Proverbs in 365 Devotions
Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
Wine, Strong Drink And
A Million Other Things
There are quite a lot of things in life that can lead us to brawl; that is, to quarrel or fight, and there are a whole lot of things that can lead us astray.
One thing I want to be careful of… and that is I do not want to ever assert the traditions of men one way or the other over the truth of Gods word like the Pharisees did. So I am not here to convince anyone about whether they personally should drink alcohol.
I believe this verse is addressing… yes alcohol in particular but the being led astray by something this world offers… It’s a heart thing; it’s about the things we seek and where we let these things in life lead our hearts… will it lead us in a closer walk with the world or a closer walk with the Lord? I was thinking of what Moses told the children of Israel before they entered the promised land about loving the things of the world and how those things would lead them astray and causes cause them not to be glad in the Lord.
Moses had just listed a long list of woes that would come to Israel if they treasured the physical things God would actually give them as a blessing… if their gladness shifted from being in God to these things.
Deuteronomy 28:46 They shall be a sign and a wonder against you and your offspring forever. 47 Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things,
It’s pretty clear that whatever we lust after or love or have an obsession about in the world… whatever captivates our heart will lead us astray and cause our spirit to brawl or be at odds with the Holy Spirit.
Today Solomon talks about wine and strong drink which is definitely a big issue for many. Look, we all have certain things that we are more susceptible to in life than others… things that can tug at our heart strings and tempt us to be drawn astray. And it is no secret alcohol has been a big stumbling block historically for mankind.
In today's verse I expect wine and strong drink would include new wine (which commonly contained alcohol, see Acts 2:13 and Hosea 4:11), and then there was regular wine and also likely ales made from fermented grain.
But I want to go for the inner spiritual truth here… what is it that God wants us to internalize… What truth here is going to transform our inner being and bring us true joy and worship in the Lord. I think it is always those things that are akin to the the Holy Spirit. If we keep that in mind as we interpret Gods word I think it will serve us well. Notice what Paul says right after he describes the fruit of the Spirit:
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
So in closing I will mention two things I think are important in what we are talking about. One, turn away from those things that pull on our heart and encourage us to be lead astray from delighting in God. It may be something lustful on the internet or social media or TV… It might be drugs or alcohol or food or a a purchase of some item that might not be very good for our relationship to the Lord.
And secondly, not only turn from those things but to desperately reach for the things that do satisfy with are the things of God. The Apostle Paul uses phrases like “pressing on” and “straining forward”.
Philippians 3:13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
So that's our goal in life… we have turned away from sin… that repentance and now we walk, reach strain or press toward the things of God the rest of our life. And we do so not only for our own conscious sake but for others as well.
1st Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.