Monday, August 15, 2011

Proverbs 23:20-21 commentary; drunkards and gluttons and poverty

20 Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: 21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.

Here are some facts we have seen clearly with our own eyes. I can remember a time, and it wasn’t all that many decades ago, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, certainly not as “sophisticated” and “cosmopolitan” as New York and Los Angeles, when I’d listen to my parents talk about life. Good people didn’t drink alcohol. Good people didn’t hang out at bars. Good people didn’t live in such a way as to bring them shame. Oh yes, shame was something people felt when they did wrong. It’s not something many people who grew up during and after the 1970’s would know anything about.

You might find this hard to believe but there are people today and have been for several decades whose lives revolve around going to work and then getting a few drinks and even getting drunk, or in some cases, smokin’ some weed, every night. If they have the money they’ll hang out at the Sports Bars and chat with friends. Their church, their called out assembly, is that temple to Self, that church of self indulgence, that house of the flesh on the corner where they can anesthetize themselves of the fact that, in the end, their lives are empty of meaning and they have no idea why they were even born or if there should even be a purpose to it. And, yes, there are carnal Christians there, living for themselves and not for God, and very, very miserable as a result, thank you very much. I was once one of each of them, the primary bad example for the unsaved and the saved.

You don’t prepare for your old age, accumulate what you need to raise a family, grow spiritually, draw closer to God, receive Christ as your Saviour and grow in Him, or find happiness on a bar stool at the corner “lounge” or sucking down suds at the local sports bar. You don’t see too many drunks talking about serving Christ, preaching Christ, or how much they love their local church family down at Dino’s Bar and Grill at 1am on Sunday morning.

Notice here, by parallel phrasing we know that a winebibber is a drunkard and a glutton is a riotous eater of flesh, which carries with it a loss of control. (Since healthy food is ten times more expensive, according to one study I’ve read, than unhealthy food full of processing and garbage, its hard for many of us not to be overweight, even though we wouldn’t qualify as deliberate gluttons.) I can also remember in elementary school, and I had most of the teachers that taught my father; Mrs. Benson, Mrs. Dryden, Mrs. Godfrey, Mrs. Bloodsworth, and the few who hadn’t were certainly old enough to have taught him like Mrs. Bateman. In any event, I remember one of them saying to us little minds, “you should learn to eat to live, you should not live to eat”. Of course, saying “eat to live, don’t live to eat” today would probably be unacceptable lest you hurt the self esteem of some kid whose parents have allowed to graze at will and who is obese as a result of their negligence.

Under the Law given to Moses the son who was a drunkard and a glutton could be executed. He was worthless to the community and a bad example(Deuteronomy 21:18-21). Of course, as Christians, we don’t have that command from God. And it doesn’t work to constantly complain about what people shouldn’t do. We have to provide our children with useful and good things that they should do by example. Our time should be filled with the things of God and we should not be devoted to Self and to being entertained constantly. We teach our children that that’s the way to live. Work for your own needs and then be entertained, sleep, and do it all again.

There was a fairly popular country song that went like this, ‘the night life ain’t no good life, but it’s my life”. The person who wrote that was just the kind of idiot this Proverb is talking about.

Young person, there are many more verses in the Bible warning about drinking alcohol. Those young people who hang out at bars, with the tinkling of the glasses, the tinny music in the background, the immoral behavior that results from participation in that lifestyle, are headed for poverty and ruin. Stay away from them. Alcohol is only good as a loosening agent; loosening tongues, wallets, and clothing.

The person soaking in booze is drowsy, having administered the anesthesia to himself. Later on in Proverbs it will be noted that strong drink is for people to deaden their misery, to forget their unhappiness and their poverty. The world is either a very unhappy place, full of misery and pain, or it is a place where people whistle in the dark pretending that there is nothing really wrong. You are not of this world. Learn to spend your time in the service and worship of the Lord, loving your spouse and your family through His love, and being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Pray to God “who giveth songs in the night” (Job 35:10) and pray for “joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17). Drunkenness and gluttony will never satisfy that longing you have in your heart for a closer knowledge of Christ, and they will lead you to poverty and misery, and perhaps, you’ll even draw others down into that pit with you.

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