Steve Ellison: Who Has Sorrow?

Friday, May 31, 2019 - by Steve Ellison

In Proverbs 23:29-35 God asks a series of generic questions that are basically directed at all of us.  The questions are rhetorical.  A certain answer is expected.  He doesn’t usually spell out the answer, but He does in this case.  Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?  Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.

  Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly!  In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.  Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things.  You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging.  "They hit me," you will say, "but I'm not hurt! They beat me, but I don't feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?" (NIV)

 

Oh, how I wish that the Bible contained a verse that says pointblank, straight out, that drinking alcohol is absolutely wrong, a sin against man, and a sin against God.  But it doesn’t.  I don’t know why it doesn’t.  I can only guess (note the danger in guessing) that God intends its use in moderation to somehow be a blessing to us.  Wine is used in many places in the Bible as symbolic of joy.   However, Proverbs 9, 20, 21, 23, Leviticus 10, Romans 14, etc. point out the grave dangers of drinking alcoholic beverages especially in excess.  My observations, as a public-school teacher, coach, and as a pastor, lead me to the obvious conclusion that intoxicating agents (alcohol and other recreational drugs) are a terrible blight on society.  Without a doubt, intoxicants lead to much of our crime.  Intoxicants are contributing factors in many murders, car wrecks, child abuse cases, spousal abuse cases, accidental deaths, etc.  A desire/need to purchase intoxicants leads many to a life of thievery.  Oftentimes they steal from people they know, family members, friends, co-workers, bosses, etc.  Thus, they destroy relationships, ostracizing themselves from the only people who have a reasonable chance of helping them to deal with their real problem.  As I think back over my lifetime, I do not remember ever seeing a situation where intoxicants were a blessing to anyone involved.  I do, however, recall myriads upon myriads of times where intoxicants were the direct cause of tragedies.

 

Nine years ago, I visited a man in a local hospital who was many years younger than me.  He was in intensive care, close to death, unable to communicate, unable to eat.  He had no injury or sickness other than that caused by excessive alcohol consumption.  He was following in the footsteps of his father.   Words of comfort to his mother and his daughter were impossible to find.  Preaching his funeral was a tough task.  That same week, I met with another young father trying to stave off the downward spiral of his life.  He arrived with the smell of beer on his breath and admitted to drinking prior to driving to the church.  Confronting that situation was necessary but difficult and ultimately proved futile.

 

What should I have said each week as the needy came into our food pantry, when it was painfully obvious that their use of intoxicants had brought them to the lowest levels of poverty?  What can I say to the man whose use of intoxicants in moderation is not a problem for him but leads his child to use in excess? It seems to me that Proverbs 23, etc. make it plain that a man or a woman ought to treat intoxicants as they would a poisonous snake.


Keith Baptist Church Announces Patriotic Concert And VBS In July

Longtime North Chattanooga Church Of God Pastor, State Parole Board Chairman Marshall Roberson Dies At 97

Steve Ellison: Staggering Toward Slaughter


Keith Baptist Church, 1573 Keith Road in the Ringgold/Tunnel Hill area of Catoosa County, will present the patriotic cantata, "I Love This Land," by Russell Mauldin and Sue C. Smith, on July ... (click for more)

Longtime North Chattanooga Church of God pastor Marshall Roberson has died at a Cleveland, Tn., hospital. He was one week away from celebrating his 98th birthday. Dr. Roberson was born ... (click for more)

In Proverbs 24, God asks you and me a very significant and difficult to answer question with eternal consequences. We should consider our answer very carefully. We also ought to understand that ... (click for more)


Church

Keith Baptist Church Announces Patriotic Concert And VBS In July

Keith Baptist Church, 1573 Keith Road in the Ringgold/Tunnel Hill area of Catoosa County, will present the patriotic cantata, "I Love This Land," by Russell Mauldin and Sue C. Smith, on July 7 at 11 a.m. Vacation Bible School at Keith Baptist Church will be held on Wednesday, July 17 through Friday, July 19 from 6-8 p.m. nightly. This year, the children will participate in ... (click for more)

Longtime North Chattanooga Church Of God Pastor, State Parole Board Chairman Marshall Roberson Dies At 97

Longtime North Chattanooga Church of God pastor Marshall Roberson has died at a Cleveland, Tn., hospital. He was one week away from celebrating his 98th birthday. Dr. Roberson was born and raised in Cleveland. He attended Bradley Central High School and has been a member of the North Cleveland Church of God for the last 20 years. He was also a 50-year plus member of the ... (click for more)

Breaking News

City Council Expanding Some Territory For Short Term Vacation Rentals; Approves No-Tax-Increase Budget

City Council members are eyeing changes in the popular short term vacation rental business, including some likely expansion of district boundaries. Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod said one change she is seeking soon is to allow the rentals on the opposite side of Pinewood Lane. She also said at one section of Eastdale there are four residents interested in setting up the rentals. ... (click for more)

Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod Says Black People "Can Come Downtown"; Says BID Has Nothing About "Black Removal"

City Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod said Tuesday she is tired of some individuals saying that creation of a Business Improvement District (BID) means black people can't come downtown. She said, "I'm tired of the fact that the plight of black people is being used when it comes to those type conversations." She said, "We can come downtown. There are black people walking downtown ... (click for more)

Opinion

Why I Support Funding The Proposed Budget - And Response

Dear Commissioners of Hamilton County, I attended the District 3 community meeting with Commissioner Greg Martin and School Board Chairman Joe Wingate, who was filling in for District 3 Rep. Joe Smith. Commissioner Martin stated he had not made up his mind on how to vote for the tax increase at that time. He requested thoughtful input on why the citizens of his district wanted ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: VW Needs Big Repairs

The banner headline on Monday morning read, “Gov. Lee, top Republicans celebrate failed UAW bid to unionize Volkswagen,” and that’s the second-worst thing that the headline could have said. The worst, of course, is if the UAW had won, and the Detroit-based union that lost 35,000 members last year would be revived -- breaking a hole into the tight wall of foreign-owned auto assembly ... (click for more)