Proverbs 23:19-21 warns us against three besetting sins — although in practice, many Christians seem to pay attention to only one of them: “Listen my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way. Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine, or with gluttonous eaters of meat; for the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe one with rags.”
There is a very interesting, and perhaps convicting, combining of sins in these verses:
— First, the scripture warns against being with heavy drinkers of wine. Many of us are familiar with the devastating effects of alcohol, and would not be surprised at this admonition.
— But then the author adds a second warning to it: “OR with gluttonous eaters of meat.” This might surprise us, as gluttony is paired, and equated with, alcohol abuse! Those who condemn those who drink alcohol, but whose personal appetites are not under control, might find this pairing very convicting!
— Finally, at the very end of the section, a third quality is added which might convict even more of us yet: “and drowsiness will clothe one with rags.” Not only does the Bible throw gluttony in with alcohol abuse, it also adds “drowsiness” — or laziness (see the many passages in Proverbs on the sluggard, or my devotion here) to the list!
Do you have strong feelings about alcohol abuse? Proverbs gives you every justification for those feelings, as its warnings against alcohol are many, and are clear. But if you do, have you also considered how these scriptures similarly warn against gluttony, and laziness, as well? This does NOT mean that we should just ignore the Bible’s warnings against alcohol, because gluttony and laziness are just as bad. Rather it means that if we are consistent, we will also guard ourselves and our loved ones against these other sins as well.