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Proverb 20: 1     NIV

Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

Now is a fine time to tell you this after you have had a big Thanksgiving feast complete with holiday toasts. The point is, though, that this is not a law. Notice this verse comes out of one of the wisdom books. It is not out of the law. That should affect the way we perceive what is being taught us. 

Solomon was blessed with wisdom. He shares his God given insights in the book of Proverbs. The purpose of providing these proverbs is to help all who follow to go in the way that will benefit them. In other words, this is not a book of rules. This is a book of advice from the guy who got it directly from God. Everything in this book is intended to make your life better. I will tell you, though, that Solomon does not explain himself. He doesn’t tell us why we should do one thing or another. He simply points in the right direction. Therefore, you do not have to fight with the book of Proverbs. Its passages are only there for your edification. Of course, wisdom might drive us to give attention to these sage passages.

Some researchers tell us that a little red wine is good for us. Hey, even a little dark chocolate can be good for you. The problem is that Americans (by which I refer to residents of the USA) do not seem able to enjoy things in moderation. Where one glass of wine tasted good we choose another. One beer leads to two, three, etc. Now this isn’t a lecture. The point is that in our excesses we are killing ourselves. And even worse than that, we are causing ourselves sickness. At least when you die you are free of the pain. Having to live with illness can be terrible. Alcohol kills brain cells. Now you may have brain cells to spare but I do not so I do not want to do those things which will cause a rapid degeneration of my thought process. Our diets are also contributing to brain dysfunction. You see, most of the problems we blame on old age really are not that at all. They are problems that we have brought on ourselves by our abuse of our bodies.

Secondly, how many people do you know who are improved by alcoholic drink? I cannot think of one. Most of the people I know are less fun to be around when they have been drinking. I assume I am not improved either. We really do damage our lives by our gross consumption of alcohol. How many families have been torn apart because of alcohol? How many people are killed on America’s highways because of drunk driving? Well, you have heard all of this before but every once in a while it pays to take stock of our lives and make sure we have not lost the balance. I am not telling you that you have to be a tea totaller. That is not my business. It is a call that only you can make but I do want you to evaluate the balances in your life. I want you to look at your family and ask if alcohol consumption is adding value to their lives. Especially look at your children, even your adult children. You don’t want to cause them pain for the sake of a beer.

We are entering the season where we attend more parties than any other time of year. I simply want to get your attention before the parties start so as to alert you to the pitfalls that sometimes await us amidst the holiday reverie. Don’t let wine make a fool out of you. And certainly don’t let beer make you a brawler. Please have a care this season that you are not led astray by alcohol. Let the Spirit of the Lord fill you. I promise you that it is much more gratifying. I want the best for you. I want you healthy, wealthy and wise. That is why I started writing this devotional eight years ago. That is why Solomon wrote the Proverbs, to minister life to all he could. Enjoy your glass of wine with dinner if you want. Just don’t be a prisoner to over-indulgence or abstinence. Let the Lord speak to you and lead you. Ask the Lord for more of the Holy Spirit this season. You can never have too much of him.

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