Welcome to the second installment of my proverbs 31 study. While most studies focus on only the Wife of Noble Character (Proverbs 10-20) I am choosing to focus on the entirety of the chapter. Go here to see my first post in the series.
Rather than going verse by verse on this next part, I have chosen instead to encompass the entirety of the next section. I have done this because they all tie in together and you really cannot read one without the rest, in my opinion. The next verses read:
"(4) It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Nor for princes intoxicating drink;
(5) Lest they drink and forget the law,
And pervert the justice of all the afflicted.
(6) Give strong drink to him who is perishing,
And wine to those who are bitter of heart.
(7) Let him drink and forget his poverty,
And remember his misery no more."
(Proverbs 4-7, NKJV)
This section strongly speaks against alcohol indulgence Here, the author suggests that drunkenness will take away from the wisdom of a good ruler (verse 5) and should be left to those that are not as fortunate (verses 6-7) so as to "forget his poverty" and "remember his misery no more". In other words, drunkenness and alcoholism are not for those that want to be good leaders, but for those that want to forget how terrible their lives are.
How does this apply to Solomon? Throughout the old testament drunkenness has hindered the thoughts and decision making of kings. For example, Belshazzar held a feast, got everyone drunk then started worshiping idols. His drunkenness (and gluttony, idol-worship, and sheer stupidity in some cases) led to his ultimate demise, when he was murdered in his sleep, allowing Darius to take over the kingdom. And lets not forget the trouble that Noah got himself into when he got drunk and allowed his sons to see him naked. And it led to Lot's incestual relations with his daughters. So, clearly alcohol has led to some pretty poor decisions. For Solomon, simply staying away from it and not being tempted would make him a better leader.
How does this apply to our daily lives? Clearly drunkenness leads to bad decisions. Anyone that has ever been drunk in their lives can tell you that. Those bad decisions can end up ruining some people's lives - especially if those moments end up in public media such as Facebook or Instagram. And alcoholism itself doesn't just affect the alcoholic - it effects everyone around them. Now this does not mean that alcohol itself is bad or evil. A glass of wine or beer once in a while is okay as long as you are not drinking it with the intent of getting drunk. In fact, research has proven time and again that a glass of wine (4-6oz) a night is actually healthful for your heart. But don't overdo it. And if you are one that is in a leadership position, think before you drink. Churches, kingdoms, and companies have fallen because of one's drunken antics. Be wise about it.
Our next installment will cover verses 8 and 9 - thanks for reading!