Sunday, January 26, 2014

Grapes, Hops and Happiness

It was an unpleasant outcome to a marvellous day. The sons of Aaron, with their dad had just been set apart for their duties. Seven days of instruction preceded ordination. Part of their teaching dealt with doing things by God’s word. God had stressed the importance of holiness and how to approach Him.

Nadab and Abihu thought they knew better. They made up their own incense and fire believing it was good enough for God. (Leviticus 10) The Lord God struck them down. What caused these two sons of Aaron to disregard the teaching and treat lightly the character of Yahweh? Leviticus 10:8–10: ‘The Lord spoke to Aaron: “Drink no wine or strong drink, neither you nor your sons, when you enter the tent of meeting, that you may not die; it is a statute forever throughout your generations. You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean.”’

The bible doesn’t condemn wine or alcoholic beverages. It does condemn drunkenness. Part of the reason can be discerned in Nadab and Abihu’s attitude and behaviour. Such drinks befuddle the mind and takes control by making the person uncontrollable. Another statute about strong drink applied to the King. Proverbs 31:4-5 ‘It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or the rulers to desire strong drink; or else they will drink and forget what has been decreed, and will pervert the rights of all the afflicted.’

Drunkenness is a killer. It destroys the mind, relationships and careers. Its curse affects children until the third or fourth generation in numerous ways. Then people blame God for a baby affected by the scourge of a parent or grandparent more addicted to beer than to holiness. In Australia binge drinking is so rife and assaults with crippling even killing punches are now so common that Governments are concerned. However apart from penalties what can be done to change the causes for such behaviour?

I’ve known many over the years in the ‘grip of the grape’ or ‘handcuffed to hops.’ They succumbed to peer pressure because they would not accept abstinence or moderation. Others looked on life as meaningless and God, if He existed, didn’t care. Hopelessness was drowned through the bottle or glass. Trouble was it kept coming back. However I’ve also known of men and women who in their desperation and desire to break free from this evil force cried out to the Lord Jesus for help. Today their testimony is about being set free, of knowing forgiveness, cleansing, meaning and hope. Some still wear the scars of their yesteryears. However the radiance of their faces, their integrity of character and faithfulness in relationships is awesome.

The reference to priests and Kings when on duty not to be affected and infected by wine or strong drink has a spiritual lesson. This is for Christians to heed. The bible tells us that followers of Christ Jesus are ‘kings and priests’ with Him. As such we are on duty 24/7 and all year round. For me, that’s a good reason, a strong incentive and a personally satisfying motive to avoid that which would otherwise destroy my mind and body.
What Paul wrote to the believers at Corinth still applies. ‘Do you not know your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.’ 1 Corinthians 6:19–20.

Holiness is the call of God to His people. Health and happiness is His gift to those who take His word seriously. One of the many great things about the Lord Jesus Christ is this! He is always ready to give your life His heavenly make–over. Why not ask Him to accept your application right now!

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