Here we go with sayings 19-24.
Saying 19 is about alcohol.
God made all things good.
Jesus turned water into wine.
Jesus wined and dined with Pharisees, sinners, and his closet friends whom we call the disciples.
Man found a way to abuse alcohol. That’s not really true. Humankind found a way to abuse ourselves and each other with alcohol as the weapon of choice.
In the course of reading and studying the Bible, I find neither license nor prohibition concerning alcohol. But in this 19th saying of wisdom, we do find warnings.
Be careful for what goes down smoothly may go down too fast and too often.
If you linger over wine, that is, if you can never get your fill, Look Out!
You will think that you have been bitten by a snake.
The floor will spin or you might think you are hanging over the ocean in a ship’s rigging.
You will feel like you got beaten up in a fight—maybe you did—but did not remember it.
Most of us after a floor spinning, midnight vomiting, waking up feeling like we had been dragged behind a tank all night experience might say, “I’m not doing that again,” and would swear off drinking to excess or something drinking altogether.
Some barely come back into consciousness and are already looking for their next drink.
Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has strife? Who has complaints?
Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?
If the answer is, “I do,” then it is time to give up the alcohol.
Having worked with alcoholics and addicts, I have seen some of the best denial and deceptive skills on the planet. Once addicted, the substance has control.
The road to recovery is often long and difficult and very often filled with relapse. Most cannot recover without God’s help.
Wisdom says, defeat this problem before it becomes a problem. What are the warning signs?
Complaints against you.
If after experiencing these symptoms you still want a drink, then you need professional help. Fortuneately today, that help is readily available. In the time of the proverbs, front end correction was the primary treatment available.
It is still the best.
If you are not the master of what you put into your body, then don’t consume it. Besides, the substance of choice for Christians is caffeine.
Saying 20 brings us back to envying the wicked and their ways. We have been through this before. Just don’t do it. Short term gains bring long term headaches.
The things that God wants to give you really are better than the things and practices that the world says you are giving up.
Seek God’s kingdom and his righteousness first, and all of the things that the world makes their god will be given to you. Don’t crave them or make them your god for the one true God wants to give you every good gift.
Saying 21 connects 4 key words: wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and treasure.
Realize that the original audience of these proverbs saw most of what they were blessed with as coming in this world. We are counseled to store up our treasures in heaven, but wherever the storehouse might be, wisdom, understanding, and knowledge help us add to it.
Saying 22 might seem like it was only for kings, but we might find application closer to our own lives.
The wise prevail through great power,
and those who have knowledge muster their strength.
Surely you need guidance to wage war,
and victory is won through many advisers.
We might think, “Yeah, OK, wouldn’t it be great if I had my own military advisors or at least a consulting team.”
It is called the Body of Christ.
Jesus told us that we would not be left alone. He sent us the Spirit and equipped us with the Body of Christ that knows how to properly handle the written word we have been given.
James tells us to ask God for wisdom and he will give it generously.
We should be prepared for battle.
We have God’s own Spirit.
We have his Holy Word.
We have the Body of Christ.
We have wisdom for the asking.
I believe that we have enough to prevail.
Saying 23 seems a bit harsh at first.
Wisdom is too high for fools; in the assembly at the gate they must not open their mouths.
In 2013, any yahoo can post something on Facebook and be heard. It may be incoherent, completely false, and unworthy of your time; but they can have their say.
The proverbs say that the fools doesn’t get a say. It may sound harsh, but it is truly a warning once again to the youth.
It says, if you want to have a say in life and in the matters of the community, get wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Don’t get suckered in by the ways of evil or foolishness.
I would love to apply those same rules to about 90% of the Facebook posts that I see.
If you did not seek and acquire wisdom, you don’t get a say. So break out your Bibles, do your work in school, and stay out of mischief.
Then you can have a voice in the community.
It is counter-cultural in 2013 America, but it is still wisdom for the ages.
Saying 24 is about the root of sin.
Sin begins in the heart and mind. It manifests itself in theft and murder and slanderous speech, but it begins with thoughts and plans.
Wisdom says that if you are planning ill gotten gain, doing harm to someone, or other foolish things; then you have already sinned.
Jesus said that if you look at a woman with lust, you have already committed adultery in your heart.
As we discussed in the beginning, the best time to stop a drinking problem is before it begins; likewise, the best time to nip sin in the bud is before a stray thought starts to put together a plan.
Six more sayings down, six to go. Here’s what we examined.
· The Bible has neither license nor prohibition concerning alcohol, but drunkenness and addiction need to be addressed early. If you know you have a problem in this area, sobriety is the best and surest remedy. Quit using. Get help—it is available.
· Trust God. What he wants for you is better than what the world tells you that you are giving up.
· Acquiring wisdom, understanding, and knowledge leads to treasure—they pay dividends. Put that treasure to use in this world so as to store it up for life eternal. It’s just good investing.
· We wage war against evil and against our own sinful nature, but we have some good counselors: The Holy Spirit, the Holy Bible, and the Body of Christ. Listen to your military advisors as you wage war.
· If you want to have a say, then prepare yourself to say something of value.
· It is better to defeat sin when it is a single thought than once it has formed its plan in your mind and has convinced you to put it into effect.