Hear, my son, and be wise,
and direct your heart in the way.
Be not among drunkards
or among gluttonous eaters of meat,
for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty,
and slumber will clothe them with rags
Do you think with your stomach? I have certainly rearranged my schedule because I’ve been hungry or thirsty. But that doesn’t make you or me a glutton or a drunk. What makes you a glutton or a drunk is binging on food or drink. A glutton can’t stop to look up from his food, and a drunk only sees the people around him when he tilts the glass high enough to drain it and sees their blurry images through the stained bottom. Food and drink, for the glutton or drunk, is their lifeline.
What is this proverb getting at then? Are we not to eat meat? Or, are we not to drink alcohol? Well, we certainly should not take either luxury to the point where we are counted among the gluttons or drunkards. But this proverb does not speak against eating meat or drinking alcohol. Instead, it points you to a life that lasts eternally: “direct[ing] your heart in the way.”
Ephesians 5:18-20 identifies “the way” saying, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
In the Beatles’ song “Golden Slumbers,” Paul McCartney sings, “once there was a way to get back homeward/once there was a way to get back home.” When you spend all your time and money on food and drink, and other things that don’t endure, you fall asleep and are led to poverty and rags. Ultimately, all the food gets eaten or goes bad and all the wine gets swallowed. You don’t have anything left and probably, in your stupor, singing with the Beatles, you forget the way home. But “the way,” which is of the Spirit through the word of God by faith in Jesus Christ who is the way (John 14:6), is life that lasts eternally and leads us all the way home to a place of perfect feasting, celebration, and rest, unstained by sin and death!
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Canavan. © 2023 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org