On Sunday, the Beatitude discussed here was Blessed are the pure in heart. There are many things involved in keep the heart pure. Jesus does say that what leaves the lips is more dangerous than what enters but sometimes what enters the body has more effect on what comes out, especially if it causes other parts of the body to stumble. There are times in Proverbs where you wonder where the mind of the writer was at that time or if the writer was being descriptive of a personal experience. In one particular section the writer sounds like a drunken sailor sitting in a bar.
Who has misery? Who has regret? Who fights and complains all the time? Who gets bruised for no good reason? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who spend their time over wine, those always trying out mixed drinks. Don’t gaze at the red wine as it gives its color to the cup. It may glide down smoothly now; but in the end, it bites like a serpent — yes, it strikes like a poisonous snake. Your eyes will see peculiar things, your mind will utter nonsense. You will feel as if lying on the waves of the sea or sprawled on top of the mast —“They hit me, but I didn’t feel it! They beat me up, and I didn’t even know it! When will I wake up?. . . I’ll go get another drink.” Proverbs 23:29-35
Grape Juice, The Refreshing Choice
There were so many things infesting the water that it was more common to drink the juice of fruits and vegetables, more so than not, grapes. The juice from grapes was healthier and easier to access since it was an easy crop. People carried around canteens made from animal skin and these would eventually be called wineskins because grape juice would become fermented.
People would also drink olive oil but that was not as popular and definitely not as easy to access. There are great qualities about it but not really a good choice for hydration. Many other liquids were available but grapes were the best choice.
Wine, Good For You But Not in Excess
Mankind has a way of taking a good thing and making it into something that can be enjoyable and dangerous at the same time. As mentioned above, grape juice was a healthier choice for hydration but when they ferment interesting and somewhat dangerous actions can occur. The writer apparently experienced this in one form or another either personally or by observation.
Proverbs are the writings that warn of the evils of this world. This one tells of man’s attempt to remove pain and suffering through means other than the Word, and dependence on God. Dependence on a man- made thing to ease the pain leads to other issues that cause more harm than good.
What Do You Depend On
Alcohol and other forms of “recreational drugs” change a person’s overall appearance and can really mess up the functions of the body when it is the main source of removing misery and pain. The writer expresses this in an almost comedic yet serious manner and tells of how a dependent person will turn to that thing instead of God.
When your mind is clouded, your heart becomes corrupt and malfunctions through either slowing way down or works overtime to move the corruption out of the body. Filling your heart and mind with the Word, and pouring your heart out to the listening ear (spiritual or a close confidant) is much better than depending on something that becomes controlling and does more harm than good.
What Do We Do?
This one is actually very simple. It is okay to enjoy things that give temporary satisfaction but do not take in so much that it completely clouds your judgement and changes your actions. Jesus never said do not drink, He just warns us not to do it in such excess that it becomes the substitute for God. What motivates and helps you function on a day to day basis physically has ramification on your spirit. One thing remains, which one will help you be right in the next life?