Christmas Day Fifty and Six

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to always have a clear mind, that I might make clear decisions, that are not affected by some type of drug, fear or hysteria; but to make that decision based on fact, truth, and through the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

“It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.” Proverbs 31:4-5 (KJV)

The Redeeming Love of God (Hosea 4:11-19)

God’s Controversy With His People 3

This will be the final study for chapter 4.

“Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.
My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God.”  Hosea 4:11-12 (KJV)

The Amplified Bible says of verse eleven, “Harlotry and wine and new wine take away the heart and the mind and the spiritual understanding.”  The Living Bible paraphrases, “Wine, women and song have robbed My people of her brains.”

Does anything ever really change?  It does not seem so.  The problem of Israel is a problem within the United States of America today.  Alcohol and the use of alcohol; maybe I should say abuse of alcohol; drug consumption.  The over active, perverse and uncontrolled sex drives of humanity; along with the abuse of alcohol and other drugs robbing the mind of control, influencing the decision making process, having people doing things they would not normally do.  With a clear mind – clear of drugs at least – one can be expected to make rational decisions.  Under the influence of beverage alcohol no one wants to take responsibility; and no one wants to point out the blame, or take blame for their actions.

This is how verse twelve reads in The Living Bible,  “For they are asking a piece of wood to tell them what to do.  ‘Divine Truth’ comes to them through tea leaves!  Longing after idols has made them foolish.  For they have played the harlot, serving other gods, deserting Me.”

Instead of taking their heart ache to God they seek a bottle.  Instead of a lasting, fulfilling, and meaningful relationship through marriage (One man, one woman), God’s way they follow their own lust, and go to destruction.  It is not only destruction of the person, it destroys the family, the State, the Nation and the World.

“They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under oaks and poplars and elms, because the shadow thereof is good: therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your spouses shall commit adultery.  I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredom, nor your spouses when they commit adultery: for themselves are separated with whores, and they sacrifice with harlots: therefore the people that doth not understand shall fall.” Hosea 4:13-14

Men need to learn that their wives and children soon follow their example.  In this way wives and daughters of Israel became polluted.  The fathers had not taken their God-given leadership roles in leading their families to righteousness; instead they led them to perversion, and their immorality would be their judgment.

“Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend; and come not ye unto Gilgal, neither go ye up to Bethaven, nor swear, ‘The LORD liveth.’  For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in a large place.  Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.  Their drink is sour: they have committed whoredom continually: her rulers with shame do love, ‘Give ye.’  The wind hath bound her up in her wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.” Hosea 4:15-19

“Listen up Judah.”  Hosea probably sees some of the Judeans in the crowd at the gates, and warns them of the plight of Israel.  For clarity “Ephraim” is another name for the Northern kingdom of Israel.

Bethel is now called “Bethaven”.  The place had gone from “The house of God”,  to the decadence of “The house of deception”.  Gilgal and Bethaven were places of calf worship.  To go to these places of idolatry, and declare, “The LORD liveth” was an evil act of hypocrisy, and was despised by God.

They loved their shame rather than the glory of God.  Their glory is God.  They refuse the way of God, thus, they incur the wrath of God upon themselves.

Paul the apostle writes to Timothy; a young pastor, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”  Let those today who claim “I am a disciple of Christ” or “I am a Christian” depart from this iniquitous society.  How can we do that?  By not participating in the wicked, mind killing, mind stealing acts of the world and society.

If you have been in this way of life there is hope for all who will trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross – His death, His burial and His resurrection.  He has promised also to come again.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Pride, Liquor, and Injustice

Six ‘Woes’ have been announced against the wicked. And, that is the wicked of Judah. These are woes against the people who have proclaimed themselves to be the ‘People of God’.

The fifth and the sixth we will look at together in this commentary of woes. There has been one ‘woe’ already announced against them for their seeking after ‘Wine and strong drink’ (v. 11), that was the second one. These latter two seem to be dealing with men of influence; men who make judgments. These are people in the courts or some position of authority. The fifth one basically deals with “Pride” which leads to a fall. Whether it is the common man or woman, or a person of influence makes no difference when it comes to ‘Pride’; God hates it.

There is an arrogance which Isaiah is speaking to. Boasting of their drinking, as though it is some heroic thing. It seems to be that way in American society these days. There is an arrogance toward alcoholic drink. If you do not imbibe in the poison you cannot be up with things. It is as though a man is no man unless he downs a beer, or maybe a case or two a week, and maybe in some instances a case per day. I hope that would be rare, but fear that it is not.

“Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!” Isaiah 5:21-23 (KJV)

“Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight! Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right!” Isaiah 5:21-23 (ESV).

Pride will not only be the fall of individuals who exalt themselves against the will and Word of God, but it will also be the fall of any nation who allows it to continue unabated. It is pride and arrogance which causes men and women to exalt their own opinions over that of God. It is also pride and arrogance which will allow men to accept bribes in order to give the one with the money power over those who have none.

These arrogant fools were taking material gain, and depriving the innocent of their right to justice. Do you ever wonder, “Are these things done in the great nation of the United States of America?” You and I both know that it is. The liquor industry pays big dollars in taxes into our government. They also have a lot of political power with the men and women of Congress, the Senate, and all the national powers. May God forgive our wickedness. There is more bribery than that though, where individual judges, and other rulers have taken and are taking bribes so the wealthy can have their way.

May God forgive a nation that gives more rights to those who have and acquit the guilty because of wealth, but condemn the innocent who have no wealth.

There is a much better and a clear way, and that is with a sober mind and heart for God.  Leadership by liquor is devastation, and quickly brings homes, communities, and countries to the gutter.  The better way is the filling of the Spirit of God, and is accessible through faith in Jesus Christ, His death on the cross, His burial, and bodily resurrection.  Call on His name, believing, and you will be saved; then walk in His Spirit.

Earlier I wrote “…when it comes to ‘Pride’; God hates it”. I know that because He says He does. In Proverbs 6:16-19 there are seven things listed which God hates, and it seems that these seven things are a small example of all the things that God hates. The very first on the list is, “A proud look”. A proud look is basically being full of one’s self, needing no one (especially God), or nothing else. Pride will be our own undoing, unless we fall on our knees in full surrender to the God who made all things. Jesus Christ His Son is the only way to fully acknowledge Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Standing In The Fire

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:13-16 (KJV)

Considering that we are Christian by faith in Jesus Christ and His death, burial and resurrection, and promised coming again; and that there are going to be trials and tribulations; which our Lord warned us of; how then should we live in this world? We are given guidance, counsel, and commandments as how we should live. It is really summed up in one short sentence – “Be ye holy, for I am holy”.

Peter addresses this matter beginning with the mind. The mind is the place of our thought processes. The mind is full of imagination both good and evil. There must be a “Girding up” of the mind. That is, bring it under control. A picture can be given concerning the ancient men of Bible days. When they were in a hurry and had to run; for an emergency, to get a message to an important person as quickly as possible, or even when defending one’s home – the men of that day wore robe type garments – they would take the bottom of their robes and tuck them into their belt, shortening the robe, and giving their legs room to move.

The “Gird up of the mind” would be just taking control of your thinking. Directing your mind toward wholesome thinking, pure thinking, godly thinking. You could even say, “Pull in all the loose ends”, so as not to leave something that will cause you to stumble later. Keep the mind on the things of God. Even for the Christian man or woman the mind can be a playground for evil. We need to guard the mind and keep it for God. If we do not do so, then, when evil temptations approach us, we will not be able to stand. None of us are without temptations.

The second thing we are told by Peter is “Be sober”. Those of us who do not drink alcoholic beverage may think, “Well, I don’t have anything to worry about there”; O yes we do. This has nothing to do with alcohol. It does have to do with the ability to think clearly. It would involve not allowing any substance influencing our thoughts; be it legal or illegal drugs, and that does include beverage alcohol. You will not be thinking clearly, or soberly when you have been influenced by the world’s drink, and other drugs. The MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE note for this verse, and this word states, “Be sober. Spiritual sober-mindedness includes the ideas of steadfastness, self-control, clarity of mind, and moral decisiveness. The sober Christian is correctly in charge of his priorities and not intoxicated with various allurements of the world.” These allurements can be an intoxication with finances, sports, technology, etc., anything that will lure the thoughts away from clear thinking.

Our hope should rest upon the promise of the return of our Lord and Savior. This is a teaching which is becoming less and less taught in some churches. It is called the “Blessed hope”, and that should be a light that brightens our eyes and our lives. When our Lord instituted the Lord’s Supper, He said, “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29 NKJV). Jesus also said; concerning this Supper, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19), and 1 Corinthians Paul writes, “For as often as you eath this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (11:26). The revelation of Jesus Christ is much more than Him coming into your life to live. He is coming again with that same body He was raised and glorified through, in the resurrection.

When we go to a home where children are running about without a disciplinary hand, and there just seems to be chaos in the home we usually do not think to highly of those parents parenting skills. When you see them in the stores shopping they will be the children screaming for this toy, that game, or that particular set of clothing. Sometimes they will scream and carry on until they get it. No discipline in the home. Parents who allow that will usually not be looked upon as good parents. They will usually be ones who will say things like, “Kids will be kids”, or “We just can’t do anything with them”. However, when you go into a home and there are children who listen to their parents, and Mom tells them to sit and be quiet and they obey, or Dad tells them to put their toys away and they do it without fuss, you know you have come into a well disciplined home. We, as Christians, are the children of God. How does the world view the household of God? Are we obedient, well behaved, showing forth the good name of our Father? With girded up loins of the mind, having a sober mind, and having our hope firmly upon the promise of the coming of Jesus we will be obedient children. Obedient children will be putting away the former lusts which we practiced in our ignorance of godliness. It is from the hand of the loving Father who gave His love and paid the price for our sins, that we are able to love Him in return and know that we have everlasting life and His love forevermore.

The conduct of the Christian is to be in holiness. For some reason there are many who profess Jesus as Savior, but will not submit to His Lordship. Some of these call themselves “Free Grace” believers. I have a word for them. Grace is not free – It costs God the best that He had, and that was the life of His Son. If you have not submitted to Him as your Lord, then, He is not your Savior. Some one said it like this, “If He is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all”. His commandment is to be holy. “Be holy, for I am holy”. Jesus Himself said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV). Will He know you by the change that has taken place in your life by grace, through your faith that works?

Somewhere around the latter part of the sixth century B.C. there were three Hebrew young men who literally stood in the fire. They were Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Daniel 3). They stood their ground in faith. No matter what may come – they stood by faith. They are forever remembered for the stand they took. They stood in the fire of Nebuchadnezzar, and we can stand in the fires of our testing only as we yield to Him our body, soul and mind. These three young men had girded up the loins of their minds, they were thinking clearly; they were not under the influence of any drug, but under the influence of the Spirit of God. They were remembering a greater purpose and Being than themselves. They knew it was not about them, but about God, His plans, purposes, and His glory. They chose to be holy. They chose to live and die if need be, for God. That is what the Christian must be and do.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Drink Offering Empty Hope

You can’t tell it by the commercials or to listen to some news commentators or morning show hosts, but there is a drink which seems to be the beverage of celebrities, and those famous and those not so famous, even the infamous. There seems to be a power it holds over those who relish its mystique, its smoothness, its seeming beauty and flow.

Commercials make it look as though it is the best looking, most successful, and most life enjoying people who party with the drink, and they seem Oh so happy. My question to that is: If you are happy why do you need the drug of alcohol? Why does one need the alcohol when life is at is best? The answer to that is: You don’t.

Contrary to what many Christian leaders are saying there is much in the Bible that will give wisdom concerning the avoidance of beverage alcohol. Some would say well there are medicinal qualities in Red Wine, and there is plenty of evidence from scientific studies, that shows that the red grape, and red grape juice has the very same medicinal qualities as Red Wine without the alcohol. The alcohol is a means of false hope, and false courage.

Hear what the writer of Proverbs says concerning the beverage alcohol of wine –

“Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour 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. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.” Proverbs 23:29-35 (KJV)

Remember I realize that there is no Scripture which says to us, “Thou shalt not drink beverage alcohol”, or anything similar to that, however, there is plenty of practical evidence to show us the evils of drinking the beverage. I have given that to you previously in the drunkenness of Noah, and Lot. I have also shown you that God has commended a family for never putting alcoholic beverage to their mouths (Jeremiah 35), but you will find no such commendation for any who drink that with an empty hope. Since the Bible does not specifically forbid drinking beverage alcohol, then maybe we can use that argument for a lot of other things as well. Let’s justify abortion, by saying, “The Bible doesn’t say, ‘Thou shalt not commit abortion”. The individual who is for abortion could rationalize and say, ‘Well then, since this is not a person, not an individual, then I can rid myself of it”. The man who wants to have more than one wife can rationalize, “Since the Bible doesn’t forbid polygmy, then I can have all the wives I want”. The man who wants to view pornography can rationalize the same way, since “The Bible does not say…” Some have argued and say, “These are strawmen”, very well then the argument for rationalizing the drinking of beverage alcohol is strawman thinking as well.

Notice what the writer of Proverbs says about the affects it has on the drinker of the woes; The ones who “tarry long at the wine have woes, sorrows, contentions, babblings, wounds without cause (probably caused by stumbling, falling, etc.), and red eyes. The alcohol controls their lives, their thinking, and their health. How can we as Christians sit and justify the Beverage with false hopes when we see so many teens who are killed by it, and their parents killed by it. It is foolish for the Christian to argue over the “right to drink”, and call it legalism when we should be opposed to all that is directly harmful to the human race.

When the soft wine is not enough the wine drinker usually will go after the stronger drink; the mixed wine. The phrase “Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth its color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.” is speaking clearly of alcoholic beverage. It is clearly said, “Look not thou upon the wine…” Does that mean if you close your eyes before you drink then that is okay? Don’t kid yourself. It means don’t drink it. How much clearer can it get. This is speaking of the wine when it has turned alcoholic.

Notice the results of the one who passes by these verses, ignores God’s warnings, and the consequences they suffer: 1) It bites like a serpent – the serpent is sneaky, beautifully deceitful, and poisonous and will kill; 2) It causes eyes that were not lustful before to become lustful, and a man can find himself with a strange woman, not his wife; 3) language one has never spoke will come from the mouth, because they have a perceived courage they never had, and can even find themselves cursing and blaspheming God; 4) One will find themselves unable to stand, it would be similar to a man who is out on the open sea for the first time in rushing, rising and falling waves, and sickness sets in; 5) will have the marks of being beaten senseless yet not have felt it; and 6) senselessly seek to do it again.

What is the point of drinking beverage alcohol? It is popular, it seems to offer prestige, it seems to offer power. With the exception of “popular” the other two are just outright lies of deception. The man or woman who refuses to drink alcoholic beverage is the one who holds the real power. They have the power to say no to the crowd. They will be admired for their strength and courage. Now that would really be prestige, and prestige worth having.

The wisdom of God is DON’T DRINK beverage alcohol. Drink the water of life that flows from Jesus Christ Himself.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Perils of Friendship With the World (2)

“Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” Genesis 19:24-26 (KJV)

With Lot and what there is of his family safe in Zoar the LORD sends down the rain of fire and brimstone. This brimstone could refer to sulfur which will itself burn, with an unseen flame. It could refer to several different flammable substances. The picture we are given seems to be that of falling substance from the skies. It was in the form of visible flames, and hot, with hard substance as well forming a crushing effect as it hit the cities, and the lands, of the plain. No living person would want to remain in that kind of tragic environment. It would mean certain death.

Some have located the previous area of the cities of Sodom on the Southern end of the Dead Sea. The area is evidently under water. That would actually mean that the judgment was what formed the Dead Sea, or at least a portion of it. According to some archaeological people these cities were destroyed by volcanic eruption or something along that line of thought. It seems that no one wants to acknowledge that God judges sin and rebellion.

The Bible says, and this is our final authority, “Then the LORD rained upon Sodom…” When will those who profess the name of Jesus begin to realize that God still judges sin. When we live in a profligate nation, where sin is more a joke than a problem, and we start seeing tragedies of all sorts begin, surely that should make us wonder. It seems that when sin is on the increase, and mocked at, and promoted as being a normal part of life, then earthquakes will increase, wild storms of wind, and rain continue to increase, but the “scientist” will tell us these are only natural phenomena and is due to today’s popular event called “global warming”. Whether we want to admit it or not all these things are due to sin in the first place; from the sin of Adam and Eve to our sins today; we all stand guilty before God. It is only His hand that keeps this world from flying apart, and when these things begin happening; it is due to His hand gradually being removed. Gradually being removed so as to warn us, and turn our hearts toward Him.

There was not much warning for the cities of Sodom, except what Lot provided for his sons-in-law. The people of Sodom and the plains had the testimony of creation, ie., the stars, the sun and the moon, the singing birds, and all flying fowl. As the Psalmist wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1). They had the witness of Lot and his family, though it may have been a weak one; he was still a witness, which can be used against them. Lot was evidently afflicted by the sins of this city, “And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:” 2 Peter 2:7. We can see that Lot did have a hatred for the sins of his culture. Remember how he sought to protect the visitors from harm by the people of the city.

God so hated the sins of Sodom and cities of the plain that He destroyed all the inhabitants of those cities. They were polluted by immorality, and they were full of themselves, as we saw in Ezekiel 16:49-50. When people get too full of themselves they have no room for God, and God, according to His Word is a jealous God; no matter what Oprah thinks. Nothing much grows where these cities once stood.

One woman has been immortalized by Jesus in a far different way than anyone would want to be. Her name was lost with Lot and His daughters, because we don’t know it. God had warned Lot, his wife, and their two daughters, “Escape for thy life; look not behind thee…”, and it was after they were all safely in Zoar, the city that was protected because of Lot’s plea with the visitors, that the judgment fell upon their city. For whatever reason she “looked back”, and became a “Pillar of salt”. Jesus refers to Lot’s wife in the Gospel of Luke: “Remember Lot’s wife.” (17:32). It is not mentioned why she looked back, and I don’t think we can go far wrong in bringing some things to light concerning her backwards look. First of all, her heart was still in Sodom; maybe it could be daughters who never came with them, the sons-in-law, and maybe grandchildren. Secondly, her heart could have still been there because of the power and popularity she and Lot had in the city, and she just couldn’t leave that behind. A third thing, could have been their wealth; by this time, the years they had spent there they could have achieved much material gains, gold, silver, jewels, precious garments, and the lifestyle they lived was comfortable; she was leaving it all behind. Remember Jesus’s words, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:21. Someone has said of Lot’s wife, “She became in death, what she never was in life. Salt.” The warning of Lot’s wife stands for all time to all who will cherish the physical and material over the Word and will of God.

“And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD: And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace. And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt.” Genesis 19:27-29 (KJV)

The morning of Lot’s deliverance, and at about the time of the destruction of the cities, Abraham got up early in the morning and went to the place where he had stood with the LORD probably just the day before, and looked toward the direction of Lot’s location; the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and he saw the smoke billowing up through the air and the sky. I am sure Abraham’s heart must have sped up and skipped, and practically stopped. There were surely tears in his eyes knowing the hundreds, thousands of human lives that were given in judgment that day. Abraham surely believed that Lot and his family, or at least some of them had been spared; he was trusting the LORD for that matter and God would not fail.

Is there anything wrong with godly people grieving over the loss of human life even when it is known to be the judgment of God? It would seem to me to be ungodly not to grieve. Though “God is angry with the wicked everyday” (Psalm 7:11); He does not desire to destroy them but to save them. Hear the prophet Ezekiel: “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways and live?” (18:23), and once more, “For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and and live ye.” (18:32). It seems quite clear that God grieves in the judgment too. We can rejoice in that God is glorified in the judgment of sin. We can rejoice when justice is carried out, and God is glorified. We must remember this world and this life is not about us; it is, however about Almighty God, and His glory.

“And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth: Come, et us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day. And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.” Genesis 19:30-38 (KJV)

 

Zoar was a city of the plains which was spared from the judgment of God. To those in “science” who would proclaim that “This was just a volcanic eruption” would have a hard time explaining how this city was kept from the judgment, and it is just a short distance from the Southern end of the Dead Sea. God’s grace is truly sufficient.

Why Lot feared dwelling in Zoar we are not told. It does tell us that he was fearful there, so he went and lived in a cave. Maybe he was fearful because the people there thought Lot was responsible for the deaths of so many, or at least he may have thought they were thinking that, and fled for his life. We often do not realize it but fear has a very crippling and disabling affect on us. It causes us to flee when nothing pursues us. The writer of Proverbs wrote, “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.” (28:1). When our hearts are not with God, that is usually when we are fearful. That is our weakest time, and that is when we flee. To what we have no idea, we just must flee, and it is most likely into more fearful surroundings, and into sin.

We would surely mostly admit that a cave would not be as comfortable as a home in a city. There is much evidence of what happens when we start living with fear. The people of the city of Zoar may have despised Lot, thinking that he was responsible for the demise of the other cities, and maybe accusing him of that, and he may have had just a paranoia thinking such things. Even though he was delivered to this city by God he grows in fear. Fear in the heart shouts loudly and clearly that things are not right with you and God. When you are in the Spirit of God, walking with Him, and doing His will there is no fear, but rather “peace, love, joy…”. John the apostle tells us, “Perfect love casteth out fear” (1 John 4:18), and we need to know that when we have the proper fear of God, there is no need to fear anything else.

This fear led him to withdraw from the city. Some of the fear may have been that God would destroy this city too. If that be true then Lot’s faith is certainly wavering, and he is gravely in doubt. God had brought him here and saved this city from destruction, why would he now destroy it? He went to a cave with his two daughters. The daughters determined that they needed to have babies, if their race of people were to continue. They devised a plot of getting Lot drunk, getting him in their beds or them into his. Lot may have not noticed the special treatment, the wine, the excess, because he was hurting from the death of his wife, and most of all he was fearful. Fear mixed with sorrow are two of the strongest emotions that can ruin and take control of our thinking. They can get us to the place of amusements; and it would do us good to do a word study here. The word “Muse” means “thought” or “thinking”. When you add the “a” to a word it usually means basically “No”. When you put these two together you have the meaning of “No thinking” or “No thought”. Amusement is usually for the purpose of taking our minds off of problems, and thus that is what has happened to Lot. From Lot we should learn how our fear, our emotions, and our amusements can so easily detract us from the direction and path of holiness, and righteous living in Christ our Lord and Savior.

There is a lot to be said for sobriety, and sober thinking. Without it you end up with fathers having incestual relationships with daughters, mothers having incestual relationships with sons, cars careening out of control killing an innocent family driving down the highway, on their way to grandma’s house. Without sober thinking you will have step fathers raping and killing their step daughters, and /or their sons. There is really no limit to what evil can come from drunkenness. As a result of this debauchery Lot fathers two of his own grandchildren. One of them is Moab which becomes a nation which hates Israel, desires to curse Israel, hires a false prophet to do so, brings immorality into Israel and a plague ensues (Numbers 22-25). The other son/grandson born to Lot by his younger daughter is named Ben-ammi and these are the Ammonites which also hated Israel. But, then, these were only personal choices; no one was hurt by them were they??? Think again.

Moses, in his writing the Pentateuch wrote, “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). I think he knew what he was writing.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Wine is a Mocker…

Wine is a Mocker…

“Let’s go and have a drink”, says one friend to another, as they are departing from their workplace. Most times, in the like scenario, of course, this term “drink” is used in reference to the alcoholic version of various drinks. When we live in a world where there are thousands of people killed on our highways each year due to too much alcoholic drinking, the damage it does to families, the work place, medical care, and individual lives why is it even tolerated by civil countries and the laws of our land?

It is not just tolerated, but it is indulged in, and made to appear glamorous, by even those who don’t drink the brews, and wines. How can a alcoholic drink be indulged in by those who don’t drink? When it is not spoken out against. When it is laughed at. When it is seen as a means to the ending of our miseries, or laughingly referred to as medicinal.

“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Proverbs 20:1 (KJV)

It is sad to admit, there are however, many people, even professing Christians who have been deceived by the venom of alcohol. Those who refuse to speak against the evils of alcoholic drink, and the debauchery, and vile living that comes from the lives of the people who are ruled by the beverage of choice for many “law abiding” adults. There is an element of Christianity even defending the “right to drink”, and that “The Bible says nothing against drinking of alcoholic beverage”. NO! There is no direct commandment to avoid alcoholic beverage in the Bible, but to use that as a right to do so is foolish thinking.

There are several things not named in the Bible that should definitely be avoided by Christians, and pastors and preachers should be speaking against. For example; there is pornography – the vile and evil use of the bodies of others to make pictures and films of people in the acts of things that should be kept in private. There is also the act of abortion – the murderous act of killing the innocent human baby before they are ever born. There is slavery, are we going to advocate slavery because the Bible tells us how to treat those who are enslaved to us? I would hope not. Someone will probably start crying out, “That is straw men,” so be it, it is based on principles of Scripture. Are you going to burn them, because they wreak havoc on your excuses for alcoholic drink?

Let’s look at the verse of this topic. Proverbs 20:1 warns us clearly of wine being a mocker. Strong’s gives us the meaning of the word mocker in Hebrew to be;

  • H3887 – lûts loots A primitive root; properly to make mouths at, that is, to scoff; hence (from the effort to pronounce a foreign language) to interpret, or (generally) intercede: – ambassador, have in derision, interpreter, make a mock, mocker, scorn (-er, -ful), teacher”. In looking at this meaning it would seem to me that alcoholic wine, [that is the meaning of the word “wine” in this verse]; makes a mockery out of whatever it touches.
  • “Wine” – “H3196: yayin yah’-yin From an unused root meaning to effervesce; wine (as fermented); by implication intoxication: – banqueting, wine, wine [-bibber].If one is not a fool when one drinks the beverage, they will soon be one, especially should they allow the beverage to take control. The wisest choice is to refuse to drink something, or use anything that could take over your mind and body. When you do not touch and drink the beverage alcohol you can never become drunk.Mockery is the act of treating with contempt or ridicule; to defy; to delude; to mimic in sport or derision. Isn’t there enough problems within Christianity today without adding one more item to our shamefulness.

    The verse above also tells us that “Strong drink is raging”.

     

    • “Strong drink” = “H7941

    • shêkâr; shay-kawr’; From H7937; an intoxicant, that is, intensely alcoholic liquor: – strong drink, + drunkard, strong wine.”
    • H7937 – shâkar; shaw-kar’; A primitive root; to become tipsy; in a qualified sense, to satiate with a stimulating drink or (figuratively) influence. (Superlative of H8248.): – (be filled with) drink (abundantly), (be, make) drunk (-en), be merry. [Superlative of H8248.]The purposeful making and distribution of strong alcohol for the very purpose of drunkenness. When people are under the influence of beverage alcohol they are not in control. Men and women under the influence will say and do things they would not normally say or do. Otherwise “good men” or “good women” can be turned into violent, immoral, raging, animalistic creatures they would not otherwise be. It is no wonder that wine is a mocker… 

        • “Raging” = “H1993

          hâmâh; haw-maw’; A primitive root (compare H1949); to make a loud sound (like English “hum”); by implication to be in great commotion or tumult, to rage, war, moan, clamor: – clamorous, concourse, cry aloud, be disquieted, loud, mourn, be moved, make a noise, rage, roar, sound, be troubled, make in tumult, tumultuous, be in an uproar.

        Since the book of Proverbs is a book of wisdom it seems that these two items, “Wine” and “Strong drink” cannot be associated with wisdom. How can one be wise in even taking a drink of something that might cause drunkenness which is directly forbidden by Scripture? Someone has brought the issue of sexual relations between a husband and a wife into the argument of beverage alcohol. The statement going something like this, “God gave the sexual union between a husband and wife for both pro-creation, and pleasure. If one enjoys sexual relations too much does that mean it is evil?” Asking the question, at least in the way I phrase it seems almost ludicrous, and to compare the two is ludicrous. We have been commanded to pro-create, and to enjoy our spouses, but there is no commandment to enjoy wine. Some even go to Jesus’s turning “water into wine” of John chapter two; His very first miracle; and argue that if Jesus turned water into wine, then it must be okay. I am not going to discuss that right now, however I will add this; if the wine is a mocker according to Old Testament Scripture, and it is wrong to “Look on the wine when it moveth itself aright in the cup…” (Proverbs 23:31), then, how could Jesus violate Scripture by making alcoholic beverage? A violation of His own Word is what He would be doing. He does not violate His Word.Surely in an age of undisciplined behavior in children, youth and adults we as Christians need to say, and cry boldly that beverage alcohol is evil, and there is no place for it in the lives of Christian people. One more thought before I close. Why is it when a man or woman who has been an alcoholic and a drunk, when they receive Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior will turn away from and put away all alcoholic beverages? Yet, so called Christian leaders argue for moderation. Where is the leadership in that? Surely “Wine is a mocker” and is mocking Christianity right now; and “Strong drink is raging”; and those influenced by it are fighting against all that is good and godly, and espousing evil, as it is allowed into the homes of the deceived.

        It seems that the devil is surely laughing at the moderation of the moderates who argue for freedom of beverages. May God help us to believe the Word of the LORD, and shun all that is evil and that wreaks evil in the lives of our leaders, and the people.

        -Tim A. Blankenship

        Lot’s Drunkenness

        Lot’s Inebriation

        In this study of beverage alcohol and its usage I have given you one example of its bad usage; and now I give you another. As I stated in an earlier post, there is more evidence against the usage of beverage alcohol than there is commending the use of it in the Scriptures.

        The nephew of Abraham [Lot], and his family have been delivered from the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, as God has rained down judgment upon a vile and wicked people. The only thing that has saved Lot and his family is the wonder grace of Almighty God. Lot’s wife never made it, because she turned and looked back toward the city despising the warning of the angels not to do so. She has turned into a pillar of salt.

        Now the daughters of Lot conspire together to sleep with their father, because they possibly believe that there are no men left, and that they will never bear children unless they do this vile deed. Their conspiracy is to get their father drunk on wine, the elder daughter sleeping with her father the first night, and the younger the second night. Read Genesis 19:32-38.

        “Lot departed from Zoar and lived in the mountains along with his two daughters, because he was afraid to live in Zoar. Instead, he and his two daughters lived in a cave. Then the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man in the land to sleep with us [as is] the custom of all the land. Come, let’s get our father to drink wine so that we can sleep with him and preserve our father’s line.” So they got their father to drink wine that night, and the firstborn came and slept with her father; he did not know when she lay down or when she got up. The next day the firstborn said to the younger, “Look, I slept with my father last night. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight so you can go sleep with him and we can preserve our father’s line.” That night they again got their father to drink wine, and the younger went and slept with him; he did not know when she lay down or when she got up. So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. The firstborn gave birth to a son and named him Moab. He is the father of the Moabites of today. The younger also gave birth to a son, and she named him Ben-ammi. He is the father of the Ammonites of today.” Genesis 19:30-38 (HCSB)

        This man Lot would have never agreed to sleep with his daughters if his mind would have been clear to make the judgment. It was not. Lot was surely grieving for his wife, and the alcohol in the wine was surely having a numbing effect on his hurt and pain he was feeling, but that is still no excuse for his drunkenness. This act by Lot, or these acts by Lot and his daughters were acts against God and mankind. How? The sons that were born to Lot became trouble for the people of Abraham; a throne in their sides. One drunken act, or two in this case resulted in the moral failure of a nation –

        “While Israel was staying in Acacia Grove, the people began to have sexual relations with the women of Moab. The women invited them to the sacrifices for their gods, and the people ate and bowed in worship to their gods. So Israel aligned itself with Baal of Peor, and the Lord’s anger burned against Israel. The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people and execute them in broad daylight before the Lord so that His burning anger may turn away from Israel.” So Moses told Israel’s judges, “Kill each of the men who aligned themselves with Baal of Peor.” An Israelite man came bringing a Midianite woman to his relatives in the sight of Moses and the whole Israelite community while they were weeping at the entrance to the tent of meeting. When Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw [this] , he got up from the assembly, took a spear in his hand, followed the Israelite man into the tent, and drove it through both the Israelite man and the woman—through her belly. Then the plague on the Israelites was stopped, but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000.” Numbers 25:1-9 (HCSB)

        You might take that drink thinking, “Oh, one drink is not going to hurt me, or anyone else.” You may be in control as you take that drink, but somewhere, you surrender your will to the will of the drink. Then, the power of the spirits take over. At what point does this happen? Does anyone know? If they believe they know, are they sure? I don’t know, and I really don’t think anyone does, except the Almighty. Do you want to surrender your mind, your body to the control of a substance which will ruin your life, your family life, and the lives of others who know and don’t know you? When you don’t know where drunkenness takes place, why even take that first sip or drink, if that might be even the slightest possibility of drunkenness?

        Christians, we are to be sober in our thinking. That is, we are to have a clear mind and able always to make clear decisions. I don’t know about the rest of you reading this, but I have a hard enough time making clear and godly decisions without drinking any alcoholic beverage. I sure do not need any help from alcoholic beverage to numb my thinking.

        We are to always be “sober” as Christians. In the epistle of First Peter is written, “Be sober” (1 Peter 1:13; 5:8), and I know this is speaking of a spiritual mind, but can we be sober spiritually if we are not sober physically? Not in my thinking. Every drunk I have ever spoken with knows all there is to know about God, Jesus, salvation, and living, but none of these are having an influence or changing affect in their lives.

        Can any Christian honestly say that even one drink of wine at a meal has absolutely no influence in their thinking, and thinking soberly, clearly, and godly thoughts? It seems to me, that even one drink can influence one’s thought processes in the negative, not the positive. If so, then, would that not be sin against God?

        In this I am an advocate for Christians to have a clear and sober mind. Think on Christ Jesus. We do not need the mind numbing affects of beverage alcohol. Remember what happened to Lot.

        As a fallen race we have problems enough; and as being redeemed through faith in Jesus Christ what place has alcoholic beverage for those who have the New Wine in Him? It seems to me that the Christian who chooses to drink the wines of men, has so little faith in the one who desires to fill us with Himself. With Jesus we will have clear and sober minds, clean hearts, and good deeds.

        -Tim A. Blankenship

        Noah The Farmer; The Vineyard and the Wine

        Noah The Farmer; The Vineyard, and His Wine

        Anyone who would approach the study of beverage alcohol from a Biblical perspective, and would say that alcoholic beverage is not even referred to would be naive at the least and deceptive at the most. I am not going to approach it from either perspective. There is alcoholic wine in the Bible, and it was abused by godly people. Was it ever used properly? That may be an answer we will get to sometime later in these studies, conclusions, or essays.

        The title suggest something to us of Noah. Noah of the ark, who built the ark designed by God. Noah; who found grace in the eyes of the LORD. Noah; who “walked with God”. Noah; who was used by God to save humankind from destruction.

        In this post and future ones I make it no secret, my agenda is to try and persuade Christians against the use of beverage alcohol. This first post gives us a Bible example of the folly of drinking alcohol.

        Hear the example of Noah from God’s Word:

        “And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent.” Genesis 9:20 (NKJV).

        Let me say here that there is nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with grapes and grape juice. Vineyards produce grapes, and with some effort from men, they will produce grape juice; and then, with some aging the juice will ferment and become alcoholic naturally with its sugars.

        Drunkenness is clearly rebuked, and condemned by Scripture. Noah sinned by his drunkenness. Did he know that this fruit of the vine had become alcoholic, and lead to becoming drunk? Quite possibly. We learn from Noah, that even the best of juices need to be drank in moderation. Even water should be drank in moderation. The reason I bring that up is; just a several months ago, in 2007, a woman in the State of California, entered a contest seeing who could drink the most water the quickest, she won, and she died. The autopsy said she died of “Water intoxication”. Even with this though there was no harm that came to others.

        In Noah’s case harm did come to others. He brought shame on His family. He brought a curse upon his grandson, and his heirs. Noah brought shame to himself.

        “And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.” Genesis 9:21-23 (NKJV).

        Surely you can see by Noah’s drunkenness, that if you never take up the habit of drinking the wine [any beverage alcohol] you will never get drunk. You will not bring this embarrassment into your family. You will not get in a car and harm other people on the highways, and roads of our land. You will not bring shame to your name, at least in this fashion.

        There are many physicians which tell us that there are medicinal qualities in wine, and more in certain kinds of wine. One of my own doctors, after he had told me that my good cholesterol number was too low, and I asked him how to improve it told me, “Drinking a little wine would be one place to start”. For me that was completely out of the picture. I have heard the studies, which have told us that the pure fruit of the vine is just as good for those benefits, and I enjoy my daily glass of red grape juice. Grapejuice does have all the medicinal qualities that wine does. There is scientific evidence which proves it. And the juice does it without alcohol. There are no health qualities in beverage alcohol. That is no excuse for drinking, and taking the chance of getting drunk. The only medicinal use I could think of for alcohol is for cuts and bruises, and maybe for dulling of the senses when a minor surgery or something would be done without any other anesthetic available.

        Look what happened to Noah; sure he had every right to enjoy the fruits of his labor. He evidently had purposely made the wine; then he proceeded to drink the wine and very much over did himself, and became drunkened by the alcohol, then he did something he would not in his normal state of mind done. He uncovered himself openly in his tent. The thing about the drinking of anything alcoholic is that you never know how much it will take to cause you to lose your moral decision making process. How can a Christian in a society which is driven by alcohol stand in their church, or any Christian setting and argue and defend the drinking of beverage alcohol? I say “society which is driven by alcohol” because when a news channel for two years in a row on “Derby Day” gives a recipe on the making of a “mint Julip” or something like that – which is a purly strong alcoholic drink – and they live as though it is just a dream drinking the beverages; it is surely a society driven by alcohol. Many of the commercials on television and in Newspapers, and magazines are from the alcohol industry.

        Noah did not have the pressure of society to cause him to drink to drunkenness; and preachers today scream legalism when other preachers, teachers or myself tell us it is a matter of calling to righteous and holy living and protecting the name of Christ. The more the preachers speak of silence from the Scriptures concerning beverage alcohol, the more the numbers of alcoholics and drunks will increase. Whether we want to accept it or not, our silence is our approval. Your people, old and the young especially, are waiting to hear from you. Give them the facts, give them the pictures, give them the warnings from God’s Word, and trust God to work. If you are God’s man in the pulpit you have that responsibility. If you don’t you may start finding your people’s moral compasses failing; or even your own.

        I pray this will make you think before you drink. You may not be able to think afterwards.

        -Tim A. Blankenship