“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” (KJV).
God is Great and Beer is Good…
Ahhh… family weddings. The pattern of these events is always the same: ceremony, reception, and then dancing! And with the dancing comes an abundance of country music songs. One of the popular songs that always makes it out onto the dance floor is a song by Billy Currington called People are Crazy. In this story song, he tells the tale about meeting an old man in a bar who tells him, “God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy.”
Now while it is true that God is great (and few would argue with the fact that people are crazy!) is it true that beer is good? What does the Bible have to say about drinking alcohol? This has been a controversial topic among Christians for many years. The Bible does not have a black and white standard that says, “thou shalt not drink alcohol” but it does say a lot on the topic. Our Scripture teaches us that people who drink become mockers and fighters, and if you are led astray by alcohol, you are not wise. Still though it doesn’t say you cannot drink. Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of the following Scripture gives a real clear picture into some of the dangers of drinking alcohol:
Warnings Against Drunkenness
“Who are the people who are always crying the blues? Who do you know who reeks of self-pity? Who keeps getting beat up for no reason at all? Whose eyes are bleary and bloodshot? It’s those who spend the night with a bottle, for whom drinking is serious business. Don’t judge wine by its label, or its bouquet, or its full-bodied flavor. Judge it rather by the hangover it leaves you with – the splitting headache, the queasy stomach. Do you really prefer seeing double, with your speech all slurred, Reeling and seasick, drunk as a sailor? “They hit me,” you’ll say, “but it didn’t hurt; they beat on me, but I didn’t feel a thing. When I’m sober enough to manage it, bring me another drink!” (Prov. 23:29-35).
So the Bible doesn’t say that you can’t drink alcohol, it just makes it abundantly clear that if you do, you can ruin your life! How many people have destroyed their lives or the lives of their families through the use of alcohol? My dad was an alcoholic who abandoned our family, so I know firsthand the negative effects of alcohol.
Finally, although the Bible doesn’t forbid the use of alcohol, it does state that drunkenness is a sin: “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation.” (Eph. 5:18). (Note – just because it says don’t be drunk with wine doesn’t mean it’s okay to get drunk on beer or rum or another form of alcohol!). Drunkenness leads to dissipation (excess in the KJV), a word that means an abandoned, dissolute, wasted life.
So – is beer good? You be the judge!
May 17th, 2013 at 12:24 am
Everything in moderation?
May 17th, 2013 at 9:09 am
Chris, thank you for a wise and insightful treatment of this proverb.
May 23rd, 2013 at 7:24 am
Proverbial Though has to be my favourite blog to follow. The treatment of the Proverbs is food for the soul. Or shall I say, water to the spirit. In South Africa we have what is called, “The Wine Route.” Up until not so long ago these wine farms practiced paying their workers by “the dop;” dop being an Afrikaans word referring a tot of wine. But it wasn’t a tot at all; it was a bottle. Consequently, the repercussions have been disastrous for each generation, particularly as babies were born with foetal alcohol syndrome – i.e. alcoholics from birth. Would that the farmers had read your post! Most of them did, however, read the Bible. But one wonders how they could have missed this Proverb?
May 23rd, 2013 at 8:42 am
Thanks for the feedback on the post – glad you’re enjoying the Proverbial Thought blog! It’s unfortunate that there are many Christians who don’t read their Bibles, and that of those who do read their Bibles, there are many who don’t put into practice what they are reading. May God richly bless you as you seek to be a shining light for Jesus in South Africa!