Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Proverbs 23:19-35 (ESV)
19 Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way. 20 Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, 21 for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags. 22 Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. 23 Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding. 24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him. 25 Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice. 26 My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways. 27 For a prostitute is a deep pit; an adulteress is a narrow well. 28 She lies in wait like a robber and increases the traitors among mankind. 29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? 30 Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. 31 Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. 32 In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. 33 Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things. 34 You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, like one who lies on the top of a mast. 35 “They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I must have another drink.”
Today’s reading has two sections. The first lifts up the blessings of listening to your Father. What is interesting is that the father wants the son to not only learn from him (23:22), but to actually surpass his father’s wisdom by learning from others as well (23:23). This wise son brings honor and joy to the father (23:24). The second section is an amusing description of the dangers of alcoholic beverages. Notice the lovely poetry: wine “goes down smoothly” but “bites like a snake.” (23:31-32). Worse, alcohol abuse makes it impossible for us to face reality (23:34-35). All of this is actually an example of idolatry. When we look for life and happiness from something God created (wine or anything else), instead of from God the Creator himself, we will suffer.