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SIH’s Think On These Things: Proverbs 31:3-7

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SIH TOTT ICONHe layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous (Prov 2:7)

 

The Proverbs Of King Lemuel: Abstain From Fleshly Lusts: Proverbs 31:3-7

3) Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
4) [It is] not for kings, O Lemuel, [it is] not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
5) Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
6) Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.
7) Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.

King Lemuel now turns our attention to advice, given from His mother, to help us understand the need to turn from the fulfillment of our fleshly lusts which can result in disaster for our lives…

EXPOSITION:

3) Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
The mother of Lemuel’s first piece of advice…
1.  Do not willingly hand over the sources of your power to women
2.  Do not willingly hand over your lifestyle to that which can bring down kings.

Here, Lemuel’s mother warns him of following his fleshly lusts causing him to reveal his weaknesses and thereby making him vulnerable to attack and defeat (physically or spiritually).

The account of Samson and Delilah is a good example of this idea (Judges 16:).  In this account we find Samson, seduced by the beauty of Delilah, telling her the secret of his great strength.  In doing so, he lost his strength, became a captive slave of his arch-rivals, and became a public display of shame and dishonor to the Lord.

When we submit to our sinful flesh, we open ourselves up to spiritual weakness and defeat as well as placing us upon the path of earthly ruin as well.  This is the main principle of for this piece of advice.

This principle continues to be presented in the following Godly counsel.  It now shifts our attention from sexual lust to lust involving the craving and overindulgence of alcohol…

4) [It is] not for kings, O Lemuel, [it is] not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
The need for great care to be used in partaking of alcohol…
1.  It is not for the good of kings to drink fermented wine (to the point of impeding decision making)
2.  It is not for the good of kings to drink fermented liquors (to the point of impeding decision making)

Keep in mind, the drinking of alcoholic beverages was very common in that day.  This is because it was the main beverage of the day.  In this passage, the simple consumption of alcohol is not being addressed… it is speaking of the drinking of alcohol to the point of impaired judgment.  We can see this from the following context…

5) Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
Some results of over-indulgence of alcohol….
1.  lest they over-indulge and mislay the law of God
2.  lest they over-indulge and alter the proper decisions that were made to defend those who are the “child of misery”

When we allow our ability to make decisions become altered by an intoxicating substance, we will find ourselves misapplying the commands of God to the situation at hand.  In doing so, we will harm those who are innocent and in need of defense from abuse.

6) Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.
7) Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
Here we find the use of an intoxicating beverage for a medicinal uses…
1.  hand over liquor to those that are awaiting death
2.  hand over intoxicating wine to those who are discontented, sorrowful and grieving
3.  through the moderate partaking of alcohol, he can have his spirits lightened and his attention no longer centered upon his misery.

Alcohol is has Godly medicinal value as a pain-killer and sedative to those who are dying as well as an anti-depressant to those who are facing great grief and sorrow.   Once again, we can see that the Bible is not condemning all partaking of alcohol.  In the above cases, we can see its medicinal value being upheld and encouraged.  This same principle is brought out in the New Testament….

Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.  (1 Timothy 5:23)

Wine is described as one of the blessings that God has given to man to use for his benefit…

He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;  And wine [that] maketh glad the heart of man, [and] oil to make [his] face to shine, and bread [which] strengtheneth man’s heart.”   (Psalms 104:14-15)

But it is the abuse and over-indulgence of wine that can be man’s great downfall….

But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they go astray in vision, they stumble in judgment.”  (Isaiah 28:7)

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,  Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, worldy jealousies, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,  Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”   (Galatians 5:19-21)

One final note concerning the partaking of alcohol…  based on the above, is it proper for Christians to moderately partake of alcohol as a beverage?  From my standpoint, this issue becomes one of conscience for each Christian to decide…  There is no simple “thus saith the Lord”.  Keep in mind are there are at least two other issues that must be considered in our decision making process in this area of Christian living…

1.  First of all, we need to ask ourselves the question “Will my partaking an alcohol start me on a path that will lead to the abuse of alcohol?”  “Is partaking of alcohol opening up an opportunity for Satan to tempt me and bring me to eventual sin?”

One thing we can know for certain.  If we never partake of alcohol, we will never become an alcoholic.  Period.  There is no exception to this rule.

However, if we do partake of alcohol, we are opening an opportunity to abuse it if we are placed in the wrong situation at the wrong time.  Satan is walking about as a lion looking for opportunities to intervene in the lives of God’s people and to bring them down.  By partaking of alcohol, we are giving him that opening…

Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil [men].  Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.”  (Proverbs 4:14-15)In other words, don’t even walk near to it.  Walk directly away from it.

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  Abstain from all appearance of evil.(1 Thessalonians 5:21-22)We are to stay so far from sin that we are not to even APPEAR to be partaking of that sin.

2. The second question we need to answer is this.. “ Will my moderate partaking of wine as a beverage cause a younger Christian to stumble into drunkenness?”

Paul presents this basic principle to us in the context of eating foods offered to idols.  Although, for the strong Christian, the idol has no real power, therefore food offered to an idol is just food; to the weaker Christian partaking of the food offered to an idol could appear to them as condoning the worship of that idol.

So too, this applies to the moderate partaking of alcohol.  To the older Christian (who understands the need for control of his fleshly lusts) drunkeness may not result.  But the younger Christian who sees his elder partaking of wine may see this same action as a condoning of drunkenness.  If this is the case, Paul makes it very plain that the liberty God has given to us is to be forsaken, so that the young Christian would not fall into sin.   How horrible it would be for any Christian to be used by Satan to lead a younger spiritual brother or sister into drunkenness!

Nevertheless there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.  But food commends us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.  But take heed lest by any means this liberty of your’s become a stumbling block to them that are weak.  For if any man see you which have knowledge sit to eat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;  And through your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?  But when all of you sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, all of you sin against Christ.  Wherefore, if food make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world stands, lest I make my brother to offend.”   (1 Corinthians 8:7-13)

So, although I see no specific Biblical command to forsake the use of alcohol as a beverage, based upon both of the above principles, I believe the wisest course of action for myself is the total abstinence from alcohol as a beverage.   But I place this decision in the hands of the Lord and allow others to decide the best path of life for themselves…

So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.  Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.  I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteems any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.”   (Romans 14:12-14)

SUMMARY:

This section of Scripture presents to us the main issue of THE NEED TO CONTROL OUR FLESHLY LUSTS.   This passage uses two very common lusts our sexual lusts and lusts concerning overindulgence (drunkenness and gluttony) to present this basic principle to us.  So above all else, we are to be self-controlled and watchful because Satan is out to destroy us.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”  (1 Peter 5:8)

By God’s grace, let us all study these proverbs diligently, giving them the value that they deserve.

May the Lord bless us as we receive this sound wisdom and then “Think On These Things”.

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8 Comments

  1. Give us each day our daily bread! As a teacher, your light shines brightly! You daily share from our Lords table of delights that our spirits may be satisfied another day! Wonderful message my brother! God bless!

  2. Charisse says:

    Dear Pastor Barkman,

    Thank you for properly dividing the Words of the Lord. May God richly bless you and yours throughout this season of honoring the birth of our Savior.

    Blessings, charisse

    • Rob Barkman says:

      Hi Charisse,

      I trust your family will be blessed this holiday season as well my friend. Thank you for the kind words. I am thankful for the Word that our Lord has given to us…. what a blessing it is to be able to open up the book and learn more of the Lord and His will for us on a daily basis!

  3. […] SIH’s Think On These Things: Proverbs 31:3-7 […]

  4. SLIMJIM says:

    Good and balance study especially pretaining to alcohol. Very biblical. I saw the application for my life is how the more responsibility one has the more it’s important to be sober…and sober minded.

    • Rob Barkman says:

      I agree fully SJ. With increased responsibilities the more we need to consider our actions affects on those weaker in the faith. Both soberness and being sober minded are of extreme importance for the spiritual leaders among us. Lord bless.

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