As we continue our look at the dangers of alcohol abuse we are warned that wine will look good when we see it. There is a certain asthetic beauty to a beautiful glass with wine in it. We see its color and note that it sparkles in the cup. The alcohol industry does everything that it can to enhance the look of their product. Beer is sold to us with people pouring it into a glass where we watch the foam grow along with the beer itself in the glass. Everything is done to make sure that we are enamoured with the sight of this drink. Consider as well that every commercial that seeks to sell these things is filled with skinny people who all look amazingly good - and voila - they are all drinking what we are supposed to be buying as well. The secret message to us is that we can look that good too if we drink their beer, wine, or whiskey. But, the proverb warns us that there is a different experience awaiting us when we actually drink this stuff in abundance.
We are told the truth here - that alcohol bites like a serpent and stings like a viper. What we are being alerted to is the effect of the alcohol on our system as we become more and more inebriated with it. We will find ourselves experiencing a type of poisoning of our system. Just like a snake and a viper bite will affect our vision and our ability to speak and walk - so also does the imbibing of alcohol. We will find ourselves strangely affected as this stuff hits our bloodstream and begins inhibiting our brain and physical functions. I find it somewhat disingenuous that we hear over and over again that alcohol can actually enhance our health. But what we are NOT told is how alcohol can poison our system and destroy our bodies. The amount of alcoholic drink we can have to make us healthier (and this is not in every case) is rather small - a small glass of wine often being used as the example. The problem is that in our party society we are not drinking for our health - we are drinking to party - to lower our inhibitions and help us do things we normally would not do. But the problems come not just to our mental state - but there are damages that happen to our brain, our kidneys, and our liver when we poison ourselves with too much alcohol.
As I've said earlier, I was a weekend drunk before I was saved. That also means that I have had the unfortunate situation of not only being drunk - but also of having a hangover and of being very sick when I poisoned myself wth alcoholic drinks. To describe what happens when you do this is difficult because it is hard for some to grasp what it might feel like to have multimple sledge hammers converging on the sides of your head while having a stomach ache and a feeling like you are going to throw up. It is difficult to describe how someone's whisper can sound like someone shouting in your ears. Yet these things are signs that you are poisoning yourself with the venom of alcohol abuse. Oh, before I leave this aspect of our current proverb I would like to regale you with what it looks like when someone abuses alcohol for a lifetime. They die of something called scirosis of the liver.
I was able to lead a man to Christ who had been a drunk his entire life. He was in his late 40's but looked like he was around 70. He came to Christ just as he was learning of his condition. His alcohol abuse had effectively destroyed his liver, which was in the process of shutting down. He told me to use his situation to warn others to stay away from alcohol and drunkenness. His body began to turn yellow as it also swelled to about twice its normal size. As his liver shut down he was blinded by the impurities that were in his blood. They also began to kill all the other organs in his body. It was not a pretty death that he died. That was the lifetime effect of someone who literally drank themselves to death.
The Word of God is trying to warn us of the dangers of alcohol. If we are wise we will approach alcoholic drinks in a similar way that we would approach drinking Draino or some other kind of known poison. Just because alcohol will poison us slower than these things is no reason to treat it any less cautiously. We live in a culture that glories in its alcohol abuse - and does not let us know the backside of this lifestyle. I've always wanted to cut one commercial for a Super Bowl that would present alcohol truthfully. It would involve people who are not pretty - drinking alone or even at a party. We would watch as they drink themselves into a foolish stupor - but the commecial would continue to follow them as they began throwing up uncontrollably. Then the commercial would end with them waking up the next morning as the sound track would distort with the sound of people talking to them - yet sounding like a bullhorn being used to deafen them. The tag line on the commercial would be something like this, "People who tell you to drink promise a good time." At this point the commercial would review the people throwing up uncontrollably and say, "Does this look like a good time?" A quick shot of someone dying of liver disease in all its horror would come next with the final statement, "Yeah, good times." That would at least begin to balance the scales just a little with wisdom when it comes to drinking alcoholic drinks and the truth. Will it ever happen? What do you think?