5:23). The sin of drunkenness occurs when a person drinks to excess, which is condemned (Eph 5:18).

Wine itself is no more sinful than bread. Drunkenness and gluttony are both sins of the human heart. Wine and strong drink are sources of drunkenness, but only when they are abused by consuming too much of them against God’s word. Bread, pizza, and donuts are sources of gluttony, but only when they are abused by consuming too much of them against God’s word. The sin is in the human heart’s choice to overeat or over drink.

Wisdom is the power of right judgment – knowing what to do in any situation to please God and good men. Wise men use wine or strong drink cautiously, especially if they are in authority (Pr 31:4-5; Eccl 10:16-17; I Tim 3:8; Titus 2:3). They want full control of their faculties, and they will not give it away for the momentary foolishness of drinking too much. They recognize wine’s value, use it only moderately, and hate drunkenness.

No matter what the world says, drunkenness is a sin (Luke 21:34; I Cor 6:9-11; Gal 5:19-21). And it is stupid, as the proverb declares metaphorically. Those who desire to be wise in the sight of God will use wine with great caution. They will rule their spirits and circumstances to keep from drinking too much. Such prudence will save them from the foolish sin of drunkenness, and it will save them from the gut-wrenching and mind-confusing consequences of drunkenness. Only fools will drink on without careful regard.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 23:21 For the drunkards and gluttons become poor and drowsiness clothes them in rags

Overdrinking or overeating will make you poor. Young men are especially vulnerable to these temptations, as most any American college fraternity will prove. Solomon, the wise king and father, warned his nation and son against these two evils and their destructive effects on a man’s career and finances. America, the land of plenty and then some, is a prime breeding ground for these corrupting excesses. Let every young man beware!

Consider the context. Solomon asked his son to hear, be wise, and choose what is right (Pr 23:19). He warned him against drunkards and gluttons (Pr 23:20). He also exhorted his son to honor both parents (Pr 23:22), put a priority on wisdom (Pr 23:23), and to consider the great joy a wise life could give parents (Pr 23:24-25). The danger of these two foolish, youthful lusts is great, so he forbad association with such sinners (Pr 23:20).

Young men think drunkenness is cool – because they are childish, foolish, and ignorant (Pr 22:15). They actually boast about getting sick and puking on themselves. They revel in how long their hangovers last. But a holy God considers it sinful and stupid. Drinking until you are drunk is a sin against heaven (I Cor 6:9-11; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:18), and it is stupid for the painful consequences such drinking brings (Pr 23:29-35; 31:4-5).

Young men think gorging themselves is cool – because they are childish, foolish, and ignorant (Pr 22:15). They actually boast about eating enough to vomit. They revel in how much they can consume beyond what they need. But the great God considers it sinful and stupid. Excessive eating and carousing is a sin against heaven (Luke 21:34; Rom 13:13; I Pet 4:3), and it is stupid for its painful consequences (Pr 23:1-8; 25:16; 28:7; Luk 15:13).

Drunkenness and gluttony can ruin you economically. Remember the prodigal son! They create drowsiness through hangovers, digestive difficulties, diverted blood flow, and excess weight. The combination will reduce a man to wearing rags. “He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich” (Pr 21:17). To succeed, a young man needs his full wits and strength – there is no room for drowsiness.

Drowsiness is a sin itself, when due to oversleeping, overdrinking, or overeating. You are not to love sleep, or you will get up late and not get going in the morning (Pr 20:13). Overdrinking causes hangovers and a lethargic person unable to perform with full wits and coordination. Overeating creates a similar drowsy effect and packs on pounds in the wrong places that hinder performance. They are all closely connected here, so you should know the two clauses identify drowsiness as the result of overdrinking and overeating.

Solomon did not see that today’s young men would be more foolish than his generation, but his proverb condemns them anyway. How could he know they would smoke marijuana, snort cocaine, take amphetamines, and inject heroin. The number of such fools languishing in poverty and prison through violating this simple proverb is Legion. The lesson is simple – God has condemned any abuse of his creation, and He demands our full minds and energies in all our pursuits (Pr 4:23; 10:4; 18:9; Eccl 9:10; Rom 12:11).

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), the renowned Puritan theologian and pastor, the third president of Princeton, and a spiritual man, wrote 70 resolutions at age 20 to guide his life. They are valuable reading. Consider his thoughts on food and drink. “Resolution 20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance, in eating and drinking.” “Resolution 40. Resolved, to inquire every night, before I go to bed, whether I have acted in the best way I possibly could, with respect to eating and drinking.” He knew the danger of these lusts.

Television and movies today, popularizing and promoting the fraternity lifestyle, teach young men that drunkenness and gluttony are acceptable, intelligent, normal, and not detrimental to a successful and prosperous life. But the blessed God of heaven and the wisest man ever have spoken together – both are sins and will destroy young men. Let every reader take heed to reject these sins himself and to save others from them as well.

As America, with the world following her example, degenerates from its once structured, disciplined, and conservative lifestyle, the temptation to both sins increase greatly. The availability of cheap drink and food of great variety is greater than ever. The size of servings at fast-food, casual, or formal restaurants is much larger than before. The sedentary and easy job requirements of most workers allow a dull mind or unfit body.

Not only are these foolish and destructive sins to be avoided, but those persons who engage in them are to be avoided as well (Pr 23:20). Peer pressure is nearly an irresistible force against young people, and the only sure protection is to avoid all such sinners with careful and diligent efforts (Pr 4:14-17; I Cor 15:33). Drinking buddies, no matter how friendly, will ruin your life; and gorging with gluttons will lead to poverty and trouble.

Much overdrinking and overeating occurs at gatherings, where the party atmosphere and abundance of food supplied for a group create a lascivious mood and base peer pressure. Peter warned against lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, and banquetings (I Pet 4:3). Christians should not live this way, no matter what the world thinks of them (I Pet 4:1-5). These five sins or categories of sins are exactly what this proverb condemns.

There is also drunkenness and gluttony at home, as retail accessibility to cheap alcohol and much food in many varieties tempts to the same two sins. Instead of drinking for a merry heart with wits intact (Ps 104:14-15; Pr 31:6-7), wine and strong drink are used excessively to drunkenness (Pr 23:29-35). Instead of eating for strength and activity (Eccl 10:16-17), many calories are consumed that create a whale’s blubber and lack of energy.

Wise men will obey the warning of this proverb from the pen of a king that had free and full access to any quantity and a great variety of both food and drink. Which of these two lusts and sins do you have the greatest problem with? Repent, and implement strict rules to keep you from violating godly temperance in either one. Are your motives consistent with God’s creation of each? Are the results of your drinking and eating both positive?

But there is a far worse poverty and nakedness! Drunkenness and gluttony will also steal your soul – they show a profane heart that has neither life now nor the hope of life in the world to come. They create spiritual drowsiness that causes men to forget and neglect their souls. O cruel appetites! What does the apostle of the Gentiles say, “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness … But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Rom 13:13-14).

The LORD Jehovah, creator of heaven and earth, and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, has offered seven glorious promises to men (II Cor 6:14-18). They are obtained by cleansing yourself from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (II Cor 7:1). The greatest success and wealth in the universe has no room for drowsiness – the utmost of mind, soul, heart, and strength should be applied to this offer.



Under Gods Command

Proverbs 23:30 Those who linger over wine who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.

Drunkenness is sin. Drinking wine or mixed wine is not sin. Tarrying long at the wine, or drinking to excess, is the sin. Solomon gave his son a sober warning against drunkenness (Pr 23:29-35), which he had just identified by its numerous physical symptoms (Pr 23:29). Wine does not cause the problems of this context; abuse of wine causes them.

God created wine, and He made it to cheer the heart of man (Ps 104:14-15). If you doubt wine’s ability to cheer the heart, read the Bible (Judges 9:13; Zech 10:7; Eccl 10:19). The holy God of heaven endorsed it clearly (Pr 31:6-7; Deut 14:26; Luke 7:33-34; John 2:1-11). But man, in his perpetual abuse of God’s creation and revelation, generally makes one of two errors. He either makes it a sin to drink wine, or he drinks to drunkenness.

Drunkenness is sin. Drinking wine to excess, which is the only way to get drunk, is sin (Eph 5:18). Some have been drunkards before conversion, but Christians no longer do such things (I Pet 4:3-4). Drunkards shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal 5:19-21; I Cor 6:10). And Christian brothers that get drunk publicly are to be excluded (I Cor 5:11).

Young men, because foolishness is bound in their hearts, are very vulnerable to excessive drinking (Pr 22:15; Eccl 11:10). A simple tour through a college town, even without visiting a frat house, reveals a large number of bars and other watering holes. Filled with the invincibility of youth and egging each other on, they chug themselves to folly and sin.

The context is clearly drunkenness (Pr 23:29,33-35), which occurs by tarrying long at the wine, or staying and drinking too much (Is 5:11). The second clause is to be understood in light of the first clause, going to seek mixed wine beyond wise judgment (Pr 9:2). See Job 31:1, where thinking upon a maid is to be understood in a specific context of sin, and Matthew 6:34, where taking no thought for the morrow is to be understood as well of sin.

Wine is a mocker, for drunkenness can cause a person to do foolish and shameful things (Pr 20:1). Remember Noah and Lot (Gen 9:18-27; 19:30-38)! Only fools ignore warnings about wine and excessive drinking; wise men know it is dangerous and must be ruled strictly. You should know how much you will drink before you start, lest you tarry too long and end up drunk. Wise men do not even associate with drunkards (Pr 23:20; 28:7).

But wine is hardly more dangerous than bread and today’s processed carbohydrates, for they lead to gluttony, the fraternal twin of drunkenness (23:21; Deut 21:20; Luke 21:34). It is a shame when a 300-pound woman working on her third piece of cake condemns a man drinking a glass of wine with a meal. She is one more untaught, self-righteous Pharisee. God sees no moral difference in the two sins – both are despicable to Him.

Solomon knew more about success than you can know – success in the sight of God and men. He knew that alcohol had helpful properties in modest amounts but could render a man senseless and stupid without restraint (Pr 31:6-7,4-5; 23:29-35). He knew that drunkenness and gluttony would ruin a man’s professional ability (Pr 23:20-21).

Jesus drank wine often, unlike John the Baptist (Luke 7:33-34). Though called a winebibber and glutton by enemies, He never drank or ate to excess and was promoted to the throne of heaven. Let His moderation and temperance be goals for your life.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 23:35 “They hit me,” you will say, “but I’m not hurt! They beat me, but I don’t fell it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?

The drunkard is insane! He drinks until he is senseless and cannot feel the pain he causes himself and others. Then he must sleep for hours or days to get rid of his miserable hangover. But as soon as he is awake, he goes straight for the bottle again. This proverb describes the shameful attitude and action of the drunkard, rather than his literal words.

The Preacher has already taught you, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Pr 20:1). The proverb before you illustrates the mocking and raging consequences of drunkenness – the man is violently hurt by strong drink and foolishly mocked by wine, but he intends to drink even more, soon.

Solomon also listed the troubles of the drunkard, “Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?” (Pr 23:29). In spite of such constant and miserable consequences, the drunkard returns again to much wine (Pr 23:30). Give me another one, he shouts obnoxiously!

The dog eats his own vomit, for his nature demands it (Pr 26:11). Pigs return to wallowing in the mud, for their nature demands it (II Pet 2:22). But the drunkard has no such natural instinct for self-destruction other than the deceitfulness of sin and the addicting properties of alcohol. “Whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise!” Stay away!

This proverb describes the bodily troubles often experienced by drunkards. They engage in brawls for no reason at all; they provoke fights they would otherwise avoid. They fall down steps and off chairs; they have auto accidents. But they feel little, for they are senseless to physical, mental, or spiritual perception. They are lost in their drunkenness!

And though the consequences of drunkenness are horrible, the drunkard continues to drink himself drunk. He can no longer deliver himself, though he has a lie in his right hand. He builds a horrible habit, gives place to the devil, and becomes a slave to alcohol. What could have been an asset is now a noose slowly choking him to death (Pr: 31:6-7).

Is the drunkard more stupid than other sinners? Hardly! All sins have short pleasure, great and long-lasting pain, and eternal judgment. Why do men love and continue in any sin? Is there hope for the drunkard? Certainly! All sinners may have great hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul wrote, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 7:24-25).

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 23:31 Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly!

Wine is very good (Gen 1:31). God created it to cheer the heart of man (Pr 31:6; Ps 104:14-15); Moses commended it for family worship (Deut 14:26); Jesus drank it and supplied it for a wedding (Luke 7:33-35; John 2:1-11); Paul endorsed it for communion (I Cor 11:20-22); faithful ministers defend its moderate use (I Tim 3:8; 5:23; Tit 2:3).

But unguarded or excessive affection for wine is condemned. Any thoughts toward drunkenness are sin (Pr 24:9; Eph 5:18), and only fools drink without sober regard for the danger and results of drunkenness (Pr 20:1; 23:29-30). Wine can be dangerous, if it is not kept in its proper place and used for its designed purpose, just like other creations.

After his warning about wine, there are two other lessons – how Pharisees pervert God’s word, and how to rightly divide it. Solomon wrote, “Look not thou upon the wine when it is red.” Pharisees are literalists – they cannot see a figure of speech, even if it were in blazing neon! They condemn even looking at red wine from a Bible verse like this!

Assume their perversion of the verse is correct. If so, you may freely guzzle red wine as long as you do not look at it! Bring out the blindfolds and pass me a bottle! You may both look at and guzzle white wine! Bring out the white zinfandel! The chardonnay! The sauvignon blanc! The Riesling! Their perversion of scripture is obvious to thinking men.

If you literally apply this clause to looking at red wine, you condemn God, Moses, Jesus, Paul, and faithful ministers. The literalists are wrong.  Solomon did not condemn looking at red wine. He condemned unguarded or excessive affection for any wine, but he used the color of the basic wine of Israel, which was very red, like blood (Deut 32:14; Is 63:2). There is a figure of speech here, whether you see an ellipsis or a metonym of the adjunct.

Job said about marriage, “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” (Job 31:1). Did Job never think about his maids? Could he think about a maid when hiring her? Could he bless her on her birthday? Could he think about giving her a raise? Of course! The condemnation of thinking there is to be understood sexually. Job’s covenant of marriage did not allow sexual thoughts or fantasies about a maid.

Jesus said about mental adultery, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman – hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matt 5:28). He did not condemn simply looking at another woman, for that is approved and necessary in ordinary society. But He did condemn looking at another woman “to lust after her.” And it is this sense that is the proper and true sense of the proverb here. Let God be true!

Wine in Solomon’s day had several attractive features – red color; depth, reflection, and shades of color in a good cup, and bubbles moving to the surface. These same features make wine visually attractive today, especially in a beautiful wine glass with appropriate sunshine, room lighting, or candlelight to enhance it. He admitted a strange woman may be beautiful (Pr 6:25); he admitted wine has an appeal you must soberly guard against.

This proverb is in the middle of a passage where Solomon condemned drunkenness (Pr 23:29-35). He did not condemn moderate drinking, which God and the Bible approve and commend: he condemned those who “tarry long at the wine” (Pr 23:30) and those who have the symptoms of severe drunkenness (Pr 23:29,34-35). If a man’s religion is based on the Bible, he knows God commends moderate drinking, but condemns drunkenness.

The Bible does not recognize alcoholism – is there such a thing? Alcoholics are properly called drunkards in Scripture. Drunkenness is drinking past reason until your senses no longer rightly recognize good and evil. Your imagination and speech are degraded to folly and sin (Pr 23:33) – the opposite goal of this book of wisdom. Because drunkenness is deceiving, it is often only others who can perceive your drunkenness.

Reader, take heed. Wine is very good. It is beautiful in a goblet. Its properties to relax your central nervous system and cheer you are very pleasant. But Solomon taught wisdom in Proverbs, and wise men will guard against excessive infatuation with wine and drink it only with prudent discipline. Abuse of wine can make a wise man a fool, quickly.

The lesson of this proverb applies indirectly to all creations and their abuse also. Pasta or pizza is just as dangerous as wine, in that gluttony is as much a sin as drunkenness. Infatuation with food or intemperate eating must also be avoided, for a person preoccupied with eating, or often eating more than he needs, will sin with this blessing. Godliness is moderation and temperance in all things (Eph 5:18; Phil 4:5; I Cor 9:24-27).