Today’s Scripture: 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 23:32-33

Suppose there was a chemical factory that was malfunctioning, leaking off lethal poison. The poison would destroy the central nervous system so that the victims would die slowly but surely. The news media would warn the public of the symptoms of nausea, headaches, blackouts, disorientation, and death. But that’s exactly what is happening with alcohol.

How is alcohol digested? Alcohol is digested very simply. There’s no preparation, there’s no need for digestive juices, acids, or enzymes. Once the alcohol reaches the stomach, the absorption process begins. After a few sips of whiskey, beer, or wine, alcohol can be detected in the blood within two or three minutes. That’s how quickly the body can process alcohol. Some is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the walls of the stomach, the rest through the small intestines. The bloodstream carries the alcohol rapidly to every part of the body. It takes just as long for the beer drinker to get rid of the effects as it does for the wine or liquor drinker. Again, alcohol is alcohol. It’s the amount of alcohol consumed that is the issue.

How dangerous is it to our body? A person may experience flushing, dizziness, dulling of senses, or impairment of coordination, reflexes, and judgment. Taken in large quantities, alcohol may produce staggering, slurred speech, double vision, sudden mood changes and unconsciousness. Taken in larger quantities over a period of time, death may occur due to depression of the parts of the brain that control breathing and heart rate. It can cause damage to the liver, heart, and pancreas. It can lead to malnutrition, stomach irritation, lowered resistance to disease, and irreversible brain damage or nervous system damage.

Can it kill us? I think we’ve read enough to know that it can, but a large dose of alcohol, which can be as little as a pint or less of whiskey, consumed at once can interfere with the part of the brain that controls our breathing. The respiratory failure which would result can bring death. Delirium tremens, which is the most extreme manifestation of alcohol withdrawal, can cause death. On average, heavy drinkers shorten their lifespan by ten years.

You might argue that you will never become an alcoholic. But Christian, why would you willingly put something into your body that could lead to these things? As the temple of the Holy Spirit, we should strive to keep that temple pure for Him.

Devotional by Jim Scudder, Jr.