Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

Vol. 1, No. 9 Page 20 September 1999

Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

 "Who hath wounds without cause?"
The Scourge Of The Ages

By Cliff Goodwin

The Preacher of old penned by inspiration of God's Spirit, "Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions" (Ecclesiastes 7:29).  Indeed, man was created in the divine image of God (Genesis 1:26-27), having the volition and moral capability to do good, but sadly he has often veered from the paths of right into schemes of sin and iniquity.  In departing from God and his fellowship, man has traveled countless avenues.  In ancient times it was quite common for man to forsake the true and the living God for dumb idols of wood and gold.  A myriad of human souls have turned away from Jehovah in search of carnal fulfillment in fleshly lusts.  But always lurking in the human background, even from ancient times, is the evil companion modern science has termed "alcohol."  In the great expanse of eternity many a soul will be forever lost due to alcohol and its surrounding sins.

Alcohol may be truly called "the scourge of the ages," for drunkenness is recorded in God's Word as early as the postdiluvian life of Noah (Genesis 9:20-24).  The menace of this sin can be traced throughout Old Testament history, and it is condemned in the New Testament as well.  "Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying" (Romans 13:13).  "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;" (Ephesians 5:18).  Sadly, however, the day has not come in which man has become wise to alcohol and its both damaging as well as damning effects.  The proverb writer recorded, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise" (Proverbs 20:1).

Also in the book of Proverbs is preserved an inspired description of alcohol as detailed in 23:29-35.  A more vivid and even "sobering" elaboration of alcohol would be hard to find in all of God's Word.  In this passage one is presented with the reality of alcohol's evils.  For example, its bite and sting are compared to those of the serpent and adder respectively (Proverbs 23:32).  In keeping with such a portrayal, one may discern at least three points from the text at hand pertaining to alcohol.

Alcohol is an ANTAGONISTIC substance.  This is to say that alcohol actually opposes its very partaker.  It is true that a sparkling cup may promise some comfort--some little excursion of the mind for a while, but ultimately no solace is found.  The inebriated state will soon pass only to leave the drinker as dejected as before, only afterward the unhappiness is almost always worse.  Alcohol's stairway may be depicted as one which spirals continually downward, only plummeting the drinker deeper and deeper into darkness and despair.  Note from Proverbs 23:29-30 that wine brings not comfort or solace, but rather woe, sorrow and contentions.  It renders one to such a state that he cannot recall the origin of wounds on his own body.  Yes, alcohol is an antagonist indeed, regardless of any false hope or comfort it may offer.

Alcohol is an ALTERING substance.  One only has to witness another person in a drunken state to know that alcohol alters both the body and mind.  Because alcohol is not broken down in digestion, it is absorbed immediately into the bloodstream and carried to the brain and other major organs.  In these tissues and organs its effects are devastating.  A person's speech is often reduced to babbling and his eyes become red and bloodshot (Proverbs 23:29).  But even more, alcohol tears down one's inhibitions.  While drunken a person will do things that he would never do while sober.  The text reveals that the drunken will behold strange women, and their hearts will utter perverse things (Proverbs 23:33).  Acts of lasciviousness, fornication and even adultery are often committed by those who have kneeled at the fount of inebriation.  In the drunken state marriage vows are broken, vain promises are made and rash statements are uttered.  Does anyone really want an inanimate substance to have dominant control of one's own life?

Alcohol is an ADDICTIVE substance.  The closing lines of the given text read, ". . . when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again" (Proverbs 23:35).  Though the hand alcohol deals to the drinker is always a losing one, he seems powerless to refuse when it is time for the next hand.  This is the addictive nature of the substance.  Alcohol is a drug, and like other drugs, it is often not finished with a person when he would long have been finished with it.  Illustrated here would be the digressive nature of sin--sin left alone only worsens and worsens.  Likewise, alcohol depicts the spiraling stairway mentioned above which descends and descends until there is no hope.

The fact that alcohol may be described as "the scourge of the ages" is no excuse for anyone to be under its evil influence today to any degree.  This would include the "social" drinker as well as the alcoholic.  The evils of alcohol are plainly set forth in Proverbs 23:29-35 as well as numerous other passages.  Romans 12:9 reads, "Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good."  If one is to abhor that which is evil, such as drunkenness and such like (Galatians 5:21), then he must abstain from alcohol, the only exception being for medicinal purposes (1 Timothy 5:23).

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information about alcohol consumption, please
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