Sorry, the title is somewhat a tease.
Verse 1 of Proverbs 20 is the first mention of alcohol in Proverbs- "Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise."A little surprising to come late after so many others have been mentioned and repeated.
I had a two year men's group called the Reformation Men's Club where we met once a month to study reformed doctrine. It was never a big crowd, until we advertised today's title- what the Bible says about Bud Light- and drew our biggest crowd ever.
That night and many other times I have listened to teaching in this area and am always intrigued about how hard it is to find the Biblical balance on this issue. And it is such a volatile topic that denominations have split over the boundaries of social or moderate drinking.
Sadly, I just wrote about 200 words on this issue for this blog and highlighted what I though was a word and hit delete, only to realize that I had deleted all the content- man! that stinks!
Maybe that was God protecting a fool.
My main point is that we tend to get out of balance in this area to justify our choice in the matter. And the worst part of Gospel liberty is that we expect others to agree with us and live according to our consciences.
I think we all agree that alcohol consumption can create issues/problems so HANDLE WITH GREAT CARE. Psalm 104:15 says God gives wine to cheer the heart- but we also know the sad legacy of what men often do with a good gift. How many lives destroyed? How many regrets? How many prisoners?
The toughest thing about alcohol is that it doesn't have to be longtime abuse to mess up your life- it could be one time too many.
The only way to adequately deal with the issue is to reflect on I Corinthians 8 and Romans 4 before you even get to the verses about wine and beer. I did find a great online Bible study about dealing with issues of liberty using this passage. Links to I Corinthians 8 Studies
I tend to play devil's advocate with people on the issue- just to prod them a little. And there is a lot of sensitive and specific discussion that needs to be made about this- too much for me to deal with in this blog.
I don't side with those who say the Bible wine was just grape juice- it doesn't fit the Biblical analogies or narratives. Even this verse would not make sense - "Welch's Grape Juice is a mocker"? Nope- when Jesus changes the water into wine- it was the good stuff and I'm sure it had a healthy ABV. Read about it in John 2.
Also - the gray areas of Christian liberty are impacted by adjusting social mores and how a person was reared. And before you say it is evil- you need to meditate on Psalms 104 (verse 15).
My suggestion is to constantly think through these issues- hold them prayerfully with an open hand- and decide situation by situation in godly wisdom- and be bold. No need to hide behavior if you have a clear conscience- but it is also very OK to say NO if you believe the situation warrants restricting your freedom for the sake of another...in love.
But again- impossible to thoroughly cover in this section..... if you study it thoroughly, you will be shocked, no matter your preference (Martin Luther cut short one of his pastoral travels because the beer was bad and lovingly called his wife' Madame Brewmeister'- but again it takes a while to build a Biblical boundaries here).
My final quick thought about alcohol is to be wise and use in freedom by proper moments and not by habit. "No" is easy and should be utilized a lot. There may be times to enjoy a glass, but they are fewer than most actually do. But a person of total abstinence is not necessarily holier.
I just re-read what I wrote and realize that there is way more to analyze and clear up. Moving on......
Other principles in Proverbs 20:
I love verse 11- Even a child is known by his actions- which is paraphrased by me 'Christian IS and Christian DOES'.
Multiple references to avoiding the life of a sluggard- the deadly results of being a life long couch potato- we need to be diligent and disciplined- initiate activity and accomplish things.
Does verse 21 have any application to the lottery?
Verse 25 is huge- do not make commitments without thinking through the consequences- be slow and make less mistakes.
And the surprising last one- verse 30- when life knocks the crud out of you- or when you take a beating- it is actually a good thing.... think about it. I have many stories about that one.
Update to this post: Aug 6, 2023 (12 years later, where does the time go)- recent events in culture have totally change the power of the allusion in this title.
Anheuser-Busch reported in early Aug, 2023 that its U.S. revenue fell 10.5%, or $395 million, in the second quarter. Bud Light sales plunged amid a conservative backlash after the brand sent a commemorative can to transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney in early April of this year.
The company said its total U.S. market share for all brands fell more than 5% to 36.9% in April but then remained stable from the end of April through the end of June. Some of the company’s brands, like Busch Lite and Michelob Ultra, have gained U.S. market share.
Still, the Bud Light saga has been a costly one for the brewer. In June, Bud Light lost its place as America’s best-selling beer after more than two decades, slipping into second place behind Mexican lager Modelo Especial.
So, the title won't be as catchy anymore- and when people click to read these days... they are expecting a whole different take!)