By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen, First Baptist Church, Spearfish, SD
In this post, I am going to use some humor to make a serious point about alcoholism, which is not a humorous subject. For those of you who don’t know me well, and maybe not at all, I am not a scientist. But I am a Norwegian-American, and I am a Baptist pastor. Please don’t hold these facts against me. I had no choice in the matter of being born a Norwegian-American. I am glad I was born an American, but some days I have my misgivings about being a Norwegian. But when we eat some more lefse, I am again a happy Norwegian. Although I did not choose to be a Norwegian-American, I did choose to be a Baptist pastor. But, unlike being a Norwegian, I have never regretted it.
But on to my humorous way of making a serious point about alcoholism: I made a remarkable discovery about alcoholism in the USA. I did not discover the fact that there are 12 million alcoholics here in the USA. Someone else made that discovery. I did not discover the fact that beverage alcohol is the number one drug problem in the USA. Someone else made that discovery. In fact, there are many things about alcoholic beverages and alcoholism that I did not discover. But, after spending 10 trillion dollars of my own money, made by delivering newspapers, and which is kept in one of my 200 savings accounts, and after personally interviewing all 12 million alcoholics in the USA, I did discover an amazing fact, previously unknown by anyone: all alcoholics drink alcoholic beverages! That’s right: all alcoholics drink alcoholic beverages. Why had I not previously grasped this fact? I was so stunned, that I had to sit down for an hour just to think it over. Could it really be true that all alcoholics drink alcoholic beverages? No, this does not mean all who drink such beverages are alcoholics. But, still, it was a shocking thing to discover that all alcoholics drink alcoholic beverages. That means there is a provable link between the consumption of such beverages and alcoholism. Now, I know that many who no longer drink alcoholic beverages still think of themselves as alcoholics, and more specifically as recovering alcoholics. But that is not my subject right now. My subject, remember, is that I discovered that all alcoholics drink alcoholic beverages.
This discovery led to another one. And it, too, required a lot of work and money to make the discovery. What I did was this: I personally interviewed every American who has never drunk an alcoholic beverage. What I discovered was almost as mind-boggling as the first discovery: Not one person of the millions of Americans who had never drunk an alcoholic beverage is or was an alcoholic! You might have to re-read that statement to grasp the implications of it: Not one person of the millions of Americans who had never drunk an alcoholic beverage is or was an alcoholic! That fact alone blows the mind! So, I came to the same conclusion after this second discovery as I did with the first one: there is a provable link between alcoholic beverages and alcoholism. Why had I not realized this fact long ago?
If you want o read some very interesting statistics about alcoholism in the USA, click on the following link: http://www.learn-about-alcoholism.com/statistics-on-alcohol…
The Bible has many warnings about alcoholic beverages. Although its warnings most often refer to intoxicating wine, what is says about intoxicating wine easily applies to other forms of alcoholic beverages. Below is a quote of the entire 23rd chapter of the Old Testament’s book of Proverbs. It is quoted from the Modern English Version (MEV), and is taken from this website: http://www.biblegateway.com. As you read through this chapter, take note of its warnings about alcoholic beverages.
Proverbs 23 Modern English Version (MEV)
23 When you sit to eat with a ruler,
consider diligently what is before you;
2 and put a knife to your throat,
if you are a man given to appetite.
3 Be not desirous of his delicacies,
for they are deceptive food.
4 Do not labor to be rich;
cease from your own wisdom.
5 Will you set your eyes on that which is not?
For riches certainly make themselves wings;
they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.
6 Do not eat the bread of him who has an evil eye,
neither desire his delicacies;
7 for as he thinks in his heart,
so is he.
“Eat and drink!” he says to you,
but his heart is not with you.
8 The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up,
and lose your sweet words.
9 Do not speak in the ears of a fool,
for he will despise the wisdom of your words.
10 Do not remove the old landmark,
nor enter the fields of the fatherless;
11 for their Redeemer is mighty;
He will plead their cause with you.
12 Apply your heart to instruction,
and your ears to the words of knowledge.
13 Do not withhold correction from a child,
for if you beat him with the rod, he will not die.
14 You shall beat him with the rod,
and deliver his soul from death.
15 My son, if your heart is wise,
my heart will rejoice—even mine.
16 Yes, my inmost being will rejoice
when your lips speak right things.
17 Do not let your heart envy sinners,
but continue in the fear of the Lord all day long;
18 for surely there is an end,
and your expectation will not be cut off.
19 Hear, my son, and be wise;
and guide your heart in the way.
20 Do not be among winebibbers,
among riotous eaters of meat;
21 for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty,
and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.
22 Listen to your father who gave you life,
and do not despise your mother when she is old.
23 Buy the truth, and do not sell it,
also wisdom and instruction and understanding.
24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice,
and he who fathers a wise child will have joy of him.
25 Your father and your mother will be glad,
and she who bore you will rejoice.
26 My son, give me your heart,
and let your eyes observe my ways.
27 For a prostitute is a deep ditch,
and a seductress is a narrow pit.
28 She also lies in wait as for a prey,
and increases the transgressors among men.
29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has contentions? Who has babbling?
Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes?
30 Those who tarry long at the wine,
those who go to seek mixed wine.
31 Do not look on the wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup,
when it swirls around smoothly;
32 at the last it bites like a serpent,
and stings like a viper.
33 Your eyes will see strange things,
and your heart will utter perverse things.
34 Yes, you will be as he who lies down in the midst of the sea,
or as he who lies upon the top of a mast.
35 “They have stricken me,” you will say, “and I was not sick;
they have beaten me, and I did not feel it.
When will I awake?
I will seek it yet again.”