Alcohol Impairs Judgment
‘Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. Proverbs 31:5’
Alcohol, by depressing the central nervous system, impairs human judgment. Those in authority must use it very prudently. While the relaxing effect is excellent for men in physical or emotional pain (Pr 31:6-7), it is dangerous for kings, princes, or other rulers, who must strictly control their thoughts and words to protect others (Pr 31:4-5). King Lemuel’s mother warned him about wine and strong drink in his ruling position (Pr 31:1).
The other half of this proverb reads, “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink” (Pr 31:4). Lemuel’s mother warned that the duties of high offices limit the use of wine and strong drink, even if they are liberally allowed to others (Pr 31:6-7). Kings and princes must apply laws consistently and fairly and make just and right judgments. Too much wine could hinder them in these duties.
Wine can alter awareness, control, judgment, and sobriety. Solomon told its sinful effect on sight, heart, and speech (Pr 23:33). This effect is called being under the influence. Alcohol impairs the judgment of drivers, leading to many fatal accidents, so driving in such a condition is punished. Anyone who must make quick and intelligent decisions, whether a boss, a judge, or a pilot, is strictly warned against the use of alcohol while on the job. Many children have also suffered from imprudent fathers, who made terrible decisions while under the influence of alcohol.
A man in authority must use all his wits, heart, and soul to give righteous judgment and avoid judging merely by appearance (Ex 18:21; II Chr 19:5-10; John 7:24). Rulers were ordained by God to punish evildoers and reward good behavior (Rom 13:1-4; I Pet 2:13-14). But this high and honorable intent will be destroyed, if the ruler is intoxicated and thereby angry, blinded, confused, distracted, emotional, hasty, impulsive, or partial.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect King! Though He appreciated wine as the gift of God (Ps 104:14-15; Luke 7:33-34; John 2:1-11), He never compromised righteousness, mercy, or truth (John 7:46; 8:29; Heb 1:9; 7:26). If you are in a position of authority or leadership, make sure you restrain your use of wine and strong drink, lest you pervert your privileged position. Let the high King of heaven be your holy example and guide.