Cover 2015-04-12

Ron Writes

Cautionary Tales

Solomon’s warning about alcohol is “that it bites like a snake” (Prov. 23:32). No thinking person would put himself or herself in a viper’s pit. I stay away from snakes of every kind. Yet it appears that snake handling is very popular today. That’s not a problem of course, unless you get bit.

There’s this weird story about Noah after he came off the ark (Gen. 9). In the end, Canaan is cursed. I don’t know exactly what happened between Noah and his son Ham, but I know how the story begins, Noah “drank of the wine and became drunk.”

Maybe if he had known just exactly how this was going to result in terribly poisoning his family he might have done differently.

I heard the story of Nadab and Abihu so often growing up that it wasn’t until I was adult that I realized that “offering a strange fire before the Lord” wasn’t about instrumental music (Lev. 10). It would do us good to get beyond the lesson on hermeneutics and dig a little deeper into what was really going on. This violent episode is shocking! It demands our attention. How could these good, conscientious men make such a deadly blunder. Perhaps the new law added immediately after should give us some insight, “Do not drink wine or strong drink, neither you nor your sons with you, when you come into the tent of meeting, so that you will not die” (Lev. 10:9). Nadab and Abihu were apparently inebriated to the point that they couldn’t make the distinction between what was holy and profane or what was unclean or clean (vs. 10).

Jesus turned water into wine. Many people drink without any troubles. These things are all true. At the same time, we can’t overlook the millions of lives that have been adversely affected by alcohol. “Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the U.S. 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence along with several million more who engage in risky drinking patterns that could lead to alcohol problems. More than half of all adults have a family history of alcoholism or problem drinking, and more than seven million children live in a household where at least one parent is dependent or has abused alcohol” (National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence).

Cautionary tales could be told by the dozen. Story after story of good men, godly men, elders, and preachers who never thought alcoholism could happen to them. The next time you open a can of beer, remember the hiss you hear is the snake trying to bite you.