Monday, March 28, 2011

A Sobering Reminder...

There are many things I wish I could magically prevent in your lives my dear grandchildren.  I'd love for you to never learn difficult life lessons the hard way, or endure terrible pain or heartache as a result of impulsive whims or youthful ignorance. But since wishful thinking is just that, my prayer is that you will read and heed the lessons and warnings of scripture, for they tell of the consequences and penalties that will inevitably occur in the lives of those who choose to go the way of this world.

Today's chapters are Isaiah 28 through 30, verses that tell of a stubborn and rebellious bunch who are prone to drunkenness and folly. And while one might think that for the sake of simplicity (and probably a more civil and safe society) it would've been better if God had straight up prohibited the use of alcohol in the Bible, He didn't.  What He did however, is tell us that drunkenness is wrong--always.

But you--you're growing up in a world that celebrates and elevates and glorifies alcohol's use not simply as a rite of passage, but as a necessity for life's enjoyment. And while illicit drug use isn't mentioned in these chapters I think we can safely lump it into the category as well.  So what does the Bible say? 

It's interesting that the Hebrew word halam which literally means "to strike down" is used to describe what Isaiah refers to as drunkenness.  The same word is translated "pounded" in Judges 5:26 where it describes Jael's pounding of a tent peg through the head of Sisera. Wow, how is that for some sobering imagery?

Being drunk means that our senses, judgment, thinking and reflexes are impaired, and while that may sometimes sound like a great way to escape troubles, heartbreaks or reality, the truth is, getting drunk or drugged never solves a problem.  Drunkenness multiplies difficulties and compounds despair-- especially when it leads to addiction.

The good news of these verses is that as strong as alcohol (or any of its substitutes may be) God is stronger.  There is nothing that has power over us that is greater than God's ability to break the power--but the battle will be tough and the faith must be fervent.

Finally, never forget this: there is nothing good that God withholds from us--NOTHING!  But this world will tell you that more is always better, that evil is good and that wrong is right.  And unless you are armed with the knowledge of the truth of God's world, I'm afraid you will listen and believe--as so many have before you.

Hear instead these Words from Isaiah 29:
15 What sorrow awaits those who try to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their evil deeds in the dark! “The Lord can’t see us,” they say. “He doesn’t know what’s going on!” 16 How foolish can you be? He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you, the clay! Should the created thing say of the one who made it, “He didn’t make me”? Does a jar ever say, “The potter who made me is stupid”?
We are all just lumps of clay fashioned uniquely and individually by a Master Potter--who not only loves us, He gave his life for us.  In Him alone can "us jars" be filled up enough that we aren't chasing after things that never satisfy--like the artificial highs of drugs and alcohol.  Being drunk instead of being Spirit-filled is like bandaging a bleeding artery rather than surgically repairing it.  You eventually die needlessly when there was a ready remedy.

Lord, fill us with Your Spirit so that we may live in the awareness that we are jars of clay.  Keep us, lead us, help us, deliver us. Thank you and amen. 


  1. Thank you for loving my children thip much.

  2. I thoroughly agree with you on drunkenness, but I'm wondering where you stand on alcohol in moderation at an appropriate age?

    I was raised in a strict religious home with no alcohol. Once I got on my own, I would have wine with dinner and an occasional beer. Never was it to excess. At my wedding, my parents were not pleased with the wine for guests, but my husband and I planned and paid for it.

    I'm over fifty now and my husband, along with my 22 year old son, will frequently enjoy a bottle of wine with a special dinner. Every so often I will "hear" my parents' thoughts (both are deceased) on alcohol, but I fail to see the problem with a glass now and then.

    Do you currently practice something like this or total abstinence?


  3. Corinne, thanks for your comment and question. I respect the views of my Christian brothers/sisters who believe that complete abstinence is the best way to avoid the potential pitfalls that can be associated with drinking any alcohol.

    I cannot however, find a Biblical mandate to abstain from drinking wine. Jesus did turn water into wine (His first miracle-John 2:1-10) and drank wine (Mark 14:22-26) and was even unjustly accused of being a drunkard (Matthew 11:19).

    Later, Paul suggested the use of wine to Timothy (1 Timothy 5:23) and Psalm 104:15 also seems to indicate that its use is not wrong.

    If an individual believer is not abusing alcohol but instead enjoys the taste and drinks in moderation--never to the point of drunkenness--then I can't find a Biblical basis for criticism.

    I think many who maintain that Christians should never partake of any alcohol for any reason do so because of its addictive potential and the awareness that such a high price is paid by all of us for its misuse and abuse.

    I hope this answers your question and I appreciate and share your concerns.


  4. Thanks for your explanation. It all makes sense to me.

    In a larger sense, I wish our Christian culture would not make such a big deal about alcohol. It's forbidden and therefore, quite captivating to young people. You have no idea the stories my son told us from his first semester at college! We had lived in Germany where it was quite the norm for teens to have wine on occasion, so he was never so taken with alcohol to have it to excess.

    As much as I feel alcohol to be a non-issue in moderation, I don't feel that way about drugs!


  5. Corinne,
    I completely agree with you about illicit drug use. The main difference I see between alcohol and street drugs is that not only are they illegal, they are used for the purpose of recreational intoxication and mind alteration.

    For these reasons (and others) the two are dissimilar and I believe a Biblical case can be made for complete abstinence. Thanks for pointing that out. I wouldn't want any reader to be left with the impression that I unequivocally equate the two given that I mentioned illicit drugs in the post.

    Thanks again!