A few weeks ago, there was a snake on my back deck. I am pretty sure it was not a poisonous snake, but I was told it would still have a mean bite. I stayed away. I stayed safely in my home. I even made sure my doors were locked tight!
Just a night or so ago I dreamed about having snakes inside my house and under my bed. Seeing a snake on my back deck left me a little traumatized and reminded me that I really do not like snakes.
Something happened in my early childhood that left me, what one may say, a bit traumatized. I remember watching my dad stumble across the street late one night. He was staggering and eventually fell down in the middle of the two lane highway at the edge of our small town. Just yards away from where he fell the speed limit increased to 65 mph. It was late at night so not a lot of traffic but still a busy, dangerous place to fall. Two people, I don’t know who, rushed out to pick him up and help him get home. Mostly in the darkness, I just saw shadows but what I knew as a very young girl was this fall happened because my dad had been drinking with the neighbor across the street and it stung.
I do praise the good Lord that within a few years of that incident my Dad gloriously received Christ as his Savior. His life was changed and ultimately our lives were changed forever. As a Christian my dad was steady and faithful. He was passionate about avoiding the temptation to ever touch alcohol again. He would not enter a store, gas station, or restaurant that served alcohol. He asked my Mom to shop at grocery stores that did not carry alcohol and she did. My Dad did not want to support businesses that sold “the stuff.” As I said, he was passionate.
You could say I have inherited some of the passion my Dad developed against the evils of alcohol. We grew up with a preacher who preached against it. This kind of preaching split the church in our small town. Eventually those who chose alcohol ran Pastor Owens out of town. It was a sad day for me as a 15 year old girl. The saddest day for many years. The preacher’s daughter was my very best friend.
To be sure, today, even in Christian circles, to drink or not to drink is a hot topic.
Recently, my pastor reminded our congregation about one of Aesop’s fables, The Scorpion and the Frog. The following description is from Wikipedia.
“A scorpion wants to cross a river but cannot swim, so it asks a frog to carry it across. The frog hesitates, afraid that the scorpion might sting it, but the scorpion promises not to, pointing out that it would drown if it killed the frog in the middle of the river. The frog considers this argument sensible and agrees to transport the scorpion. Midway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog anyway, dooming them both. The dying frog asks the scorpion why it stung despite knowing the consequence, to which the scorpion replies: "I am sorry, but I couldn't resist the urge. It's in my nature."
The sermon that day was not on the evils of alcohol, but immediately when Pastor Stephen said, “It’s in my nature,” my mind went to Proverbs 23:32.
“At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.”
“”Stingeth like an adder!’ What stings like a snake?!?” My mind raced. It was then that it dawned on me that it was the nature of alcoholic beverages to sting. I went home and read through the passage in Proverbs 23 carefully. I knew then that God would have me write this.
29 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?
30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.
34 Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.
35 They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.
This is just one passage in the Bible concerning the ill effects of drinking. The Bible is clear that drunkenness is both worldly and destructively sinful.
The passage above states that those who tarry long will have woe(grief), sorrow, contention(strife), babbling(complaint), wounds and redness(blurred vision) of eyes. Because drinking creates more problems and does not solve any, the cycle continues. So they seek it again and again now because of the woe, the grief, the sorrow, the contention, the babbling, the wounds and the blurred vision the alcohol has brought upon them (v 30).
The warning comes to not even look upon it (v 31). In our day and age there are no grocery stores that do not sell alcoholic beverages. But I have learned that I can avoid that aisle in the grocery store.
And what is this sting of alcohol?
For one, drinking can lead and certainly has led many to immorality (v33).
On Father’s Day I heard a sermon preached by Bro. John Wilkerson. The sermon was titled Finishing Your Course with Joy and one of the sub points talked about sustaining our purity. Bro. Wilkerson reminded us that if we play with sin, sin will eventually play with us. And then he made this statement,
“Immorality not only has the judgment of God, it is the judgment of God. It not only complicates your life, it is judgment itself.”
This is so true and so Biblical.
Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Proverbs 6:27
“So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels.” Psalm 81:12
God’s judgment is letting us go our own way and create our own problems. And create them we do when we choose our own way!
Our small town was full of drinking and immorality. There is no doubt these two go hand in hand. I remember thinking as a teen, “I don’t want to live that way.” In other words, I did not want immorality to complicate my life and keep me from finishing my course with joy.
There are some if not many of you who will say, “It has not affected me! I can handle it.”
To be honest alcoholism affects us all. As God’s Word teaches, it is the nature of the alcohol to sting. We all have that loved one who is or has been caught in its ugly grip. Our hearts are broken over the brokenness alcoholism has brought into their lives. We know the friend of a friend sitting in jail because of their actions while under its intoxicating influence. And then those who have lost a family member – a husband, wife, child, sibling, mother or father – in a drunk-driving accident. Statistics state we lose about one person about every 45 minutes to drunk-driving crashes. The deadly sting of death.
And then there are those pesky stings that simply wreak havoc and divide relationships. You’re the boss and someone does not show up for work because they are sleeping off a hangover. Now you are scrambling and no doubt you have been stung! You had hoped to spend time with family, but they were too drunk to acknowledge your presence. Ouch! That stings!
God’s Word stands true. “At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.”
I really do not want to experience the sting of a snake bite so I avoid snakes. In fact, I lock my doors if I spy a snake on my deck!
In His loving kindness and everlasting mercy, God warns us about the nature of alcohol to bite and to sting so we will stay far, far away and stay safe.