Alcohol & Christian freedom, part 3

Doesn’t the Bible just presume that wine is a normal part of life?

Sure, it was—in some form (see part 2). But there is more to it than that. The Bible is full of negative references to wine as well, and those should not be just ignored by the loop-holers. Consider the following samples:

  • Isa. 5:11-12  God’s judgment coming to Israel because she had more passion for drink than for God. They were more anxious to drink than to acknowledge God’s presence.
  • Isa. 5:22   The same context, men became proud of their ability to drink and became noted for drinking—at the same time they ignored justice and mercy. How many “loud and proud” drinkers have you known who were spiritual powerhouses? These men were more interested in drink than in godly values and morals. God ties his judgment of Israel with her preoccupation with drink.
  • Amos 6:6   Judgment is promised to those who “drink wine in bowls but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph (Israel).” Again drink is not itself judged, but the tendency of the drinker to use drink in place of spiritual values.
  • Isa. 28:7  Condemned for prophets and priests who get drunk and stumble in giving judgment. Drink and leadership are often seen as incompatible in Scripture (Prov. 31:4; Isa. 56:10-12)
  • Prov. 20:1  Both “wine” and “strong drink” have the potential to lead astray (to cause to sin). The one who is compromised by them is called a fool.
  • Micah 2:11  Condemnation of a people who would prefer sermons about wine…again, the tendency of drink to obsess and sidetrack. Alcohol is seen as capable of impairing one’s ability to prioritize what is important or moral.
  • There are horrible references of how alcohol removed helpful inhibitions and led to grotesque sin:
    • Noah’s sin, Gen. 9. It is unclear just what happened, but it was an inappropriateness involving Noah that was brought about by his drunkenness. This is the first use of the word “wine” in the Bible.
    • Lot’s two daughters, Gen. 19. The first mention of incest in the Bible was facilitated—actually made possible—by alcohol.
  • Prov. 21:17; 23:21   The love of wine seen as an indicator of an unproductive life.
  • Prov. 23:33  Wine impairs judgment in speech. This is a theme in Scripture. Drunkenness is always condemned because of the impairment of judgment it brings about.
  • 1 Peter 4:2-3   Drunkenness is described as a part of a way of life before conversion…as a lifestyle opposed to the “will of God” (see also Eph. 5:18)
  • 1 Tim. 3:3, 8  Paul does not use express words for drunkenness, but disqualifies men from leadership who are “alongside wine” or who are “given to much wine.”

So yes, the Bible does describe alcohol as a regular part of life…but it also describes it as a regular factor involved in the destruction of a productive life and at times in the judgment of God on His people.

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