Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
A memory is not always a good thing. It may remember problems you had today or recall bad news you heard about tomorrow. It may remind you about bills that are coming due and the limited funds available to pay them. Unless there is something immediately at hand to do, these thoughts can be disturbing, disruptive, and distracting. But the Creator God ordained a drink or two that temporarily dull the memory and give cheer and peace.
Here is advice to King Lemuel from his mother (Pr 31:1-2). She warned him about the dangers of women and alcohol (Pr 31:3-7), and she gave him a detailed description of the perfect wife (31:10-31). She was a woman of great understanding; she was nothing like the silly creatures of the Temperance Movement. It is a great honor to a woman when she is known for objective truth, especially God’s truth, and not mere emotion or sentiment.
The previous proverb suggested a good use for wine and strong drink – to help those with heavy hearts, who feel overwhelmed by their circumstances (Pr 31:6). The commentary on that verse will help much with this verse, since they are closely connected. God made wine to gladden the heart, and it is godly wisdom to understand this fact and use alcohol in moderation for your cheer and peace (Judges 9:13; Ps 104:14-15; Eccl 10:19).
Consider the value of the Bible. The great God of heaven, Who must humble Himself to consider things in heaven or earth, cares about your daily thoughts and troubles. He is concerned if you have a heavy heart; He wants you to be glad, relax, and enjoy life (Ps 127:2; Eccl 9:7-10). He knows men often carry job worries and other concerns home with them, which steal the peace, pleasure, and restorative purpose of the evening and night.
Consider the value of the Bible. The Creator God gave practical advice to save men from the mental distresses of life. Contrary to social do-gooders and blind religious Pharisees, a cold beer or glass of wine before or with dinner is a great way to relax and be a better father and husband during the evening. Why allow your misery or poverty to also disturb the peace of your marriage and family? The Bible is a goldmine of practical advice.
Consider the value of the Bible. God condemns drunkenness, an excess of wine or strong drink, which perverts the memory and leads to poverty or worse (Pr 20:1; 23:21,29-35; 31:5; I Cor 6:10). Here is the holy balance between abstinence and drunkenness – it is called temperance (I Cor 9:25; Phil 4:5). He teaches men to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18). Neither wine nor strong drink is the final cure for man’s frustration and loneliness. Only God can truly satisfy the human soul (Ps 73:25-26; Is 26:3-4; Heb 13:5).
Some will argue against the Bible’s wisdom of moderation and temperance toward wine and strong drink. They will impose their own rule that any drinking of alcohol is sin. They will ignore God’s clear permission for His worship to include both wine and strong drink in annual family celebrations (Deut 14:26). They will ignore the fact that Jesus was very different from John the Baptist in that He drank wine often (Luke 7:33-35).
Wisdom is the fear of God to trust the Bible fully on every subject (Pr 8:5-8; Ps 119:128). God created a mood-altering chemical called alcohol and taught men how to obtain it from grapes (Is 28:23-29; Gen 9:20). Its moderate use is allowed and commended for the temporary relaxing and cheering effect. But wisdom also teaches that greater rest and happiness is in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost (Matt 11:28-30; Rom 15:13).