Today’s Scripture: But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. Isaiah 28:7

The truth is, when we have an overview of the Old Testament information on this word for wine – yayin – we see that God created the vineyard to be a blessing to His creatures as a wholesome drink without a warning that excess would cause drunkenness. The obvious truth that projects itself is that God’s approval was always concerning grape juice – non-intoxicating wine – never intoxicating wine.

Yayin has its good and its abuse, its benefits and its curse, its acceptance in God’s sight and its abhorrence. In the Old Testament we see that it may gladden the heart of man (Psalm 104:15) or cause his mind to err (Isaiah 28:7). It can be associated with merriment (Ecclesiastes 10:19) or anger (Isaiah 5:11). It can be used to uncover the shame of Noah, or in the hands of Melchizadek to honor Abraham. Wine may represent that which God himself has prepared (Proverbs 9:5) and which He offers to as many as will receive it from His hand (Isaiah 55:1). Yet on the other hand, God equates it with the intoxicating influence of Babylon, and that brings ruin.

Passages in the book of Proverbs speak specifically about this problem. Proverbs is a book of wisdom. It is a book that teaches the avoidance of yayin. That is consistent with wisdom, yet we read of wisdom serving yayin, so how does this work? How can this make sense?

The only way it can make sense is that it is referring to one of two kinds of beverages. Wine itself is the mocker. It doesn’t mention the quantity involved. It is God’s indictment on the drink, not just the drinking. These statements do not give any support whatsoever to so-called “moderate drinking.”

So, we have mocker, deceiver, false promises, slavery. How does it mock? The book of Proverbs gives several answers, one it mocks as a wine of violence. We see sorrow, contentions, babbling, wounds without cause, these are all effects of yayin in Proverbs.

Devotional by Jim Scudder, Jr.