Proverbs in 365 Devotions
Proverbs 23:29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? 30 Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. 31 Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. 32 In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. 33 Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things. 34 You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, like one who lies on the top of a mast. 35 “They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I must have another drink.”
Sin's Symbiotic Seed
I love this passage… If you’ve never listened to the dramatic reading edition of the BIBLE.is app (its free) I hope you’ll give it a try. The reading of this passage is done quite well in my opinion and I love the readers voice and his inflections… Although It does make me smile to think about I know this is a serious passage.
Alright, remember in the last session Solomon focused on the misuse of alcohol, food and women… We talked about how what we take into our bodies and what we do and our relationships should all be for the glory of God. Today Solomon is quite pointed to what sin he is referring to and spends many words focusing specifically on the misuse of alcoholic beverages. I think this passage can provide us some more touchstones for discernment in all things on our journey through life… Lets look a bit closer…
Solomon lists a number of side effects or repercussions of drinking alcohol in excess. He accentuates the pains it can bring with words like sorrow, woe and strife. He asks: “Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes?” Then he gives an answer to his own questions and I believe that what he says has applications which we can add to the lists of touchstones for discernment that we looked at in the last devotion.
So Solomon has posed questions about who it might be who experiences all the miseries he raised. He says it’s “Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine”.
If he was speaking of food as he did in the last session he might have said: It is those who tarry long at the table… those who overindulge in rich, greasy foods and sweet desserts…
Solomon's words on drink parallel with an obsession with sex that led to the adulterous woman and prostitute earlier in the chapter. There is a symbiotic seed that is shared between all sin and Solomon is showing us how to see it before it devours us.
Last time we talked about how what leads or motivates a man will determine what he walks towards as he seeks satisfaction. One verse we looked at was Galatians 5:16 which says: But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
We talked about how the Spirit of God is good and there is a context in which the flesh is good but one or the other have to lead us and have the final say in what we do through life.
Like food, and all the things that appeal to the flesh… drink also promises satisfaction. Every thing the world offers can claim our worship. Tarrying long over anything can be a red flag for us to ponder. Whether its long hours away from family at the office or the golf course or way too many girls night outs… even the physical blessings God gives his people can become something our heart tarries long over… sometimes even before we get them… its called lust and is the dark word we might use for worship.
Solomon also mentions mixed wine… This makes me think that for some people simple wine is just not enough. And so they push the envelope of a particular sin. Take pornography for example… after a while a particular type of image may not excite someone like before so they mix other genres of porn in their cup. Because sin does not actually satisfy, all sin that is tarried over long will likely lead to mixed sin.
So Solomon goes on and describes a person who does not know where his bruises came from… His own mind and heart plays tricks on him... he’s paranoid. He is blind to his purpose in life. His life is a heavy fog. He’s numb to the joy of true life. He has all of the fallout Solomon spoke of… sorrows, woe and strife… and yet at the end of the day he says: “I must have another drink.”