Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.
Here are two horrible sins – a man lusting after women other than his wife and saying perverse things he ordinarily would not say. Too much wine has removed his moral inhibitions, and he now commits sins he earlier knew were foolish and definitely wrong.
The context is too much wine (Pr 23:20-21,29-30,34-35). A moderate amount makes the heart glad (Pr 31:6-7; Ps 104:15; Eccl 10:19). Too much causes drunkenness, which God condemns (Ep 5:18; Rom 13:13). Drunkenness leads to folly and sins otherwise rejected.
Wine is the fermented juice of the grape. God made wine to contain 8 to 14 percent alcohol. At this level the alcohol kills the yeast in the grape mash and fermentation ends. This allows a glass or two with a meal for an adult to receive the Creator’s blessing.
Ethyl alcohol, from fermentation, depresses the central nervous system. Small amounts relax the conscious functions of the brain and create a feeling of well-being and cheer. Large amounts reduce memory, motor coordination, and unconscious bodily functions.
A moderate amount of wine, which can be learned for each person with relative ease, reduces emotional and muscular tension to improve mood and social function. But an immoderate amount creates a euphoric loss of judgment and inhibitions ruling moral conduct. Here is King Solomon’s strong warning to his son – do not let wine steal your judgment and blind your conscience toward sexual lust or ungodly speech.
Like any of God’s creations, wine properly used is a wonderful thing. But abused, it can be a horrible curse. Food properly used provides both short and long term energy and strength; but abused, it creates obesity and slothfulness. Sinful man often abuses God’s good creations, whether it is drunkenness with wine or gluttony with food (Eccl 7:29).
Too much alcohol leads to a loss of moral judgment and sin. Drunken men will look at other women lustfully, and they will say things they should not, because their conscious ability to rule these bodily passions is reduced. Such drinking is not for a Christian at all.
Bars and nightclubs are places where strangers meet for planned sexual indulgence they would not otherwise be easily able to commit. By intentionally drowning their moral inhibitions, they engage in sin they would not do under other circumstances. Drunkenness is often the way to break down a woman’s natural inhibitions to the wickedness of casual sin (Hab 2:15). These places cannot be justified for any reason whatsoever.
The sexual drive is one of the strongest bodily desires, and sexual pleasure is one of God’s greatest blessings. So God put inhibitions against such promiscuous wickedness in the consciences of men, and especially women. These are great blessings from heaven. But wine will mock a person by temporarily destroying these sexual protectors (Pr 20:1).
Wine also affects speech (Ps 78:65). A person will relax and talk more easily and freely with the moderate amount God intended. But an excess of it will result in extravagant statements, louder speech, slurred words, and perverse and filthy statements.
The tongue is a very dangerous bodily part by nature (Pr 18:21; James 3:2-12). But to give away the rule of your tongue by too much wine is horrible folly. You will say things foolish and hurtful that you can never recover. Let every reader beware of this danger.
The lesson is clear. Wise men limit wine or any other alcohol to avoid temptation in these two sinful areas. Regardless of scoffers, this is as easy as knowing how many cookies are for strength and not gluttony. As in eating in a buffet or other tempting situation, the decision to limit drinking to a certain amount is made in advance and followed strictly.
God’s saints do not allow situations that even create an opportunity for sin (Rom 13:14). Since alcohol leads to these two sins, the use of wine is clearly limited. The solution is not total abstinence from wine anymore than gluttony should be avoided by total abstinence from food. Temperance is self-discipline and moderation, not abstinence.
If the LORD limits drinking wine, which He created, to avoid looking at other women and saying filthy things, what must He think of television that brings strange women and wicked speech right into your home? What does he think of reading material that does the same thing? What does He think of athletic events where the women are mostly unclothed? Every reader should be able to answer these questions easily.
Jesus drank wine in contrast to John the Baptist (Luke 7:33-35), like Abraham, Melchisedec, and David (Gen 14:18; II Sam 6:19). But He never impaired His moral judgment at all, for He was holy and separate from sinners (Heb 1:9; 4:15; 7:26). Let everyone that calls himself a Christian despise drinking too much, for it leads to two sins that His followers should never commit (II Tim 2:19). Live worthy of your King’s name!