29 Judgments are prepared for scoffers, and beatings for the backs of fools. 1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise. (Proverbs 19:29-20:1, NKJV)
Intoxicating beverages lead people astray from the path of sober-mindedness and self-control, to a state of derision and tumult. The “scoffers” for which “judgments are prepared” (19:29), are none other than those under the influence of wine, which is a “mocker” (20:1). The same Hebrews word is used for scoffers and mocker in both verses. Drinking wine (not to mention, strong drink) mocks sobriety, and falls under judgment for doing so. Our passage says the person who is led astray by wine, as well as stronger intoxicating beverages, is “not wise” (a fool). God reveals the punishment (“judgments”) in verse 29: “beatings (are prepared) for the backs of fools.” You cannot consume alcohol without diminishing your sobriety and self-control. That is axiomatic. Inhibitions are lowered as alcoholic intake increases. Be wise, and abstain from the drinking that leads to excess (1 Peter 4:3). You will avoid the drunkenness that starts with the first drink, as well as the punishment of fools.
29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? 30 Those who linger long at the wine, those who go in search of 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. (Proverbs 23:29–32, NKJV)
Social drinking is accepted by many who wear the name of Christ. Their rationale varies, but the consistent defense made by believers who drink alcohol is, “I don’t get drunk.” Therefore, to them, there is no problem. They see no problem in recreational drinking to get a “buzz” and to that extent, lose their self-control (Gal. 5:23). They overlook the problem of their diminished example of righteousness. They think Jesus was a “winebibber” (wine drinker) and so they can be, too (Jno. 2:1-11). (They forget that was a slur made against Jesus by unbelievers, with whom they thus associate themselves, Matthew 11:19.) They see no problem violating the apostle’s stipulation against “banquetings” (drinking parties, NKJV) in 1 Peter 4:3 (which denotes drinking without regard to amount). No, God’s word is clear that “wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise” (Prov. 20:1). Be wise. Heed God’s warning and do not take the first drink, “when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly.” That’s how to escape the viper’s sting.
Harlotry, wine, and new wine enslave the heart. (Hosea 4:11, NKJV)
Sin takes possession of the heart, taking it away from its God-assigned place of holiness to places of moral defilement and apostasy. Sexual infidelity has taken away Israel’s heart from the moral purity expected of Jehovah’s people. Driven by selfish lust, sexual immorality is wholly unsuited for hearts that are given to God. Again, wine takes away the heart from a place of self-control. Wise Solomon said, “Wine is a mocker,” and the one who imbibes of wine is a fool on the path of error (Prov. 20:1). His inspired counsel, therefore, was “do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly,” for its results are bitter (Prov. 23:29-35). New wine is the juice that is pressed from the grape. Even the produce of the vine can take away the heart, when one values filling himself with material prosperity above and before trusting God. We must put God first, not material gain. Do not expose your heart to being captured and taken away by sin. Israel was destroyed because she refused to know and obey this truth (Hos. 4:6).