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Proverbs 20:1-15n (ESV)
20 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise. 2 The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion; whoever provokes him to anger forfeits his life. 3 It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling. 4 The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing. 5 The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out. 6 Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find? 7 The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him! 8 A king who sits on the throne of judgment winnows all evil with his eyes. 9 Who can say, “I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin”? 10 Unequal weights and unequal measures are both alike an abomination to the Lord. 11 Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.12 The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both. 13 Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread. 14 “Bad, bad,” says the buyer, but when he goes away, then he boasts. 15 There is gold and abundance of costly stones,but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.
Verse 20:1 is a great example of the Bible’s wise and subtle teaching. This description of the dangers of wine is meant to balance passages like Psalm 104:14-15 in which wine is a gift from God. Verses 5 – 7 & 15 show how valuable it is for us to take the time to understand the real motives of others. This protects us from people who promise much but deliver little. Verse 9 is very important. It teaches that there is nothing we can do to cover our sin, or make up for the wrongs we have done. So, we should stop rationalizing our actions and trying to justify ourselves. Instead, we need to run to Jesus, trust his sacrifice on the cross, and ask the Holy Spirit to give us new hearts (see Psalm 51:10).