Tag: Characters

Choice of Matthias (Acts 1:15-26) (Part 2)

1.3 Casting of Lots

It was a method allowed in the Old Testament for making decisions under God’s guidance (Leviticus 16:8; Numbers 26:55; 1Samuel 14:41; Proverbs 16:33). The “casting lots” (Acts 1:26) which may have been identical with “Urim and Thummim,” by this method officers were chosen for:

  • The Temple (1Chronicles 24-25).
  • The truth was brought to light (1Samuel 14:41).
  • Offenders were brought to justice (Joshua 7:16).
  • Arguments settled (Proverbs 18:18).
  • The Land of Canaan divided among the Tribes (Numbers 26:55).

In this way the Israelites were able to believe that the resulting decision was from the LORD. This was because of their belief in God’s Sovereignty and His Will (Proverbs 16:1-4). Casting of Lot is recognised by the Law – Leviticus 16:8 (KJV) “And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats: one for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.” Two explanations by the Expositors:

1. Grotius – According to Grotius, this was taken by means of two urns. In one they placed two rolls of paper, with the names Joseph and Matthias written within them, and in the other two rolls, one with the word “Apostle” and the other blank; and one roll was drawn from each urn simultaneously. This suggestion by Grotius is less acceptable by most Expositors.

2. Clark (Com.) thinks that the selection was by ballot, the Lord directing the mind of the majority to vote for Matthias. In the case of selection by lots there was no chance; for “the lot is cast into the lap (properly urn); but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD” (Proverbs 16:33 – KJV). The method of casting lots as expounded by Clark (Com.) is “better-in-line” with the biblical Expositors.

  • Proverbs 16:33 (Amp. Bible) “The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is wholly of the Lord – even the events (that seem accidental) are really ordered by Him.”
  • Proverbs 16:33 (NIV) “The Lot is cast into the lap, but its decision is from the Lord.”

Proverbs 16 begins with the theme of God’s Sovereignty (Proverbs 16:1-4) and ends with His control even in the casting of lot (Proverbs 16:33). Proverbs chapter 16 robustly affirmed that God is in control, even over what may appear to be mere chance events, like casting lots. The Name picked was qualified in the eyes of the Leaders and the Congregation. Therefore, any one of the nominations could serve as an Apostle. However, by casting lots, there was great trust that God would use the casting lots to see that His choice was picked. The casting of lot was the last act of the Old Testament (Acts 1:15-26) before the Coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church (Acts 2:1-4). This method was never again in use once the Holy Spirit is given to the Church.

1.4 Close of the Old Dispensation

The casting of lots was the last act of the Old Testament Era – The Last Dispensational Act was an act consistent with the close of the Old Dispensation. The New Dispensation (Church Age) begins in Acts 2, the Coming of the Holy Spirit, and the birth of the Church:

  • Proverbs 16:33 “The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.”
  • Acts 1:26 “And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”

1.5 The Choice of Matthias

Eleven speaks of incompleteness, disorganisation; disintegration; lawlessness (Genesis 32:22; Genesis 35:16, 18; Genesis 37:9; Matthew 20:6; Ex.26:7; Deuteronomy 1:2; Daniel 7:24). This could not be the state of the Divine Government on the eve of the birth of the Church:

  1. Divine Government – Matthias was numbered with the eleven Apostles (Acts 1:26) to bring forth Divine Government and Apostolic Fullness before the birth of the Church. Number 12 = Divine Government and Apostolic Fullness (Revelation 12:1, 12, 21; Revelation 22:2). Note the 12 in the Holy City of God (Revelation chapters 21 to 22). It was fitting that the Foundational Apostolate should be complete before the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church and its first preaching:
  2. Matthias – The choice of the Successor in place of Judas Iscariot was foretold in the Old Testament “For it is written in the book of Psalms,…and his bishopric let another take” (Acts 1:20; Psalm 109:8). What is clear about the choice of the Successor to Judas is that it was the Holy Spirit who prompted David to prophesy that the Successor to the Betrayer (Judas Iscariot) must be found who had all the qualifications necessary for the Office of Apostle, were fulfilled. God’s Word acknowledges Matthias’ appointment as a replacement for Judas Iscariot and one of the Twelve:
    • Acts 1:26 (KJV)”He was numbered with the eleven apostles.”   
    • Acts 2:14 (KJV)”But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice.” 
    • Acts 6:2a (KJV) “Then the twelve (Apostles) called the multitude of the disciples unto them” (Acts 6:2a, KJV).

      The validity of the appointment of Matthias never seems to have been questioned by the Apostles or the Church. Matthias will be one of the Twelve judging the 12 Tribes of Israel and that his Name will be inscribed on the Foundation of the New Jerusalem – Revelation 21:14 (KJV) “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”  
       
  3. Paul’s Affirmation – Paul recognised the Twelve in the position which they occupied – 1Corinthians 15:5, 7 “And that He (Jesus) was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve (apostles)…..After that, He (Jesus) was seen of James; then, of all the apostles.” Paul himself saw the Twelve in a different category when he compared himself to them – 1Corinthians 15:9 (NIV) “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”
  4. Matthias was chosen through Prayer and the Old Testament practice of casting lots – “And they prayed, and said, thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show which of these two thou hast chosen. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1:24, 26, KJV; Proverbs 16:33, KJV). 
    • God alone knows the human heart
    • God alone had the right to choose
  5. Matthias fulfilled the qualifications of an Apostle – He was in the company of the Apostles during Christ ministry (Acts 1:21). He also witnessed the Resurrection of Christ (Acts 1:22). 
  6. The choosing of Matthias was by the Lord Jesus – “Thou hast chosen” (Acts 1:24b). Judas Iscariot gone to his own place, but Matthias found his place (Acts 1:25, 26). 
  7. Matthias was included in the twelve of whom Luke speaks – Acts 6:2 “Then the twelve (apostles) called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, it is not fitting that we should leave the Word of God and serve tables.” The Leader is to be appointed by the fellow Leaders with the Congregation through the Christ’s Guidance. Although the Holy Spirit had not yet come when Matthias was chosen, He was already present to guide the Disciples in their actions regarding this (John 20:21, 22). The Scripture itself does not indicate any error in this decision. In fact, three New Testament Writers appear to confirm their action:  
  8. Luke refers to the Apostles as being Twelve in number (Acts 1:26; Acts 2:14; Acts 6:2). He recorded the events concerning Matthias after Paul was saved and had become an Apostle (abt. A.D.36), whereas “Acts of the Apostles” was written in A.D.60. It seems obvious, then, that Luke did not question Matthias’ place among the Twelve (Acts 1:26; Acts 2:14; Acts 6:2) despite the addition of Paul to the Apostolic group. Matthias was recognised as one of the “Twelve:”
    • Before Pentecost – Acts 2:26 (KJV) “And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”
    • At Pentecost – Acts 2:14a (KJV) “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them.”
    • After Pentecost – Acts 6:2a (KJV) “Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them.”
    • Recognised by Paul – 1Corinthians 15:5,7 “And that He (Jesus) was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve (apostles)…..After that, He (Jesus) was seen of James; then, of all the apostles.

      The principle of “threefold witnesses” is established – 2Corinthians 13:1b (KJV) “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.
  9. Apostle John who was involved in the choosing of Matthias, refers to the Twelve in the Book of Revelation with no explanation, apparently continuing to accept Matthias as one of the Twelve Apostles (Revelation 21:14). 
  10. Paul – Although Paul regularly defended his Apostleship, he obviously did not think of himself as one of the Twelve. He speaks of the Lord Jesus appearing to the Twelve and then to him “as one born out of due time” (1Corinthians 15:5, 8). The idea that Paul was Divinely intended to be the Twelve, and that the Apostle Peter and the others Apostles have wrongly anticipated God’s plan, betrays a misunderstanding of the unique character of Paul’s Apostleship (Acts 9:15). 

Choice of Matthias (Acts 1:15-26) (Part 1)

1.0 Statement

Most Christian and Bible Scholars feel that Peter and the Apostles were not acting in the will of the Lord Jesus in choosing Matthias to replace Judas Iscariot because they hold the position that Paul was the replacement instead of Matthias, basically, for three reasons:

  1. Prominent – Paul has “a huge place” in the New Testament, being the Writer of 14 Books of the New Testament (if it includes the Book of Hebrews). The biography of his life and ministry is recorded in the Book of Acts. He is sometimes considered to be the greatest of the Apostles. In fact, on this basis, some have felt that Paul was God’s choice to replace Judas Iscariot among the Twelve. Furthermore, Matthias was not heard of again in the Scripture.
  2. Jesus’ Choice –Jesus Himself personally chose Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-16). 
  3. Casting Lots – Casting lots was not an appropriate way to choose a replacement of an Apostle in place of Judas Iscariot.

1.1 Divine Government

Since the fall of Judas Iscariot, it leaves the Apostles as eleven in number – number eleven speaks of incompleteness, disorganisation; disintegration; lawlessness (Genesis 32:22; Genesis 35:16, 18; Genesis 37:9; Matthew 20:6; Ex.26:7; Deuteronomy 1:2; Daniel 7:24) – this could not be the state of the Divine Government of God on the eve of the birth of the Church (Acts 2) – Peter and the Apostles have to choose another Apostle to replace Judas Iscariot, who fell, to bring it to twelve (Number 12 speaks of Divine Government) – since they did not yet have the New Testament to guide them, they followed an acceptable Old Testament practice of “casting lot” (Acts 1:23-26; Leviticus 16:8; Numbers 26:55; 1Samuel 14:41; Proverbs 16:33) and prayed that God would guide them in the choice of another Apostle.

The Writer (R/S) is of the opinion that Peter and the Apostles acted correctly under the Divine Guidance of the Lord Jesus Christ and appointed Matthias to take the place of Judas Iscariot – Acts 1:24-26 (NKJV) “And they prayed and said, You o Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell…..And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” Matthias (má-thí-ás) means “Gift of Jehovah.” Of the family of Matthias, no account is given, and of his life we have no account, excepting the record in Acts 1:15-26, viz., him being chosen as an Apostle in replacement of Judas Iscariot.

1.2 The Selection Process

The one hundred and twenty Disciples were assembled in the upper room at Jerusalem, waiting for the advent of the Holy Spirit. There was a Presbytery (Apostolic) of Jerusalem who met with the Congregation for the selection of the Successor to Judas Iscariot. The meeting was under the supervision of Peter. The Successor must be an associate. He must be in fellowship with other leaders and a Believer over a prolong period of time. Peter “laid down” the essential qualifications for the Apostolic Office:

  1. He must have been a companion of Jesus – “Wherefore, of these men who have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us” (Acts 1: 21, KJV). From His (Christ’s) baptism by John the Baptist till His (Christ’s) Ascension (Acts 1:22, KJV). Matthias was a Disciple of John the Baptist with Andrew and Simon the sons of Jonas, and John the son of Zebedee. “The next day John seeth Jesus coming to him, and saith to them (including Matthias), behold the Lamb of God.” Matthias heard him speak, and he followed Jesus, along with John and Andrew, as Peter tabled Matthias’s name on the day of election. Matthias was left out in the initial selection of the 12 Disciples (later became Apostles) by the Lord Jesus. However, Matthias did not let his heart sour. He accepted being set aside as his proper place. He continued to follow the Lord Jesus for three and a half years – “Wherefore, of these men who have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us” (Acts 1:21, KJV). Not only Matthias keep true to his Master through all these times of waiting and disappointments, but he continued to behave himself and to lay out his life just as if he had been elected. Thus, Peter was able to certify to the character and faithfulness of Matthias to the one hundred and twenty at the Presbytery meeting at Jerusalem in Acts 1:21-26. Delay and disappointments tested Matthias’ character and are extended opportunities to enable him to be somewhat ready when the time arrived (Acts 1:23).
  2. Matthias must have been a witness of  Jesus’  Resurrection  –  “Must  one  be  ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection” (Acts 1:22). Two such men were chosen, but the ultimate decision was referred to God Himself by the sacred “casting of lots,” accompanied by prayer. The two were:
    • Joseph, called Barsabas, and surnamed the Justus.
    • Matthias, upon whom the lot fell.

A momentous decision was about to be made. Immediately the Disciples set themselves to praying – Acts 1:24 (KJV) “And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen.” The Lord Jesus to whom the prayer was addressed because He had chosen the original Twelve Apostles was now asked to choose another in replacement of Judas Iscariot. Two levels of involvement in the selection process:

  • Leadership’s Responsibility – We must remember that before the lots were cast, they selected two men whom they judged most worthy to fill Apostolic position left vacant by the fall of Judas Iscariot – Acts 1:23 (KJV) “And they appointed two. Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus and Matthias.”  
  • Divine Sovereignty – Having passed this difficult screening test, they were now prepared to receive God’s Will. Casting lots to discern God’s Will was a sacred institution in Ancient Israel. The Disciples believed in God’s providence and remembered: “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD” (Proverbs 16:33, KJV). The lot fell on Matthias, and he was chosen and appointed (numbered – Acts 1:26) among the Apostles. No further records in the New Testament after the election and appointment into the Apostolic Office.

To be Continued….. Stay Tuned…..

Joshua’ Life & Exploits (Part 1)

The Statement

The Book of Joshua is not a biography of Joshua in the strictest sense, but it certainly reveals to us a great deal about this Godly man, Joshua.  Like the rest of the OT, this Book was written both to warn us (I Corinthians 10:11) and to encourage us (Romans 15:4).  Therefore, we ought to take time to review Joshua’s life and ministry and learn from him lessons that will help us know the Lord God and serve Him more effectively.

Joshua represents and encourages every Second-Generation Leader. He did not establish the Nation of Israel, Moses did. But Joshua succeeded Moses respectfully and naturally on Moses’ death (Joshua 1:1-2; Numbers 27:15-23; Deuteronomy 34:9).  He finished the work Moses could not complete and led the people of Israel to victory in the Promised Land.  Joshua challenges us to lay hold of God’s Promises and walk in His victory despite adversities.  We will learn several valuable lessons from this Leader, Joshua.

During Moses’ day, God patiently waited for the New Generation to mature so He (God) could lead them into the Promised Land. By the time Joshua takes over, God speaks in a straightforward manner to Israel’s Commanding Officer, Joshua.  God had grown weary of His people’s disobedience, hesitance, and complaints.  God challenges Joshua not to swerve to the right or to the left, but to do all that He commanded. Joshua must not compromise but fulfil everything (Joshua 1:1-9). Clearly, we see God leads in the new and appropriate style for the times.  His people were entering the season in which they needed to act as a military unit, so both God and Joshua provide direction in a military style. Lessons in Leadership:

  • Difficult times demand a different style of Leadership
  • Good Leaders help their people remember past blessings and Divine Victories
  • Leaders must be willing to take risks and pay the price, courage elicits commitment
  • Compromise on your methods, but never on your Convictions or Principles
  • Good Leaders do whatever it takes to get the job done.

Joshua’s Preparation

From Exodus 3 to Deuteronomy 34, the Bible focuses attention on the life and ministry of Moses, God’s chosen Servant to lead the Nation of Israel. But Moses died; and though he (Moses) is not forgotten (Moses is named 57 times in the Book of Joshua and his official title “Servant of the LORD” is mentioned 13 times), Joshua took over the place of Moses – Joshua 1:1-2 (KJV) “Now after the death of Moses, the Servant of the LORD, it came to pass that the LORD spoke unto Joshua, the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, Moses My Servant, is dead; now therefore arise, go over the Jordan, thou and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the Children of Israel.” –  Joshua is called the “Servant of the LORD” (Joshua 24:29; Judges 2:8). God buries His Servant (Moses), but His work goes on. We should note that this change in Leadership carries with it a tremendous spiritual lesson for Believers who want to experience God’s best in their lives. God’s Word exhorts us to honor the elderly in our midst: “Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere God, I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:32, NIV). 

Point 1 – Joshua’s Preparation

We will never be able to lead others into victory if we do not walk in it ourselves. Every area of victory that results from trials we have personally endured can be applied to the lives of others. There is no “hard place” that the Believer walks through (if yielded to God) that will be in vain. God always places “new deposits” in us through struggles that brings God’s life and encouragement to others. When God wants to accomplish something, He prepares His Servant for the task and prepares the task for His Servant. God spent many years preparing Joshua for his ministry. He was born into slavery in Egypt and was given the name Hoshea (Numbers 13:8), which means “Salvation.” Moses later changed it to Joshua (Numbers 13:16). Joshua means “Jehovah is Salvation,” which is the Hebrew form of “Jesus” (Matthew 1:21; Acts 7:45; Hebrews 4:8). When his (Joshua’s) Parents gave him the name “Hoshea (Salvation)” they were bearing witness to their faith in God’s Promise of Redemption (Genesis 15:12-16; 50:24-26). Joshua belonged to the Tribe of Ephraim and was the firstborn son of Nun (1Chronicles 7:20-27). This meant that his life was in danger the night of Passover, but he had faith in the LORD and was protected by the blood of the lamb (Exodus 11-12). While in Egypt, Joshua saw the Signs and Wonders that God performed (Exodus 7-12) and he knew that Jehovah (The LORD) is God of Power who would care for His People. The LORD has defeated the gods of Egypt and demonstrated that He alone is the God of Israel (Exodus 12:12; Numbers 33:4) – Joshua saw the LORD opened the Red Sea to lead the Children of Israel crossed, on dry land, and then close the waters and drowned the pursuing Egyptians Army (Exodus 14-15). Joshua is a man of faith who knew the LORD and trusted Him to do Wonders for His People.  The LORD prepares Joshua in three periods:

  • Forty Years in Egypt.
  • Forty Years in the Wilderness wandering with Moses and the First Generation of the Children of Israel (Numbers 14:29, 30b, 32 -35).
  • Twenty-five Years in subduing the Seven Nations in the Promised Land – the Canaanites, the Amorite, the Hittites, the Perizzite, the Hivite, the Jebusite (Exodus 33:2) and the Gibeonites (Joshua 9). Joshua died at the age of 110 years old (Joshua 24:29).

Stay Tuned….. To be continued

Four Types of People (Proverbs 18:1-4) (Part 2)

The Wicked People

Proverbs 18:3 “When the Wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt and, with ignominy (humiliation), reproach (criticism).” (NIV) “When Wickedness comes, so does contempt, and with shame comes disgrace.” – Wicked Person keeps miserable company of: “Contempt {shame}, ignominy {humiliation}, and reproach {scandal}.

The two lines of Proverbs are arranged synthetically, the three term (contempt {shame}, ignominy {humiliation}, reproach {scandal}) telescoping out in a description of the ever-increasing ignominy {humiliation} that befalls the “Wicked-Person.

  • Wickedness brings “contempt” (shame).
  • Wickedness leads to “ignominy” (humiliation).
  • Wickedness leads to “reproach” (scandal).

When the Wicked Person comes, all these evils (contempt {shame}, ignominy {humiliation}, reproach {scandal}) followed him (Perowne). Wickedness is both a contemptible (disgraceful) and a contemptuous (scornful) thing (Thomas). Wickedness brings with it “contempt” {shame}, “ignominy” {humiliation} and “reproach” {scandal}.

Pride and Selfishness are the characteristic of the Wicked, as the Wicked Person comes, he is apt to cast contempt (shame), ignominy (humiliation) and reproach (scandal) on every man’s face (Bishop Hall). His neighbour’s circumstances or illnesses provides him with an opportunity to ridicule (mock) his (Wicked) neighbour; and God’s Word finds no favour in his (Wicked Person’s) sight. God’s people are the object of his (Wicked) contempt.

When the Wicked Person comes, he is accompanied by “contempt” (buz). The attitude of contempt characterizes the Wicked Person, we may say that “contempt” is with him wherever he goes. “Ignominy” (qalon – humiliation) parallels “wicked,” indicating that the Wicked Person is the Person without grace, thus, bringing humiliation to himself. He is accompanied by “reproach” (herep – scandal), the lack of honour that he directs toward those who are around him.

The Wise Man

Proverbs 18:4 (KJV) “The words of a man’s mouth are like deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom like a flowing brook.” (NIV) “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.” –  The description of the Wise-man of Proverbs 18:4 expresses the depth, the abundance, the clearness, and the force of the thoughts of the Wise-man, which is “the spring of life,” honest and revealing truth:

  • The “wellspring of wisdom” is parallel to the “deep waters.” – that is, there is “depth” in the Wise-Person thoughts and attitude, and the things he does
  • The Wise Person is full of useful things and is always able to contribute profitably on many matters. His deep insight (“deep waters”) is drawn from “the Fountain of Living Water” – John 7:38-39 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of Living Waters……of the Holy Spirit”
  • The Wise-Person’s Word flows like a spring brook, clear, clean, and cleansing that edify, exhort, and comfort, and encourage and refresh the Hearers.  
  • When the Person has immersed himself in God’s Wisdom, his words in themselves deep waters, and as he speaks, he become a fruitful as “a bubbling brook.”   This is a picturesque description of the value of wisdom.

The parallelism requires that the “words of a man’s mouth” be wise words. These are “deep-waters” (Proverbs 20:5), profound and providing an inexhaustible supply of counsel and blessing. Verse 4b explains verse 4a, the “Well-spring” (or “Fountain”) of Wisdom “being an emblematic (symbolic) portrayed of wise speech. This is “a bubbling brook,” a limitless source of God’s Wisdom. 

Four Types of People (Proverbs 18:1-4) (Part 1)

The Statement

Proverbs Chapter 18 has no single theme, but underlying it is the whole subject of the Character and Conduct of the Wise. No Person can get far in life before coming up against the issues touched on in Proverbs Chapter 18: Companionship, Depravity, Words, Fairness, Security. There are some profound observations on these points:

The Conceited Person –

Proverbs 18:1 (KJV) “Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.” (NIV) “An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defiles all sound judgement.” The Phrase: “one who separates himself?” (KJV) refers to dividing people. Thus, Proverbs 18:1 has been taken both in a negative sense and in a positive sense (Matthew Henry) – The negative sense, however, fits the text of Proverbs 18:1, better (Matthew Henry).

  • Conceited – Proverbs 18:1, taken in the right context, speaks of the Person who is conceited and a lone-Ranger, the anti-social Individualist, who will not listen to others. The Conceited Person finds his identity in his non-conformity and obstinately sets himself apart, independently, from those around him. In simple term, the Conceited Person is a Selfish-Person, all this thoughts and actions lead to himself. He measures everything by his thoughts and his wishes, his comfort, his perspective.
  • Quarrelsome – The word “intermeddleth” (KJV, “Gala” {Proverbs 17:14}) is better translated “quarrel.” Conceited Person “quarrels” against all sound wisdom. The word “intermeddleth” comes from a root meaning: “To show one’s teeth” or “to break forth in hostilities.” – This root “quarrel {intermeddleth}” is found three times in the Book of Proverbs (Proverbs 17:14 {starting quarrel, NIV}; Proverbs 18:1 {intermeddleth = quarrel, KJV}; Proverbs 20:3 {quick to quarrel, NIV}). Fierce independence snarls and growls at all attempts from others to counsel or guide him. In the end, the doggedly self-willed Conceited Person may get “his desire,” but lose “sound wisdom.” Conceited Person forfeited God’s treasure of Wisdom.  
  • Sound-Wisdom – Conceited Person lacks sound wisdom. The term “sound-wisdom” has the idea of “sound-judgement” and that which flows from it, that is, abiding success in the practical affairs of life – Proverbs 2:7a “He (God) stores up sound wisdom for the upright.”
  • Isolationist – The Conceited Person is “a quarrelsome Isolationist.” (Perowne) opts for the RV rendering where “desire” is taken to mean “his own self-indulgent” desire.
  • Versions we consulted have followed this lead. The Conceited Person is “a boorish {rude} irresponsibility” (Perowne).

Versions give “rages against quarrels with, or shows contempt,” and say it is about “the evil of isolation,” showing forth “a self-conceited, hair-brained Person seeking to satisfy his fancy” (Schultens). The Conceited Person who separates himself from conventional wisdom, following his own self desires, puts himself in the position of warring against sound wisdom. Proverbs 18:1 warns against headstrong, self-centred decision (“Zockler, pg.166). As Proverbs 15:22 says, “a multitude of Counsellors” help to establish the Individual’s Plan.

The Foolish Person

Proverbs 18:2 (KJV) “A Fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.” (NIV) “A Fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinion.” This antithetical (adversative) Proverbs (Proverbs 18:2), The Fool is not intellectual deficient but attitudinal deficient. Thus, a Fool lays bare the unteachable, and arrogant Person (Fool).

  • The first line Proverbs 18:2a, makes its point by stating the opposite – “A Fool hath no delight in understanding” (Proverbs 18:2a) – that is, he despises understanding – that is, the Fool has no interest in listening or learning.
  • The second line, Proverbs 18:2b reveals, the Fool only interest is to expose what is on his mind – “But delights in airing his own opinion.” (NIV). The root of the verb “revealing” (discover) mean to uncover, to reveal, to be away or to go away. The form shown here is found only one other time in the O.T. in Genesis 9:21, where Noah got drunk and uncovered himself, sleeping naked in his tent.

Thus, it would not be a stretch to understand that the Fool of Proverbs 18:2, is descriptive of the Person (Fool) who has the tendency of an exhibitionist = show-off – the Fool, to his own shame, of his thoughts, opinions, musings, and vaunted (overhyped) insights. As a Fool, he lives in a delusional world of his own making.

The Book of Proverbs has often underscored the inability of the Fool to constrain his speech, and thus, his tendency to make public display of his Folly:

  • Proverbs 12:23b “The heart of the Fools proclaim s foolishness.”
  • Proverbs 13:16b “But a Fool lays open his folly.”
  • Proverbs 15:2b “But the mouth of the Fools pours forth foolishness.”   

Proverbs teaches that “He who restrains his words has knowledge…Even a Fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is counted prudent” (Proverbs 17:27a, 28). However, the Foolish Person has “a close mind but open mouth” in which he puts both feet, thus discovering, exposing his heart, pouring out his ignorance.

  • The disposition of the Fool is entirely opposite to that of the Wise-Person, for he has no pleasure in understanding – Proverbs 18:2a “A Fool hath no delight in understanding.”
  • The Foolish Person does not “delight” (hapes) in those matter that will give him greater understanding of life. The word “hapes” describes a deep emotional involvement, as his whole desire is to pour out his own frivolity {triviality}.

The Fool’s antipathy {opposition} toward understanding, then, comes from his emotional preoccupation with less important matters (trivialities). Fool has no concern for wisdom. In particular, he concerns himself “that his heart may discover itself.” = He wants to reveal his own opinions. His own thoughts are all more important to him that others’ views. – Proverbs 18:13 (KJV) “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” (NIV) “He who answers before listening – that is folly and his shame.”  

Stay Tuned….. To be continued

When A Person Slips and Falls (Job 12:5)

The Scripture

Job 12: 5 “He that is ready to slip with his feet is like a lamp (torch) despised in the thought of him that is at ease.”

How often have the Christians put on their “gossip list” instead of on their prayers list of the Person who has slipped and fallen! How easy for those who are at ease to mouth their glib commonplaces in their still secure and comfortable world! In sheer exasperation Job bewails the whole situation, because of his (Job’s) troubles, a man of godly character (Job 1:1, 8b, 20-22; Job 2:3, 10) is treated like a simpleton or criminal on the basis of a theory that is contradicted by another (equally distressing) fact, namely, that robbers are prospering while he (Job) is reduced to such mockery (Study the Book of Job for this understanding).

Until we suffer, we can never share the pain of the Person who suffers, nor understand the attitude of the scorn with which healthy and comfortable people treat the Sufferer. Job, once the most respected and renowned man of his day (Job 1:3), lamented: “I have become a laughingstock to my friends” (Job 12:4). Job, the Person who is handicapped by lost and adversity, – Job who suffered loss of properties, children and experiencing the physical bodily ailments and mental anguish (Job 1:14-19; Job 2:7-8, 11a, 12a, 13b) is doubly afflicted by this attitude of “a (disaster) is despised in the thought of one who is at ease” (Job 12:5b). People around him (Job) avoided him, talk down to him, and assume his handicap cripples the total Personality (Study the Book of Job, for details).

Torch Discarded – Job laments “He that is ready to slip with his feet” and says: “is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease.” The word “lamp” is really “torch.” In the Middle-Eastern Culture, when the Traveller reached his destination after journeying through the darkness of the night, he threw aside the torch that had guided his steps. Job likens himself to the torch. He (Job) had aided his friends and relatives when he was in a position to help, but now that he has lost everything they throw him aside. They make him the subject of mockery – Job 12:4-5 “I am one mocked by his friends,….the just and blameless who is ridiculed. A lamp is despised in the thought of one who is at ease; it is made ready for those whose feet slips.” People are still doing this, how many times we have known of those who were well-to-do, as far as this world’s goods are concerned, but some calamities intervened, and they lost their means. Some who had appeared to be their friends, suddenly had nothing more to do with them. There are many people in this life who are interested only in what One has, not what one Is. As long as we have things, they are our friends; but when we have little or nothing, we become the object of mockery.

This attitude should never be for the Christians in their relationship with one another. We have a fellowship, a Oneness, that binds us together, making us all One in Christ. The “stronger” is obligated to help the weaker brother. We should gladly help with deeds of kindness one for another, that Christ might be glorified through us. God’s Word states in Galatians 6:10 “As we have opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Christians are to be kind to everyone, but especially to other Christians.

  • Story – A Sergeant in the Army was asked what had led him to become a Christian. He gave the credit to a Private in his Company who had been converted. “We gave that fellow an awful time,” the Sergeant said. “One night he kneeled to pray. My shoes were heavy with mud, and I threw one of them and struck him on his head. The next morning, I found those shoes beautifully cleaned and polished. That was his only reply to me. It broke my heart, and I came to Christ that day,” said the Sergeant. This is what the Lord Jesus desires the Christians to do. Without Christ a man will retaliate and pay back, but if one has really been born again, his attitude will be different said the Sergeant.
  • David L. Mckenna gives a painful description of this fault: “A certain ghoulish glee always attends the downfall of the high and the mighty. Jealous tongues cluck with juicy gossip whenever a great person shows signs of weakness, makes a false move, or experience a failure. Americans, in particular, cannot countenance human weakness in their Leaders. The slightest physical flaw in a President sends the stock market spinning downward and starts the cartoonists’ pencils doodling caricatures that make the person a laughingstock (David L.Mckenna, The Communicator’s Commentary- Job, Word Books, 1986).
  • Unknown Writer – Someone of our day has made a caustic comment: “Christians are the only ones who shoot their wounded.” A lesson we can learn from the Book of Job is how to respond to those who suffer or fall.

People around us are hurting. There are those who feet have slipped on the pathway of life. They do not need others to stand back to criticise and condemn. They need us to stretch out a helping hand, to uplift, to be friends in need. Let us be Encouragers on the road of life, and out prayer be that of Charles Wesley:

Help us to help other, Lord,
Each other’s cross to bear;
Let each his friendly aid afford,
And feel his brother’s care.

Help us to build each other up,
Our little stock improve;
Increase our faith, confirm our hope,
And perfect us in love.

Prayer

Dear Lord Jesus, lead me today to pray for a friend who is hurting, to speak the word of encouragement to the one whose feet have slipped on the pathway of life.

Christ and Me

Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Christianity, in its right context, is not a religion but a relationship with our God; too many Christians have an “intellectual religion” that satisfies the mind but never changes the life. They can discuss the Bible and even argue about it; but when it comes to living it, most people take it for granted. Other Christians have an “emotional religion” that is made up of changing feelings; unless they are on an emotional high, they feel God has forsaken them.

God wants “the whole of the inner-man” to be devoted to Him; an intelligent mind governed by God’s Word outworked by His Spirit, a fervent heart, and an obedient will. Our obedience ought to be intelligent (may not be rational or logical), is based on God’s Word quickened by His Spirit; and it ought to be motivated from a warm and loving heart.

The Christian life involves a great deal of “our-will” in submission to the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word – we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart (the emotions) and our mind (the intellect) and our strength (the will) (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30).

The Holy Spirit wants to instruct our spirit and mind through God’s Word, inspire the heart with true experiences, and then strengthen our will to do His (God’s) will – Philippians 2:12b-13 (NKJV) “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

A born-again Christian, walking with God, prays whether he feels like it or not; he obeys God’s Word regardless of how he feels; but the Christian who lives on his emotions is likely to have repeated ups-and-downs; he lives on a religious roller coaster.

But the born-again-Christian who lives on “Spirit (walk, led & live – {Gal.5:16, 18, 25}) & God’s Word {Psalm 119:105, etc},” his life is not disturbed by changing circumstances or feelings – will grow into the Image of Christ, for he is “changed (transformed) from glory to glory into the likeness of Christ by the Spirit of God” (2Corinthians 3:18, paraphrased).

The original sin of Lucifer (“Satan”) is a sin of the will (the “5 I wills” of Isaiah 14:12-14); thus, bringing our will under the Spirit of God and the Word of God is important in our walk with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; because our will under the Spirit of God and the Word of God helps to build our character (“Image-of-Christ”); it is our will under the Spirit of God and the Word of God that directs our life.

We come into the Saving Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ under the Convicting Power of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8) and an act of our will – “I will!” And we grow and serve God by acknowledging and acting on “Thy (God’s) will!” Many Christians have the idea that Christian love is a feeling; it is not; it is “a willing” because we have been commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ “to love one another” (John 15:12) whether we like it or not, God does not command our feelings but our will!

Endurance (Matthew 24:13)

Lawlessness & Loveless-ness

Matthew 24:12 (KJV) “And because iniquity (lawlessness) shall abound, the love (agape) of many shall wax (grow) cold.” – There is a direct connection between lawlessness and loveless-ness. When people become lawless, they become loveless. We often think of love as free, spontaneous that requires no lawless or discipline. This is an incorrect view. Love and discipline go hand-in-hand. And when discipline and law break down, love goes cold. In this somber picture, lawlessness abounding and love goes cold, it is the Love of Christian and not of the world that goes cold. Thus, Love is a matter of Character (Romans 5:1-5).

Then, comes the warning from our Lord Jesus Christ – Matthew 24:13 (KJV) “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Mark 13:13 – Prophetic preview of the situation that will exist before the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Endurance is that Christian virtue that we need to be able to live through those perilous days (2Timothy 3:1-7).

The word “endure” means an inner fortitude. It expresses the idea of the person having the quality which enables him to withstand all situations/enemies thrown against him, and still have the reserve power to love his enemies (Matthew 5:43-48), being an Overcomer (Revelation 21:7). It speaks of the genuine Christian as the person who possesses the kind of character which will enable him to endure. Such a person will maintain a warm of love for Christ, and Others. He will endure the trials and will thereby prove the genuineness of his faith and spiritual life which he already possesses. This also speaks of the person who holds out even to the point of death.

Mark 13:12-13 “Now brother shall betray brother to death, and the father, his sons; and children shall rise up against their parents and shall cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake; but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” – In the midst of betrayal and lawlessness before the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, proven character is a very essential Christian attribute to develop. Endurance to the end is the requirement that will see us through the perilous time before the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (2Timothy 3:1-7). Sometimes “holding out” is what God expects us to do in tight and difficult situation.

Endurance

Proven Character – Romans 5:1-5 (KJV) “Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. By whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh (produced) patience. And patience, experience (proven character); and experience (proven character) hope. And hope maketh not ashamed because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us.” (James 1:2-4).

Love

Love is the matter of character. The forming of character is through trials (tribulations) – Produces patience (perseverance) and perseverance produces proven character (experience).

  • Bob Monford said, “Suppose there are 10 areas in our character that need to be corrected. The person can probably deal with 6 of them successfully but the remaining 4 needed to be adjusted by others.”
  • Joyful Endurance – Colossians 1:11 “Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering (endurance) with joyfulness.”

It takes strength and patience to be able to suffer long with joyfulness. Patience and endurance are marks of strength.

Inheritance of Promises

Inheritance of Promises – Hebrews 6: 11-12 (KJV) “And we shall that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end. That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience (endurance) inherit the promises.” It takes both faith and endurance (patience) to inherit God’s Promises (Hebrews 10:35-36). If we have done God’s Will and have not yet receive the promise, we need endurance (patience) to hold out from the point that we did God’s Will to the point when we receive His Promise (Hebrews 12:1-2). Ecclesiastes 9:11 “The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.” It takes endurance to complete the race that God has set before us.

Apostolic Anointing

2Corinthians 12:12 “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.” The first evidence of an Apostolic Anointing is “Patience” (Endurance). The Person with the Apostolic Anointing is the Person who hangs out when everybody gives up.

Two Tests

Matthew 13:19-23 (Parable of the Sower) – There are two kinds of tests:

  • Test of Persecution (hard life) – Matthew 13:20-21.
  • Test of Riches (prosperity) – Matthew 13:22.

Principle of Enduring

Principle of Enduring is the hearted commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ – Acts 11:23 “Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cling to the Lord.” And Acts 14: 22 “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorted them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”

  • Sees the Invisible – Hebrews 11:27 “By faith he (Moses) forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible.” For the Person to hold out he must believe in God and the unseen world (2Corinthians 4:17-18).
  • Moved On – Psalm 37:23-24 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and he delighted in His way. Though he fall he shall not be utterly cast down; for the LORD up-holdeth him with His hand.” Face the issue squarely and moved on in life (Luke 22:31-32 – Peter).
  • Rewards – 2Timothy 4:7-8 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” We are to keep the faith, fight the fight and finished the course. Paul kept true to the end because he saw the reward that he will receive from our Lord Jesus Christ.

Drunkenness and Stupor (Proverbs 20:1, 19-21, 29-35) (Part 2)

Consequences

Proverbs 23:29-35 shows that being continuously drunk (Proverbs 23:35), resulted in experience of:

  • Woe {Grief, Regret, Misfortune, or Grievous Distress};
  • Sorrow {Despised and Rejected}; Contentions {Quarrels, Arguments, Strife};
  • Babbling {Looseness of Tongue, Complainer};
  • Wounds {Falls, Accidents}; and
  • Redness of Eyes {Dimness of Eyes (Amp. Bible), Progressive Lost of Sight}.” Drunkenness may lead to immorality (Proverbs 23:31, 33 (c/f Proverbs 23:27-28).
  • “Habit-forming addiction”“When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?” (Proverbs 23:35b), that destroy families and selves. Being continuously intoxicated, that Person loses his judgement, affects his physical health, like “fatty-liver” which will result in liver-damage, in the long-term; it will also cause stomach inflammation, and the thickening of the stomach lining which reduces the stomach’s ability to absorb nutrients, etc. Usually, the Drunkard is engaged in foolish talk, fighting, loss of self-control (Proverbs 23:29-30). A confused judgement and impaired mental as well as physical vision (Proverbs 23:29), ending being self-deceived as that of being “bitten by the Serpent or Viper.” (Proverbs 23:32).

Examples of Consequences in Old Testament

  • Noah (Genesis 9:21-23) – Noah, being drunk, exposed himself in nakedness (Genesis 9:20-21), resulting in Ham’s Descendants (Canaanites) being cursed, because he (Ham), discussed his father’s (Noah’s) nakedness (Genesis 9:22), instead of covering up his father, “for love covers the multitudes of sins,” (Proverbs 10:12b; 1Peter 4:8b), of which Ham failed (Genesis 9:25). Shem and Japheth were blessed because they covered their father’s (Noah’s) nakedness (Genesis 9:23, 25-27).
  • Lot (Genesis 19:31-36) was drunk and fathered through his daughters, Moab (the father of Moabites) and Benammi (the father of Ammonites) – Enemies of Israel.
  • Isaac had been drinking when he was deceived into blessing Jacob, though God over-ruled in the situation (Genesis 27:25), because Esau sold his First-born Birth-right to Jacob (Genesis 25:29-34). – Hebrews 11:20 “By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.”
  • Israel’s Princes – Hosea 7:5 “In the day of our King, Princes have made him sick, inflamed with wine; He stretched out his hand with Scoffers.”
  • Priests and Prophets – Isaiah 28:7 “But they also have erred through wine, and through intoxicating drink……the Priests and the Prophets have erred through intoxicating drink, they are swallowed up by wine, they are out of the way through intoxicating drink they err in vision, they stumble in judgement.”
  • Nabal, whose name means “Fool” was drunk and suffered heart-attack and died 10 days later, smitten of The LORD for his folly against David (1Samuel 25:2-38).
  • Elah, the King of the House of Israel was assassinated while drunk in Tirzah (1Kings 16:8-10).

What is Strong Drink in Biblical Times?

In like manner, “strong drink” (sekar) is raging. Whiskey and wine with high alcoholic content were not discovered until the Middle Ages, it is not appropriate to identify “strong drink” (sekar) as whiskey or similar “strong drink” of today. The “strong drink” in Proverbs 20:1 is “grain wine” or “fruit wine,” prepared from something other than grapes. As with wine (yayin), “strong drink” has the potential to produce drunkenness. When under the influence of “strong drink” (sekar), the Person can become “Raging” (or “Boisterous – Energetic”). The Person who comes under the influence of “strong drink” is “deceived” (who errs) and is not wise, that is the Drunkard fools himself.

Kings & Rulers of the Nation was not allowed to be given to wine or strong drink, lest they drink and forget God’s Law and pervert just judgements – Proverbs 31:4-5 “It is not for Kings, O Lemuel, it is not for Kings to drink wine, nor for Princes intoxicating drink; lest they drink and forget the law, and pervert justice of all the afflicted.”

Priests were Forbidden – Leviticus 10:9 (NIV) “You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the Tent of the Meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.”

Medicinal – Proverbs 31:6-7 “Give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to those who are bitter of heart. Let him drink and forget his poverty and remember his misery no more.” Proverbs 31:6-7 is not encouraging drunkenness, or else the whole tenor of the teaching on drunkenness as shown above, from the Bible, would be contradicted. Proverbs 31:6-7 has to be studied contextually. The mother of King Lemuel has just taught his son to refrain from drinking wine and strong drink as it will pervert justice and violate God’s Law (Proverbs 31:4-5). With this context in mind, let us interpret Proverbs 31:6-7 – King Lemuel’s mother was teaching his son how to handle the Afflicted People in his (Lemuel’s) Kingdom:

  • Terminal Sickness – Proverbs 31:6a “Give strong drink to him who is perishing.” – The term “perishing” means to be lost or destroyed – it was understood as dealing with someone in his Kingdom who is suffering greatly with sickness – especially when that sickness is terminal, with great pain. It was a custom of that time to medicate to the dying person, who was in great pain, with strong drink, to help him to overcome his pain – as today, the Doctor administer morphine to the terminal ill Person, in great pain. Thus, it was not an evil act but a merciful act, as it was providing help to the terminal dying Person, in pain, a respite. In most cases, the wine is mixed with gall, which serves as “pain-killing-mixture.”
  • The Bitter Person – Proverbs 31:6b-7 “And wine to those who are bitter of heart, let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.” – The second usage of wine for medicinal purpose is for temporary relief for the Person “who is bitter of heart, who have lost something important (loved one) or something valuable,” – this instruction of King Lemuel’s mother is a bit dicey (risky) – it is easy to see the application for the Person who is suffering pain, at the point of death; whereas, for the “bitterness-of-soul,” the application should be weighted, in term of the context of Proverbs 31, as we are in a Section of the Scripture where King Lemuel’s mother has just warned him to refrain from drinking wine and strong drink, as it could cloud his judgement and the violation of God’s Law, in a moment of drunkenness (Proverbs 31:4-5). Therefore, we can be assured that when it comes to the afflicted Person with “bitterness-of-soul,” King Lemuel’s mother is not advocating drunkenness to alleviate the Afflicted Person’s Problem – thus, “NOT drowning One’s sorrows with wine or strong drink.” Rather, what is taught is that ONE {not continuous) drink could temporarily alleviate the Afflicted Person, as Psalm 104:15a states: “Wine makes man’s heart glad,” in the midst of the listing of things that God Himself provides including oil to make the face shine (Psalm 104:15b), food that sustains a man with strength (Psalm 104:15c).
  • Thus, the one drink of wine or strong drink is for medicinal purpose; to lift the afflicted spirit in the time of “bitterness-of-soul,” making the heart glad for a moment, helping the Afflicted Person in his (Lemuel’s) Kingdom. Whereas, today wine or strong drink, is drinking for partying, with the view of getting drunk.  
  • The teaching is Proverbs 31:6-7 is not an encouragement to get drunk, but at the time before the advance of medicinal science, wine or strong drink was used for the medicinal purposes as taught in Proverbs 31:6-7, and we should not read to much into the other interpretation of encouraging drunkenness, as “God puts gladness in our heart, more than in the season that their grain and wine increased.” (Psalm 4:7)

Drunkenness and Stupor (Proverbs 20:1, 19-21, 29-35) (Part 1)

The Statement

Most individual Proverbs contain two Parts, the Second contrasting with the First. Also, in the collection as a whole, one Proverb contrasts with another. Wisdom is the balanced discipline; Wisdom tells us what to avoid and what to seek. When we are advised to avoid something, this implies we should seek its opposite. For example, Proverbs 20:22 – “Do not say, I will pay you back for this wrong! Wait for the LORD, and He will deliver you” (NIV), both discourages vindictiveness and encourages patient and faith. So, some of these verses in chapter 20 belong to either or both Sections:

Things to Avoid

Proverbs chapter 20 teaches us 14 things to avoid: (1) Drunkenness (Proverbs 20:1); (2) Quarrelling (Proverbs 20:2); (3) Laziness (Proverbs 20:4); (4) Sleep and Poverty (Proverbs 20:13); (5) Cheating in Business (Proverbs 20:10); (6) Cheating in General (Proverbs 20:23); (7) Boasting in Bargain (Proverbs 20:14); (8) Deceitfulness (Proverbs 20:17); (9) Ill-Gotten-Gain (Proverbs 20:21); (10) Unsecured Loan (Proverbs 20:16); (11) Tale-Bearer (Proverbs 20:19); (12) Disrespect of Parents (Proverbs 20:20); (13) Vindictiveness (Proverbs 20:22); (14) Rash Commitments (Proverbs 20:25).

Important Point to Note

The teaching below on Drunkenness is not meant to be judgemental and critical of the Person who is struggling with “drink-problem,” but rather to create an awareness of “the consequences” of the “drink-problem.” We need to exercise Christ’s Love to understand and to provide help to the Person who is struggling, in this area.

Drunkenness

Proverbs 20:1 (NIV) “Wine is a Mocker and beer a Brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.” Proverbs 20:1 (KJV) “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”

Justification in the drinking of wine, especially alcoholic wine in the New Testament:

  • Jesus turning the water into wine at the wedding at Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-11).
  • The establishment of The Lord’s Supper with bread and wine (Matthew 26:26-29).
  • Paul’s exhortation to Timothy concerning the taking of a little wine, for his stomach’s sake (1Timothy 5:23).
  • The instructions concerning the Elders and Deacons “not being given to much wine” (1Timothy 3:3, 8).

In balance, the Writer, understands that the Bible does not teach total prohibition or total abstinence from wine, as passages shown above. However, intoxication and drunkenness are strongly condemned both in the O.T & N.T.

Warning against Drunkenness in the New Testament

  • Drunkenness is listed among the 17 Works of the Flesh – Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication…..drunkenness, revelries….”
  • Drunkard shall not inherit the Kingdom of God – 1Corinthians 6:10 “Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilvers, nor extortioners will inherit the Kingdom of God.”
  • Drunkenness is listed alongside with rioting and other evil deeds – Romans 13:13 “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.”
  • Drunkenness is one of the Signs of the Last Day, before Jesus’ Second Coming – Luke 21:34 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing (partying), drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly” (Matthew 24:48-51; Luke 12:45; 1Thessalonians 5:7).
  • Drunkenness separates the Believer from the Fellowship of other Believers – 1Corinthians 5:9-13 “I wrote to you in my epistles not to keep company with sexually immoral people…..or a drunkard….”
  • Drunkenness is forbidden to Spirit-filled Believers; and the “Wine of the World” is the counterfeit of the “Wine of the Spirit.” – Ephesians 5:18-19 “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Christian who is controlled by the “spirit of alcoholism” is not controlled by God’s Spirit at the same time, he must make the choice.

Warning against Drunkenness in the Old Testament

  • Drunkenness is associated with Violence – Proverbs 4:17 “For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.”
  • Drunkenness is linked with mocking, raging, and deception and lack of wisdom. The Drunkard is deceived about his condition by his rationalisation – Proverbs 20:1 (KJV) “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”
  • Drunkenness results in Poverty – Proverbs 21:17b “He who loves wine and oil will not be rich.”
  • Drunkenness is linked with Gluttony and will come to Poverty – Proverbs 23:21 “For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness (due to wine) will clothe a man with rags.”
  • Drunkenness leads to Immorality – Proverbs 23:31, 33 “Do not look on the wine when it red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly;…your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things (c/f Proverbs 23:27-28).
  • Drunkenness ends “liken being bitten by a Serpent” and “stung by an Viper” – This could be an indication of something evil about the end result of being Drunken – Proverbs 23:31, 32 “Do not look on the wine when it red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; at the last it bites like a Serpent, and stings like a Viper.”
  • Drunkenness is Addictive – Proverbs 23:34-35 “Yes, you will be like one, who lies down in the midst of the sea, or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying: ‘They have struck me, but I was not hurt; they have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?”
  • The Final Verdict of Alcoholic-Addiction is that the Person is stricken, beyond feeling, and when he awakes, he seeks it yet again, to be intoxicated – He is bound by his addiction to alcoholic drinks! – “When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?” (Proverbs 23:35b)
  • Drunkard is warned with the Sixfold Questions: – Proverbs 23:29:
    • Who has Woe?
    • Who has Sorrow?
    • Who has Contentions?
    • Who has Babbling?
    • Who has Wounds without Cause?
    • Who has Redness of Eyes?
    • The Answer: Proverbs 23:30 “Those who linger long at the wine, those who go in search of mixed wine.”
    • The Warning: Proverbs 20:31 “Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly.”
    • The Suffering: Proverbs 23:32 “At the last it bites like a Serpent and stings like a Viper.”
    • Separation Required: Proverbs 23:20 “Do not mix with Winebibbers {Drunkards}, or with gluttonous eaters of meat.” – Because “Evil company corrupts good habits.” (1Corinthians 15:33b).

To be continued…. Stay tuned….