Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Drinkin' - What Scripture Says Part 1

Continued from this post...

Let me start with simply sharing some Scriptures that give insight into the use of alcohol in Biblical history. The obvious tie-in to alcohol or fermented beverage in the Bible are references to wine. Here are a few things from the Old Testament.

God commands wine and strong drink to be brought as an offering to himself:
  • “Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two one year old lambs each day, continuously ... and there shall be one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine for a libation with one lamb” (Exod. 29:38,40).
  • “Its grain offering shall then be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire to the Lord for a soothing aroma, with its libation, a fourth of a hin of wine” (Lev. 23:13).
  • “And you shall prepare wine for the libation, one-fourth of a hin, with the burnt offering or for the sacrifice, for each lamb ... and for the libation you shall offer one-third of a hin of wine as a soothing aroma to the Lord ... and you shall offer as the libation one-half a hin of wine as an offering by fire, as a soothing aroma to the Lord” (Num. 15:5,7,10).
  • “Then the libation with it shall be a fourth of a hin for each lamb, in the holy place you shall pour out a libation of strong drink to the Lord” (Num. 28:7).
Wine is tied to the concept of God's blessings:
  • “Now may God give you of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, and an abundance of grain and new wine” (Gen. 27:28).
  • “He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the labor of man, so that he may bring forth food from the earth, and wine which makes man’s heart glad, so that he may make his face glisten with oil, and food which sustains man’s heart” (Ps. 104:14-15).
  • “Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine” (Prov. 3:9-10).
Conversely, and interestingly, the removal of wine has been tied to God's discipline:

  • “But it shall come about, if you will not obey the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you ... You shall plant and cultivate vineyards, but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes, for the worm shall devour them” (Deut. 28:15,39).
  • “The Lord has sworn by His right hand and by His strong arm, ‘I will never again give your grain as food for your enemies; nor will foreigners drink your new wine, for which you have labored’ (Isa. 62:8).
What strikes me about these references - especially those regarding sacrifice and offerings - is that in my understanding, nothing unclean or unholy is to be offered to the Lord, yet wine was included as an acceptable offering. I draw from this that there is nothing inherently bad, evil, or unclean about it. I do not see evidence in Scripture, as many evangelicals believe, that all alcoholic beverages are inherently evil and that any use of an alcoholic beverages is sinful. However, I do see that Scripture presents some specific instruction regarding alcohol consumption - there is a context and conditions for its use. I'll get to these next post.

Continued next post...

3 comments:

Karate Explosion said...

Condition 1. If you are bored, drink, heavily.

Condition 2. If you feel like eating, drink heavily.

Condition 3. If Spider Crickets are running rampant in your house. Drink, and Drink and drink adn drink

David Wills said...

Jason: Good post, nice points.
During my first couple years in college, when I was in 'Campus Crusade for Christ,' I was one of those who felt as though a Christian should not be drinking alcohol, period. This was during a time, however, when I had changed a lot of things in my life and clearly went to the opposite extreme in regard to this issue. Whereas previously in my life I had been engaged in the 'mis-use' of alcohol, I therefore felt as though no Christian should drink at all after I had changed in that area of my life.
While my intentions were good, my view was not founded on anything other than my subjective view of alcohol at that time in my life. I later came to realize, just as you had pointed out, that there is nothing inherently evil or sinful about alcohol itself. I really don't desire alcohol much anymore anyway, but I do like a little wine from time to time. But while there is nothing wrong with drinking alcohol per se, there are parameters and a line to be drawn as I'm sure you will get into in a future post.

van.diesel said...

Many thanks, Dave. I totally relate with where you're coming from, especially in regards to my views at one point not being founded on "anything other than my subjective view of alcohol at that time in my life."