Today, we will look at a new theme. The fact that alcohol can have so much control over those who drink it is a fact that some ignore or are unaware of. Many think it is “funny” that alcohol controls the way it does. The first verse in Chapter 20 states that “wine is a mocker…” We fool ourselves and make a fool out of ourselves when we abuse alcohol. This can get us in a lot of trouble when we are not wise concerning drinking alcohol. We will cover some themes that we have already touched on, such as righteousness, respect, working hard, laziness, integrity and those who cause trouble. So, let’s look at Proverbs 20 now!
A New Theme Introduced- Do Not Be Fooled By Alcohol’s Ability To Control
Verse 1 “Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler;
whoever is led astray by them is not wise.”
This verse means that if you drink too much wine or liquor, it will make a fool out of you! Drunkenness is a problem! We must be wise! Many believers have different views on whether it is acceptable to drink alcohol. The New Testament states in Ephesians, “do not be drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled by the Holy Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18-21). In other words, do not let alcohol control you, but be controlled by the Holy Spirit. Don’t let alcohol dictate what you do and make a fool out of yourself!
Someone who is drunk gets louder, more obnoxious, sillier or meaner. Different types of alcohol affect people in multiple ways. If alcohol affects you the wrong way and you can’t control yourself when you drink it, DON’T DRINK IT! I have alcoholism in my family. To feel like I “have” to have some, becomes a real problem and is a bad sign. If a person is “led astray” like verse 1 states, they are deceived to think that alcohol will not affect them! If you hang around people who encourage drunkenness, you will likely be led astray also!
The Righteous and Faithful
Righteousness, faithfulness, a pure heart before God is what He desires! This is what pleases Him most! We are righteous when we follow the wisdom He gives us. Verse 7 states that “the righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them.” God considers us blameless and He will bless our children also.
Verse 6 “Many claim to have unfailing love,
but a faithful person who can find?”
Verse 7 “The righteous lead blameless lives;
blessed are their children after them.”
Verse 9 “Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure;
I am clean and without sin”?
The Purposes Of The Heart
Our heart is physical and spiritual in Scripture. David wrote often about the heart. Our intentions, thoughts, and plans are deep in our heart. The prophet Jeremiah even says in chapter 17, verse 9, that our heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?” We have no idea on our own, what is really deep down in our heart until we examine our hearts and ask God to show us where we are wrong. (Psalm 139:23-24). Verse 5 states that “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.”
“Plans are established by seeking advice”… we need to seek and get advice before we do something, even something really big like war (Verse 18) “A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way?” (Verse 24) I love how verse 27 states that the human spirit is the lamp of the Lord that sheds light on one’s inmost being.” A lamp sheds light. We can see in the dark, when we have light. This lamp (our human spirit) shows what is deepest inside us. The lamp exposes us.
Verse 5 “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters,
but one who has insight draws them out.”
Verse 9 “Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure;
I am clean and without sin.”
Verse 18 “Plans are established by seeking advice;
so if you wage war, obtain guidance.”
Verse 24 “A person’s steps are directed by the Lord.
How then can anyone understand their own way?”
Verse 27 “The human spirit is the lamp of the Lord
that sheds light on one’s inmost being.”
To Honor And Respect
We need to be respectful especially of our parents. if we harass them or are cruel, will have real rough consequences. Gray hair is an honor when we get older and hopefully wiser. Verse 21 reminds me of the Prodigal Son, who wanted his inheritance earlier in life than he should. Selfishness is what this says to me. “I want it NOW!” and “I’m entitled to what I want when I want it!”
Verse 29 “The glory of young men is their strength,
gray hair the splendor of the old.”
Verse 20 ” If someone curses their father or mother,
their lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness.”
Verse 21 “An inheritance claimed too soon
will not be blessed at the end.”
The Troublemakers (They Rage, Cause Strife, Quarrel and Gossip)
We need to avoid rage, strife, gossip and revenge. These 4 things ruin our relationships with other people.
Verse 2 “A king’s wrath strikes terror like the roar of a lion;
those who anger him forfeit their lives.”
Verse 3 “It is to one’s honor to avoid strife,
but every fool is quick to quarrel.”
Verse 19 “A gossip betrays a confidence;
so avoid anyone who talks too much.”
Verse 22 “Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!”
Wait for the Lord, and he will avenge you”.
If we don’t work, we don’t deserve to eat! Simple!
Verse 4 “Sluggards do not plow in season;
so at harvest time they look but find nothing.”
Verse 13 “Do not love sleep or you will grow poor;
stay awake and you will have food to spare.”
A child is known by what they do! People can see even what type of character they have! A child who behaves and listens is appreciated and respected more than a child who is not disciplined.
Verse 11 “Even small children are known by their actions,
so is their conduct really pure and upright?”
Verse 12 “Ears that hear and eyes that see—
the Lord has made them both.”
Integrity In Business
Honesty and integrity are both so important. The Lord will not bless when we are unethical in our business dealings. We’ve seen this theme in other places in Proverbs already. God takes honesty and integrity very seriously; enough to come back and reinforce the theme multiple times.
Verse 10 “Differing weights and differing measures—
the Lord detests them both.”
Verse 14 “It’s no good, it’s no good!” says the buyer—
then goes off and boasts about the purchase.
Verse 17 “Food gained by fraud tastes sweet,
but one ends up with a mouth full of gravel.”
Verse 23 “The Lord detests differing weights,
and dishonest scales do not please him.”
Verse 25 “It is a trap to dedicate something rashly
and only later to consider one’s vows.”