A Delightful Dilemma?
A Great Deception!
by Edith Lanning
The other day as I was paging through a magazine, I noticed in a liquor advertisement the phrase, "a delightful dilemma." Because of that phrase I chose to write on the subject. THE MERRIAM-WEBSTER DICTIONARY explains a "dilemma" as a choice between equally undesirable alternatives."
Medical Science tells us that people often use alcohol as an escape from unpleasant situations, or as an escape from life or as an escape from oneself. Therefore alcohol seems to be the medicine of cowards who haven't the courage to face reality. Those who drink should consider whether this is their dilemma and seek to have more courage.
What kind of a cure is it anyway? THE FAMILY HEALTH GUIDE AND MEDICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA states the hang-over or "after effects" include headache, dizziness, upset stomach, thirst and feelings of depression and anxiety." The unpleasant situations are still there, plus added trouble caused by the drinking of alcoholic beverages. Therefore, alcohol is not only a dilemma but unwise and deceptive.
THE BIBLE confirms this fact, for it says, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." Let me repeat the words of the Bible, "Wine is a mocker." It is evident that people do not appreciate any person who will mock or make fun of them, yet seem to love alcohol even though it mocks them; causes people to laugh at them and often makes real fools out of them.
THE BIBLE says, "strong drink is raging." How true! Alcohol often causes the drinker to become enraged, and commit murder, suicude and many other crimes. It is not really an escape from tensions, frustrations, unpleasant situations and anxieties but a creator of them. Alcohol is not only a dilemma but unwise and deceptive.
Life is made up of many choices. The kind of life we live depends on the choices we make; some are wise, some are unwise. We are often faced with the choice: to drink strong drink or not to drink it. Sir Wilfred Lawson said that strong drink is "the devil in solution." Some time ago, I did see a wine bottle that had on the label, "contains spirits." THE BIBLE tells us of the results of drinking in these words, "Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who hath contentions? Who hath babbling? Who hath wounds without cause? Who hath redness of the eyes? they that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine." Proverbs 23:29-30. Do these words of holy truth describe a delightful dilemma? A dilemma yes, but far from delightful!
THE BIBLE continues, "look not upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth 'his' color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things," Proverbs 23:31-33 Remember! Alcoholic beverages may sparkle in the cup; may seem good, inviting and harmless but at the last they bite like a serpent -- like the devil himself -- who was present with his deception in the garden of Eden, and has been working overtime ever since. Alcohol is an unwise choice because it is such a deception. It results in troublesome situations.
Let's consider some of its results and see how delightful they really are, and although some may be deceived into thinking it is a delightful experience at the time of consumption, the long range results are anything but delightful. Alcohol affects all the cells, particularly those of the brain, and is a depressant, not a stimulant. It is rich in calories but has no nutrients and often causes malnutrition, impaired judgment, confusion, disorientation, hallucinations, dilirium tremors, gaps in memory, brain deterioration, which may cause many different kinds of mental illnesses, organic diseases, blackouts, depression in the form of boredom or loneliness, masked by joviality, nausea, headache, heartburn, vitamin deficiency diseases, skin diseases, neuritis, liver disease, suicidal tendencies, puffiness of the face, redness of the eyes, enlargement of tissue of the nose (the so called whiskey nose), a beer belly, and cripples family life. Are all these things a delightful dilemma? Not delightful - but a great dilemma! a choice between equally undesirable alternatives.
The Bible plainly declares that drunkards will not get into heaven, nor they which do such things. "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, whitchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, DRUNKENNESS, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." How true it is that at last it bites like a serpent. These above mentioned works of the flesh, including alcohol, are dilemmas and deceptions of the devil; all are the choice of undesirable alternatives, that will rob one of the delights of heaven. Galatians 5:19-21. These works of the flesh result from making the wrong choice, that of living for oneself instead of for God.
After the Bible tells of these works of the flesh, it goes on to tell of the fruit of the Spirit of God, that will delight the lives of those who are Christ's. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance:...and they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." Galatians 5:22-25. There is a joy, a peace and a satisfaction found in Christ that can never be found in a beer or wine bottle. In THE BIBLE we read of "joy unspeakable and full of glory," as Peter expressed it. Then Paul wrote, "The peace of God, which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." 1 Peter 1:8 and Philippians 4:7.
Strong drink is not the answer to the problems of life. Receiving Jesus as one's personal Saviour is the answer, for THE BIBLE says, "He is our peace." Ephesians 2:14. Also we read, "Our sufficiency is of God." 2 Corinthians 3:5. Jesus is the answer to all of life's problems.
In the OLD TESTAMENT, God gave instructions to the priests, "Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die.." Leviticus 10:9. They were not to drink wine, when they worshipped or offered sacrifices unto God.
In the NEW TESTAMENT we read concerning Jesus Christ, "...unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God." Revelation 1:5,6. In another place we read, "Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name." Hebrews 13:15.
If, as the Bible says, we are priests unto God and as Priests we are to offer unto Him the sacrifice of praise continually, and as worshippers we are not to drink wine or strong drink, while worshipping, then we have absolutely no time to spend drinking wine and strong drink; but are continually to be in an attitude of praise to God. He has given us the answer to this problem.
We have the choice before us to drink or not to drink. He has told us what our choice should be, so why should we choose a dilemma - a choice between equally undesirable alternatives - alcohol and all the other sins it leads one to engage in?
Many are deceived by advertising or friends to think that alcohol is good and harmless. THE BIBLE says, "Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." He is a deceiver who makes wrong seem right, and anything else that does the same is done by his inspiration. He uses alcohol to rob
one of his self-respect, reputation, health, happiness, sense of values, peace, satisfaction, family, friends, and of years that could have been lived for God, the real purpose of living.
COLLIER'S ENCYCLOPEDIA says, "an alcoholic is one whose repeated drinking results in injury to his health, family, social relation, economic functions, and he is unable to refrain from drinking. Alcohol inhibits or depresses the higher mental processes, causing a rise in self-confidence." I once knew a man who went on a drinking spree, every weekend; then he talked as if he was the king of the castle and all others were the dirty rascals. He had a false sense of self-confidence through
the effect of alcohol.
THE BIBLE speaks of the alcoholic in a similar manner, "Yea also because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied." Some claim alcohol makes them feel relieved and free. What a deception! The Bible describes it as a bondage which cannot be satisfied. Habakkuk 2:5.
Many are deceived into thinking that it is just right and proper to offer alcoholic beverages to their neighbours and friends but the Bible says, "Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour to drink." Habakkuk 2:15.
THE WORLD BOOK ENCYCLOPEDIA says, "Alcohol is one of the most prevalent diseases in the United States and is a major health problem, a disease in which the drinking of alcohol becomes a compulsion...Some people drink to be sociable, to show off, to experiment, or because they like the taste of a particular alcoholic beverage."
Isaiah, the prophet, described the alcoholic in THE BIBLE, Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they might follow strong drink; that continue unto night, till wine inflame them!" Many believe they will never go that far in their drinking. The alcoholic probably didn't think so either. Isaiah continues, "Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure." Isaiah 5:11, 14. It seems as though hell has been enlarged to contain all who choose to go there.
Countless numbers are deceived by their own logical thinking. They argue that Jesus turned the water into wine; therefore, it must be alright to drink it. We aren't told the reason for the shortage of wine at that wedding, but perhaps, many guests arrived which were not expected or some wine may have been accidentally spilled so there was not sufficient. Jesus was touched with the embarrassment of the host and hostess in having nothing to give their guests to drink; therefore, as always He became master of the situation. They marvelled at the good taste of the wine He had made. I do not believe it was intoxicating as it was just made, (new wine) but it was better tasting than any wine they had ever drunk; for it was made by the Master Creator and satisfied them completely, a refreshing experience from the hand of God!
In Luke 7:34 Jesus told how people called him a winebibber because He went into the homes of those who were considered sinners and ate and drank as He fellowshipped or talked with them. They condemned John for not doing this for Jesus said, John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say He hath a devil. The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!"
Although Jesus was accused of being a winebibber the Word of God does not say that He drank wine. It says He came eating and drinking. He could have drunk water or something other than wine. Their condemnation was never just. He was judged because He kept company with those considered outcasts in society. John was condemned as unsociable but Jesus was condemned because He was too sociable, not caring with whom He associated. Their condemnation of John the Baptist was even worse for they said he had a devil. We understand by the Spirit of God that these were the lies of ungodly men, who believed in their own logical but false reasoning, and felt so self-righteous that they wouldn't consider being seen eating or drinking with publicans and sinners.
Others tell us that when Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper or Communion that He told them to drink of the wine and eat of the bread, so it must be alright to drink wine. But nowhere in THE BIBLE in connection with the Lord's Supper is wine ever mentioned. It is people who speak of it as wine but in the Bible it is spoken of as the fruit of the cup of the vine, which could very well have been fruit juice.
I believe it was fruit juice because I can't see Jesus drinking wine when the Word of God says drunkards and they which do such things shall not enter into heaven. When the Lord forbids us to do certain things He has something far better that He wants us to have in its place. That which is far better is the outpouting of His Spirit upon His people, as was promised by Joel, the prophet. This gift of God gives real joy, not the fake joviality or merriment that wine produces. The gift of the Holy Ghost also reveals the truth and gives peace, guidance, comfort and power - power to overcome sin, as well as power to be a witness of Jesus. John 14:26, 27; Romans 14:17; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1-39.
There are two important choices found in THE BIBLE which God has set before us. "See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;...I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death; choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: that thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey His voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto Him: for He is thy life, and the length of thy days." Deuteronomy 30:15. God has placed before us two ways. He has told us to choose life, but we must make the choice. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6. This is what life is all about. It is making the right choices. To have a life worth living we must choose Jesus as our personal Saviour.
The Word of God says, "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believeth on His name." John 1:12. We have no power in ourselves to live as God would have us live, but when we receive Jesus as our Saviour and let Him dwell in us by His Spirit, then He gives us the power to live for Him. His Word says,"Ye are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:16-18.
We read in the proverbs of Solomon, "Be not among winebibbers." Proverbs 23:20. Unless we are going to present the Word of God to them we should not associate with them. God has set before us many choices and we need to choose wisely according to His Word.
Jesus said,"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me: and I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish." John 10:27, 28. Are you one of His sheep? Have you heard His voice? Do you know Him? Are you following Him? Have you eternal life? Or are you a sheep that is still going astray? Isaiah, the prophet said, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:6. Are you still going your own way? We were born with sinful natures that want to live in our own way instead of God's way. Remember Jesus said,"I am the way," John 14:6.
We also read in Acts 4:12, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Isaiah prophesied over seven hundred years before Jesus was born that One would come to bear the sin and iniquity of us all. God has done
His part in sending His Son to bear our sin and iniquity. Have you come to the Saviour to receive the forgiveness and cleansing He offers to all? "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9.
There is hope for all, even the alcoholic, who can't control his drinking. There is a verse in THE BIBLE which reminds me of the liquor ads. It reads, "While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage." 2 Peter 2:19. Jesus promises a much better liberty than the liquor ads: He promises freedom from all bondage for He said, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." John 8:36.
There is another wonderful promise in the Bible; "If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." 1 John 1:7. Should we not make Him our choice? He loved us enough to die for us. Is He asking too much of us when He asks us to live for Him?
Joshua presented to the people of his day the choice of serving God or idols, then quickly told of his decision, saying,"Choose you this day whom ye will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15. The bottle and the money received for its sale are idols in many lives today. "The love of money is the root of all evil." 2 Timothy 6:10. The song writer has said it so truthfully, "The price of the bottle is just the down payment; there's no way of knowing the cost, for money can't comfort the hearts that are broken, or buy back the souls that are lost."
Why choose alcohol - a dilemma and a deception? Choose life, the more abundant life, found in Jesus, the Saviour. John 10:10. The Bible says, "Behold now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation." 2 Corinthians 6:2.
Note: Some time ago, I read in a newspaper that doctors claim alcohol is a narcotic; therefore, narcotics are included in all that the Bible says about wine and strong drink and should have no place in the lives of those who want to inherit the kingdom of God.
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