OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew


          “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging:  and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Prov. 22:1).  There are four elements of this verse that need to be considered by all:  The Drinks, The Dangers, The Deception, and The Deceived.

          Let’s begin by briefly examining “The Drinks.”  The drinks under consideration are referred to as “wine” (yayin) and “strong drink” (shekir).  Both of these drinks were beverages that contain alcohol.  This is very clear from the context.  Wine was less intoxicating than strong drink.  It shows that in Old Testament times intoxicating beverages came in numerous varieties.

          The same is true of alcoholic beverages today.  There are drinks that are considered to be less intoxicating:  beer, wine, and wine coolers.  Then, there is “strong drink” that involves such things as straight whiskey, rum, vodka, etc.  The amount of alcohol varies from drink to drink.  The point of the wise sage in Proverbs 20:1 is to alert individuals to the dangers of all intoxicating beverages.

          Next, the inspired penman sets forth “The Dangers” of alcoholic drinks.  The dangers are manifested in two words:  “mocker” and “raging.”  The word “mocker” means “to make mouths at.”  It involves mocking, scorning, and derision.  When all is said and done, wine sits back and laughs at those who use it.  The word “raging” means “to bring great commotion and tumult.”  It also carries the definition of “to be troubled” and “to be in an uproar.”  Strong drink stirs up one’s peaceful life.  It causes a person’s life to be tossed to and fro like a ship in the midst of a turbulent storm.

          As a person studies Bible history, he finds numerous examples wherein alcoholic beverages caused trouble for those who used them.  In Genesis 9:20-21, we read:  “And Noah began to be a husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:  and he drank of the wine, and was drunken and he was uncovered in his tent.”  His drunken state and physical appearance was not handled well by one of his sons.  Because of it, he was cursed by his father (Gen. 9:25).  As wine looked at this unfortunate circumstance, it laughed in derision.

          Another example of the dangers of intoxicating drinks is found in Genesis 19:30-38.  Lot and his daughters had fled from the destruction of Sodom and dwelled in a cave in a mountain.  The firstborn daughter was concerned about not having a child.  Thus, she and her sister developed a plan to have children by their father.  The plan involved getting Lot drunk.  While in his drunken stupor, the daughters would lie with him.   The plan worked.  Two sons were born to Lot’s daughters, Moab and Benammi.  These two sons produced the nations of Moab and Ammon, two idolatrous nations.  These nations would become a thorn in Israel’s side for years to come.  The wars, the temptations, and the struggles that Israel faced because of them prove that strong drink can rage through our lives like a hurricane rages through a small island in the midst of the sea.

          Many people in our society could attest to the serious dangers that alcohol has brought to their lives.


-      Homes have been broken by divorce

-      Wives have been abused

-      Children have been neglected and abused

-      Financial ruin

-      Damaged property

-      Crimes committed

-      Imprisonment

-      Death of innocent men, women, and children

-      Ruined health

-      Precious souls lost to a devil’s hell


Each one of the things listed above could be studied in great detail.  Statistics could be brought forth that would prove many times over that wine and strong drink have mocked millions and have stormed through the lives of countless multitudes like a tornado on a stormy night.

          Many individuals will not heed these warnings about the dangers of alcohol.  They like the taste of alcohol.  They like the initial effects of alcohol on their mind and body.  They like to associate with their friends and relatives who drink.  In their minds, they believe that none of the things we mentioned above will happen to them.  This is exactly what alcohol wants a person to believe.  The writer of Proverbs 20:1 is clear when he tells us that alcohol is “The Deceiver.”

          Jill was happily married to Craig for seven years.  They had a 4 year old daughter who was their gift from God.  Jill and Craig were Christians.  They seldom missed Bible class or worship services.  They were diligent workers within their congregation.  In fact, Craig was a deacon.

          Jill and Craig had a secret.  They both enjoyed social drinking.  From time to time, they would go to their friends’ houses and drink beer, wine, and mixed drinks.  If they went out for a nice dinner, drinks were always included on the tab.  They were convinced drinking would not harm them. 

          In time, Jill started to see some changes in Craig’s behavior.  He would come home later from work.  He would get up at night and be gone from bed for an hour or two.  On the weekends, Craig would slip off to his friends’ houses in order to have some “guy time.”  Slowly Craig became addicted to alcohol.  Jill discovered all of the avenues of his drinking problem.  She asked him to get help.  Craig refused.  Their relationship became strained and distant.  Craig eventually found himself in a relationship with a co-worker.  He divorced Jill.  He married the other woman.  He quit attending church services.  He sees his daughter every other week.  What Jill and Craig thought would never occur happened.  The storm of strong drink raged through their lives.  Devastation was left behind.  And, the liquor laughed at them both.

          Jill and Craig became part of a group of people called “The Deceived.”  The writer of Proverbs calls them “not wise.”  Another term that describes these individuals is “fools.”  The evils of alcohol are well known to them.  The containers of alcohol are well marked and labelled.  Yet, these individuals proceed to drink the dangerous liquid.  They continue to believe the lie that they can escape the storm of devastation created by intoxicants.  They, however, do not.  Their lives are ripped asunder by what they believed was harmless. 

My friend, if this is you, you are not wise.  Please give up your wine and strong drink before they make a fool out of you.  Give heed to the words of the apostle Paul found in Ephesians 5:18:  “And be not drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit.”