Drinking

* Lessons from Noah’s drunkenness

Noah, the great hero of faith, got drunk–a poor example of godliness to his sons.  Perhaps this story is included to show us that even godly people can sin and that their bad influence affects their families.  Although the wicked people had all been killed, the possibility of evil still existed in the hearts of Noah and his family.  Ham’s mocking attitude revealed a severe lack of respect for his father and for God. (NLT)

Genesis 9:20-27 – After the Flood, Noah became a farmer and planted a vineyard.  One day he became drunk on some wine he had made and lay naked in his tent.  Ham, the father of Canaan, saw that his father was naked and went outside and told his brothers.  Shem and Japheth took a robe, held it over their shoulders, walked backward into the tent, and covered their father’s naked body.  As they did this, they looked the other way so they wouldn’t see him naked.  When Noah woke up from his drunken stupor, he learned what Ham, his youngest son, had done.  Then he cursed the descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham: “A curse on the Canaanites!  May they be the lowest of servants to the descendants of Shem and Japheth.”

Then Noah said, “May Shem be blessed by the Lord my God; and may Canaan be his servant.”

* Drinking affected Xerxes’ decisions

Xerxes made a rash, half-drunk decision, based purely on feelings.  His self-restraint and practical wisdom were weakened by drinking too much wine.  Poor decisions are made when people don’t think clearly, clouded by drinking.  Base your decisions on careful thinking, not on the emotions of the moment.  Impulsive decision making leads to severe complications. (NLT)

Esther 1:10-11 – On the seventh day of the feast, when King Xerxes was half drunk with wine, he told Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven eunuchs who attended hin, to bring Queen Vashti to him with the royal crown on her head.  He wanted all the men to gaze on her beauty, for she was a very beautiful woman.

* Drinking lowers the capacity for control

Drinking destroys a person’s efficiency.  Even friends can make you fall.  Young people want to be accepted, so they would never confront or criticize a friend for wrong plans or actions.  Many other people can’t see how their friends’ actions could lead to trouble.  While we should be accepting of others, we need a healthy skepticism about human behavior.  When you feel yourself being heavily influenced, proceed with caution.  Don’t let your friends cause you to fall into sin. (NLT)

Proverbs 4:13-17 – Carry out my instructions; don’t forsake them.  Guard them, for they will lead you to a fulfilled life.

Do not do as the wicked do or follow the path of evildoers.  Avoid their haunts.  Turn away and go somewhere else, for evil people cannot sleep until they have done their evil deed for the day.  They cannot rest unless they have caused someone to stumble.  They eat wickedness and drink violence!

* Your drinking affects others

For a government or a society to endure, it needs wise, informed leaders—and these are hard to find.  Each person’s selfishness quickly affects others.  A selfish employee who steals from his company ruins its productivity.  A selfish driver who drinks before taking the wheel makes the state highways unsafe.  A selfish spouse who has an adulterous affair often breaks up several families. When people live for themselves with little concern for how their actions affect others, the resulting moral not contaminates the entire nation.  Are you part of the problem or the solution? (NLT)

Proverbs 28:1-4 – The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions.

When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily.  But with wise and knowledgeable leaders, there is stability.

A poor person who oppresses the poor is like a pounding rain that destroys the crops.

To reject the law is to praise the wicked; to obey the law is to fight them.

Evil people don’t understand justice, but those who follow the Lord understand completely.

* Drinking won’t solve your problems

The soothing comfort of alcohol is only temporary.  Real relief comes from dealing with the cause of the anguish and sorrow and turning to God for peace.  Don’t lose yourself in alcohol; find yourself in God.

Israel was a wine-producing country.  In the Old Testament, winepresses bursting with new wine were considered a sign of blessing.  Wisdom is even said to have set her table with wine.  But the Old Testament writers were alert to the dangers of wine.  It dulls the senses, it limits clear judgment; it lowers the capacity for control; it destroys a person’ efficiency.  To make wine an end in itself, a means of self-indulgence or as an escape from life is to misuse it and invite the consequences of the drunkard.  (NLT)

Proverbs 23:29-35– Who has anguish?  Who has sorrow?  Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining?  Who has unnecessary bruises?  Who has bloodshot eyes?  It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks.  Don’t let the sparkle and smooth taste of wine deceive you.  For in the end it bites like a poisonous serpent; it stings like a viper.

* Drinking not the answer for confusion

Egypt was noted for its wisdom, but there its wise men and counselors were deceived and foolish.  True wisdom can come only from God.  We must ask him for wisdom to guide our decisions, or we will also be uncertain and misdirected.  Are you confused about something in your life now?  Ask God for wisdom to deal with it. (NLT)

Isaiah 19:14-15 – The Lord has sent a spirit of foolishness on them, so all their suggestions are wrong.  They cause the land of Egypt to stager like a sick drunkard.  Nobody in Egypt, whether rich or poor, important or unknown, can offer any help.

* Don’t be brought low by wine

Isaiah gave this message to Israel to warn them that destruction was certain.  It was also meant to encourage Judah to repent before being punished, as the northern kingdom would be only a few years later. (NLT)

Isaiah 28:1 – Destruction is certain for the city of Samaria—the pride and joy of the drunkards of Israel!  It sits in a rich valley, but its glorious beauty will suddenly disappear.  Destruction is certain for that city—the pride of a people brought low by wine.

Dangers of alcohol

Drunkenness might be understandable among dying people in great pain, but it is inexcusable for national leaders.  Alcohol clouds the mind and can lead to injustice and poor decisions.  People in leadership who anesthetize themselves with alcohol will eventually compromise their principles.  (NLT)

Proverbs 31:4-5 – And it is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine.  Rulers should not crave liquor.  For if they drink, they may forget their duties and be unable to give justice to those who are oppressed.

Proverbs 21:17 – Those who love pleasure become poor; wine and luxury are not the way to riches.

* …or is abusive, or a drunk

Paul makes it clear that we should not disassociate ourselves from unbelievers–otherwise we could not carry out Christ’s command to tell them about salvation.  But we are to distance ourselves from the person who claims to be a Christian, yet indulges in sins explicitly forbidden in Scripture by rationalizing his or her actions.  By rationalizing sin, a person harms others for whom Christ died and dims the image of God in himself or herself.  A church that includes such a person is hardly fit to be the light of the world.  To do so would distort the picture of Christ it presents to the world.  Church leaders must be ready to correct, in love, for the sake of spiritual unity. (NLT)

1 Corinthians 5:11 – What I meant was that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a Christian yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or a drunkard, or a swindler.  Don’t even eat with such people.

Use this for depression, monotony, or tension instead of drinking

Paul contrasts getting drunk with wine, which produces a temporary “high,” to being filled with the Spirit, which produces lasting joy.  Getting drunk with wine is associated with the old way of life and its selfish desires.  In Christ, we have a better joy, higher and longer lasting, to cure our depression, monotony, or tension.  We should not be concerned with how much of the Holy Spirit we have but with how much of us the Holy Spirit has.  Submit yourself daily to his leading and draw constantly on his power. (NLT)

Ephesians 5:18 – Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life.  Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you.

* Drinking to avoid pain

Some people will do anything to avoid pain.  Sin loses its power to defeat us in our suffering if we focus on Christ and what he wants us to do.  When we are in pain or our life is in jeopardy, our real values clearly show up, and sinful pleasures seem less important.  If anyone is willing to suffer for Christ by doing the will of God, that person has made a clean break with sin.  (NLT)

1 Peter 4:2-3 – And you won’t spend the rest of your life chasing after evil desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.  You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy–their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols.

Drinking can be a slave that controls you

Some people are surprised that Paul lists fighting and jealousy with the gross and obvious sins of drunkenness and immorality.  Like Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, Paul considers attitudes as important as actions.  Just as hatred leads to murder, so jealousy leads to strife and lust to adultery.  (NLT)

Romans 13:12-14 – The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here.  So don’t live in darkness.  Get rid of your evil deeds.  Shed them like dirty clothes.  Clothe yourselves with the armor of right living, as those who live in the light.  We should be decent and true in everything we do, so that everyone can approve of our behavior.  Don’t participate in wild parties and getting drunk, or in adultery and immoral living, or in fighting and jealousy.  But let the Lord Jesus Christ take control of you, and don’t think of ways to indulge your evil desires.

* If your desire is to have the qualities of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, then you know that the Holy Spirit is leading you.  At the same time, be careful not to confuse your subjective feelings with the Spirit’s leading.  Being led by the Holy Spirit involves the desire to hear, the readiness to obey God’s Word, and the sensitivity to discern between your feelings and his promptings.  Live each day controlled and guided by the Holy Spirit.  Then the words of Christ will be in your mind, the love of Christ will be behind your actions, and the power of Christ will help you control your selfish desires.

In order to accept Christ as Savior, we need to turn from our sins and willingly nail our sinful nature to the cross.  This doesn’t mean, however, that we will never see traces of its evil desires again.  As Christians we still have the capacity to sin, but we have been set free from sin’s power over us and no longer have to give in to it.  We must daily commit our sinful tendencies to God’s control, daily crucify them, and moment by moment draw on the Spirit’s power to overcome them.

God is interested in every part of our life, not just the spiritual part.  As we live by the Holy Spirit’s power, we need to submit every aspect of our life to God: emotional, physical, social, intellectual, vocational.  Paul says that because we’re saved, we should live like it!  The Holy Spirit’s leading.  Those who look to God for approval won’t need to envy others.  Because we are God’s sons and daughters, we have his Holy Spirit as the loving guarantee of his approval.  (NLT)

Galatians 5:16-26 – So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit.  Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.  The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants.  And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires.  These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict.  But when you are directed by the Holy Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law.

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin.  Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Here there is no conflict with the law.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.  If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.  Let us not become conceited, or irritate one another, or be jealous of one another.

* A person is a slave to whatever controls him or her.  Many believe that freedom means doing anything we want.  But not one is every completely free in that sense.  If we refuse to follow God, we will follow our own sinful desires and become enslaved to what our body wants.  If we submit our life to Christ, he will free us from slavery to sin.  Christ frees us to serve him, a freedom that results in our ultimate good. (NLT)

2 Peter 2:19 – They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves to sin and corruption.  For you are a slave to whatever controls you.

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