Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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From the teaching series, Lessons From Isaiah
“Woe to them that rise up early in the morning so that they may follow strong drink, that continue until night, until wine inflames them! And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and wine are in their feasts, but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of His hands.”
God is pleased for us on earth to have times of peace and pleasure. He created the beautiful things of nature, as well as music and laughter. We are even told that “at His right hand, there are pleasures for evermore.” He has promised that those who love Him will be taken to live on a new earth, where there will be no sorrow, pain, or death.
The man who displeases God is not the man who enjoys pleasure but the man for whom pleasure has become the goal of earthly life. When Jesus enjoined us to “consider the lilies”, he was not suggesting that we should quit our jobs and lie down in a meadow all day. It is moderation in enjoying the pleasant things of this life that sets the wise apart from the foolish. Everyone knows that it is sin to tell lies, to steal, to commit fornication, and other such unsavory things. But sin also includes an excessive indulgence in the good and pleasant things of this world.
There is no verse in the Bible that specifically condemns the consumption of wine, but those who love wine are among those who are specifically mentioned as foolish (Prov. 23:20-24), and such people are also specifically excluded from any position of authority among the saints (1Tim. 3:2-3, 8; Tit. 1:7). Paul granted Timothy permission to “use a little wine” for his frequent stomach ailments and other physical problems (1Tim. 5:23); at the same time, he commanded the saints not to make themselves drunk with wine (Eph. 5:18). Isaiah is only one of many servants of God who warned God’s people that drunkards are among those who are targeted by God for damnation in the Final Judgment. No such person, said Paul, “shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1Cor. 6:10). Saints of God, be wise. Jesus warned us that drunkenness will rob us of our hope of eternal life (Lk. 21:34).
Paul told believers in Corinth not even to keep company with drunkards (1Cor. 5:11), explaining later that keeping evil company adversely affects one’s good morals (1Cor. 15:33). This is good advice. The quickest way to become a drunkard is be a close friend to a drunkard. “He who walks with wise men shall be made wise”, wrote Solomon, “but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”
God did not provide any wine or other strong drink for His children the entire forty years that they traveled in the wilderness with Moses (Dt. 29:6). Later, He sent His prophet Habakkuk to condemn those who intentionally gave others strong drink to make them drunk (Hab. 2:15-16). These are party-throwers who invite party-goers to come get drunk. They are doing evil; their parties are cesspools of wickedness, and the Almighty hates them. God even commanded the rulers of Israel to stone to death any young man or woman who rebelled against his or her parents and became a heavy drinker (Dt. 21:20). Of particular contempt are rulers who are given to drunkenness (Eccl. 10:17). It is essential to good government that rulers of a country be sober. Drunkenness clouds the mind, and the man who becomes addicted to strong drink will re-arrange his priorities to accommodate his flesh’s craving for it. The Lord absolutely forbade His priests to drink any wine when they ministered before Him in the sanctuary (Lev. 10:9). In the case of Aaron’s two oldest sons, drunkenness seems to have been a factor that led to their great transgression as they offered incense to the Lord, and that misjudgment cost them their lives at the hand of a very angry God.