Proverbs 23:34-35

Look Not Upon the Wine (Part II)


1. This chapter deals with the use of alcohol.

2. In verse 20, Solomon warns against keeping company with those who are winebibbers and gluttons. (Why? It results in laziness and poverty.)

3. In verses 29-30, Solomon continued his warnings against alcohol.

4. In this final section of the chapter, Solomon makes one bold command: “look not on the wine.”

a. He commands his readers not even to LOOK at wine because it is tempting and alluring.

b. It has a beautiful amber in the glass, it has a wonderful aroma, and is so smooth going down.

5. Solomon also gives reasons WHY his sons (readers) should not look at wine—why we should refuse to allow ourselves to be tempted by it:

a. Vs. 32 – It is extremely appealing at first, but in the end, it bites and stings (there are painful, long term consequences)

b. Vs. 33 – Thine eyes shall behold strange women. (Alcohol causes a person’s fleshly nature to be uninhibited – which means that it can stir up sinful behavior and sexual promiscuity)

c. Vs. 33 – Thine heart shall utter perverse things. (Because alcohol causes our fleshly nature to be uninhibited, it produces a perverse, immoral imagination, evil thoughts and words.)

6. There are two more reasons why we should not even LOOK at wine in this section: (1) it will make you sick and (2) it is addictive.

It Will Make You Sick (vs.34-35a)

1. The author likens the effects of alcohol to the effects of lying down in the midst of the sea, or lying down on the top of a mast (crow’s nest).

2. What happens when you lie down on a boat in the midst of the sea, especially if it is choppy?

a. You get seasick… nauseated… queasy… sick to your stomach.

b. It is a horrible feeling.

c. Alcohol can do that to you. It makes you sick.

d. And by the way, this description is not hyperbole. Solomon is not exaggerating for effect. This is the truth!

3. Then he uses another illustration that emphasizes (perhaps more effectively) the same truth: alcohol makes you sick.

a. It is like being in the top of a mast of a boat out to sea.

b. The reference is to the lookout platform on the top of a mast.

c. From that place, every little motion on the sea is exaggerated. The top of the mast sways much more than does the deck of the ship.

d. Try lying down in a crow’s nest when out at sea. That will surely make you sick.

e. When you are standing, your sea legs can serve as shock absorbers to a degree. But when lying down, your whole body feels the motion.

f. This will REALLY make you sick!

4. The author could have used a dozen other illustrations, but this one drives the truth home in an unmistakable manner: alcohol makes you sick… almost like a severe case of being seasick.

a. It is a bit like motion sickness.

b. People who are seasick often vomit. So do people who are full of alcohol. (Your body is telling you something!)

c. To people who are seasick or who have motion sickness, it appears that the room is spinning… the ground is uneven… and it is hard to walk a straight line.

d. This is a good description of the hangover the next morning too.

e. Those who overdo it with alcohol always experience this kind of sickness.

f. Thankfully, once the alcohol wears off, so do these symptoms.

5. However, for those who abuse alcohol over a long period of time, their “sickness” does not go away.

a. They may experience drunken tremors and see pink elephants.

b. They may experience cirrhosis of the liver—which can kill you.

c. And what’s worse, they might get in a car, drive down route 93 and kill an innocent family of four on their way home from a Red Sox game.

6. Alcohol also leads to wounds on the body. (vs.35a)

a. “They have stricken me… they have beaten me…”
• Stricken: To strike a vicious blow; to afflict; to defeat.
• Beaten: To pound; to hammer; to smash; to trample.
• You get the idea—this speaks of some serious physical injuries and wounds to the body.
• The pronoun “they” may refer to repeated drunken experiences… not necessarily to a particular person.
• In other words, the drunken condition does damage to the body that is likened to being beaten, pounded, smashed, and hammered upon. It doesn’t sound good.
• These wounds could be inflicted by repeatedly falling on one’s face, falling down stairs, or other accidents that drunks frequently experience… operating a vehicle or machinery while drunk.
• The physical injuries of alcohol are also internal. It ruins the liver and that has a bad affect on the overall health of the body.
• What a stark contrast between the sensually pleasing appearance and aroma of the wine in the glass (the original temptation) and the final result on the body!
• This is clearly given as a warning: consider the end result before you take your first drink! Thinking people will stay away.
• Do we really have liberty to partake of that which will do such serious damage to our body, the Temple of the Holy Ghost… especially since God Himself has warned us?

b. “And I was not sick… I felt it not…”
• Now Solomon states another dangerous aspect of the effects of alcohol: the drunkard is insensitive to the injury.
• At first blush, one might think this to be a good thing. He doesn’t feel the pain!
• But is that really an advantage? Pain is good. It is like a warning light to let us know that something is wrong.
» If you put your hand on a hot stove, the pain causes you to remove it pronto! If you have no pain, then you hand will be severely burned!
» If you step on a piece of glass that goes into your foot, the pain will let you know what happened, and you will stop walking on it and remove the glass and let the foot heal. If you feel NO pain, then you will continue walking on it and do much more damage in the long run.
» It is NOT an advantage to feel no pain. Pain is (in a sense) a gift from God… a warning… like the oil light in your car.
• Solomon warns us that alcohol results in the body being “pounded”, but you don’t feel it.
» This is not a good thing, but is dangerous.
» If a drunk gets injured and doesn’t “feel” it until the next day, much more damage can be done than otherwise.
» Also, there is a lot of internal damage being done to the organs of the alcoholic which he doesn’t “feel”—but the damage is real nonetheless.
» The kind of damage alcohol does CAN kill you. That is a serious consequence.

• Again, this is another warning from God Himself about the danger of alcohol. We have been warned. What we do with the warning is up to the individual.

7. Remember one of the oft repeated descriptions of the FOOL in this book: he doesn’t take heed to warnings!
a. Prov. 14:9 – Fools make a mock at sin.

b. Prov. 1:7 – Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

c. Prov. 10:23 – It is as sport to a fool to do mischief:

d. Prov. 14:8 – The folly of fools is deceit.

It Will Become Addictive (vs.35b)

1. “When shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.”

a. Even after all the sickness, the striking, and the beatings, the drunkard returns to his alcohol.

b. This is unreasonable and irrational. Why would anyone return to take another beating? But it happens every day in the lives of drunkards.

c. His thinking is irrational because alcohol affects the mind, the body and the will.

d. The alcoholic is a SLAVE to his alcohol… and alcohol is a vicious and cruel slave-master.

e. This is the same with drugs. They are cruel slave-masters… driving men and women to a lifestyle that would make them shudder if they were in their right minds.

f. They continue to return to that which (deep down inside) they know is killing them… ruining their lives… destroying their body, their marriage, their careers… yet they cannot stop.

g. Prov. 26:11 – As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.

h. Of course we should show compassion to those who are slaves to alcohol, but the Bible WARNS us all to stay away.

i. It is addicting, and you could easily become addicted without realizing it. No drunk ever imagined he would end up as a drunkard living in an alley when he took his first drink.

j. They all assume, “I can handle this. I won’t affect me. I’m strong.”

k. We have been WARNED against assuming that we can handle things: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”

l. Nobody is stronger than alcohol—or drugs. Nobody.

m. Vs. 32 – In the end it bites like a serpent—a subtle, deceptive, and destructive serpent.

n. It begins with great appeal… (color, aroma, taste)

o. It begins with great promises—you can be uninhibited… more social… makes you forget all your problems… takes away the pain… you can be the life of the party… more popular…

p. But it ends in sickness, suffering, ruined lives, ruined families, ruined careers, ruined relationships, ruined health…

q. And the final bite is the fact, than when all of this suffering sets in… you are no longer able to control your habit. It is addictive.

2. Go ahead and claim, “I have liberty to drink wine. Jesus drank wine.”

a. Actually, in a sense, you’re right. This is one of those issues that falls under the umbrella of “Christian liberty.”

b. However, if you’re honest, it is pretty clear that the principles of Christian liberty lead one AWAY from alcohol, and not towards it—that is if you are honest in your assessment.

c. I Cor. 6:12 – “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
• This is one of the principles of Christian liberty. We are forbidden to be brought under the POWER of anything.
• Anything that is addicting (especially if damaging—and bring you under its power) is to be rejected by the honest believer.
• Clearly alcohol brings you under its power. Therefore, it is not lawful for the honest believer.
• • We are to be walking under the influence of the Spirit of God, not under the influence of alcohol.

3. Consider Solomon’s statements about alcohol in this chapter:

a. Solomon did not beat around the bush in describing alcohol. No one should ever read this chapter and wonder what he thought about it!

a. Vs. 20 – Don’t associate with winebibbers.

b. Vs. 29 – It produces woe, contentions, babblings, wounds, bloodshot eyes.

c. Vs. 31 – Don’t even look at it!

d. Vs. 32 – It is appealing, but in the end, it bites like a poisonous snake.

e. Vs. 33 – It causes you to lust after immoral women and causes you to utter perverse things.

f. Vs. 34 – It makes you sick (and can kill you). Your body is the Temple of God.

g. Vs. 35 – It is addictive

h. NO believer would ever say that we have the liberty to fight, lust after immoral women, utter perverse things, or damage the body.

i. How can anyone therefore claim that they have liberty to partake of something that God says causes us to do such things?

2. It never ceases to amaze me how many believers CLAIM that the Bible does not forbid alcohol, and that it is a matter of liberty and choice.

a. The best we can say about those who make such claims is that they are ignorant of what the Scriptures actually SAY about alcohol.

b. Perhaps some are “willfully ignorant” which is far more serious.

c. I am convinced that in many cases, such claims are nothing more than a cloak for maliciousness. (Using liberty as an outward justification to hide evil intent within.) This is the most serious of all.

d. Wine is a MOCKER. I don’t know what more God could say to warn us. This chapter alone should be enough.

3. I Cor. 6:10-11 – The GOOD news is that there is victory over alcohol and alcoholism in Christ.

a. Getting saved makes a man a new creature. ALL things are become new.

b. Getting saved means that he is no longer a slave to sin.

c. His BODY may still be ravaged by alcohol abuse. His will may still FEEL like he is a slave. And the effects of years of abuse on his body do not change because he has received Christ as Savior. His liver is still diseased.

d. Rom. 6:7 – However, something HAS changed: His chains have been torn asunder. He has been FREED from bondage to his sin nature. He no longer HAS to sin…

e. I Cor. 10:13 – God has promised that in every temptation, He will provide the way of escape so that ye may be ABLE to bear it.

f. It might take him some time to learn about his freedom in Christ, and to learn how to experience victory, but the moment he is saved, he has been set free.

g. Such WERE some of you. Now (in Christ) they are positionally sanctified… cleansed.

h. The moment he believes in Christ, he becomes (positionally) an overcomer. (Every believer is an overcomer).

i. Over time, he can grow and begin to experience this victory more and more.