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verses 4-7: “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Or for rulers to desire strong drink, Lest they drink and forget what is decreed, And pervert the rights of all the afflicted. Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to him whose life is bitter. Let him drink and forget his poverty, And remember his trouble no more.”

One of my best friends and I have shared the ordeal of suffering from kidney stones. The urologist I went to advised me to stay hydrated, cut back on certain dark fluids (tea, coffee, soft drinks), and even try lemonade (which had been found to even reduce kidney stones’ size in some cases). My best friend’s doctor advised him pretty much the same…and to drink a beer. When we compared notes, I mentioned to my best friend that I would have told his doctor that I’ll have to have a plan B, as I don’t drink alcohol.

Just as this doctor advised my friend about this medicinal use of alcohol, so was the advice of the mother of King Lemuel mentioned here in chapter 31. The advice was to beware alcohol (a footnote and my Holman concordance both point to this.) Perhaps it was medically needed anesthetically for those in physical or mental pain, but as a leader, a king should avoid it (Holman Old Testament Commentary on Proverbs, page 360).

I heard on the radio just yesterday about the arrest of a former promising NFL quarterback named Ryan Leaf. His addiction to prescription pain-killers led him to robbery. We need to remember that we all are susceptible to addiction of any or many kinds, and the best way not to give in to that…is to avoid it altogether. There’s a reason that medicines are prescribed only by a doctor’s care. Professional doctors know that…and our Heavenly Father knows that too.

Something to think about today.

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