Day 20 Proverbs Challenge: Beware the Swirl

by Tammy Phillips

Wine is a mocker,
Strong drink is a brawler,
And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

Proverbs 20:19 (NJKV)

I was a sloppy, singing, swaying drunk. Our small theatre company had completed a whole season and we were celebrating. Rum and coke, I discovered, was quite a tasty drink. Water, milk, soda and Kool-Aid were my beverages of choice until one evening when rum was added to my Coca-Cola. Heaven showed up and took a seat in my glass.

Normally, I was a reserved young lady. Square and nerd were appropriate descriptions of me until I swallowed my R&C. Then, I sang and danced gleefully. The cast and crew were comfortable with my shy, quiet ways. They were not sure what to make of my sudden sprinting across the stage, loudly singing with Bill Wither’s record, Lovely Day.

After my initial introduction to R&C at our wrap party, I started to drink it at any party the theatre members hosted. Since I lived at home with younger sisters, there was no way I would purchase and bring liquor into the house.   But, I was more than happy to partake at anyone’s house or apartment.

Then it happened. Sick was added to sloppy, singing and swaying.   I, by the grace of God, drove home safely and staggered up the steps. My mother opened my bedroom door, ready to reprimand me. While laying down, I threw up.   She decided that the vomit I was covered with spoke loudly enough.   No more liquor for me.

It was amazing how uninhibited I became because of something I swallowed. I began to understand why people drank until they got that “click” or ingested illegal substances until they were floating in their mind above the highest cloud.

Wine is a mocker and strong drink is a brawler. Another word for mocker is scorner. While I was sloppy, one of the actors made me stand in front of a full length mirror so I could see how ridiculous I looked. I was too drunk to do anything but laugh. Alcohol also often causes the drinker to fight and abuse others. Years ago, a speaker at a workshop stated that statistically one of the most dangerous places to be is in your own living room on a Friday or Saturday where drugs and/alcohol were present after 6 p.m.

In scripture an accusation of drunkenness was not good.   The prophet Eli came upon a distraught Hannah; she was crying out to the Lord because of her barrenness. He saw her mouth moving but heard nothing, so, he assumed she was drunk; she was not (1 Samuel 1:9-15).   Disrespectful men accused Peter and others, who were speaking in tongues in Acts 2:6-11, of being drunk. Peter quickly spoke to the matter in verses 12-16.

According to Genesis 9:20–21, Noah planted a vineyard, produced wine, got drunk, then laid naked outside of his tent. After God had used him greatly, he fell into this sin. We know today that even those who are redeemed and sanctified can transgress spectacularly. Noah’s drunkenness made a mockery out of his reputation.

Proverbs 23:30-33 (NKJV) states:

Those who linger long at the wine,
Those who go in search of mixed wine.
Do not look on the wine when it is red,
When it sparkles in the cup,
When it swirls around smoothly;
At the last it bites like a serpent,
And stings like a viper.
Your eyes will see strange things,
and your heart will utter perverse things.

Ephesians 5:18 (BSB) further admonishes: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to reckless indiscretion. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” According to the MADD website, in 2017, 10,874 people died in drunk driving crashes – one every 48 minutes – and more than 300,000 were injured in drunk driving crashes. Lives would be different for each victim, each family member, every friend if the drivers had lived by Ephesians 5:18.“Whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” Wisdom is shown by the ability to not be led astray by alcohol. To “be led astray” means veering into the wrong, unintended direction. So for many people that means they do not drink at all. For others it could mean drinking occasionally — wine for special dinner, champagne at a wedding. I am with the occasional group.

The only reason rum and coke did not become my friends is become of my growth in Jesus.   How easily I could have veered in the wrong direction, hanging out with other liquor lovers and dancing across stages and dance floors. But, Jesus would not let me. I am thankful for that today.

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