Personal Application of Proverbs 23

From time to time, I like to ask the residents to take a passage of Scripture and to internalize and personalize it. We had an anonymous volunteer do so and allow me to post this blog of what she wrote regarding Proverbs 23:29-35.

Why me? My life is terrible. Why do people pick on me? I am so worn out and always hurt, why? This seems so hopeless. This wine is tempting, especially when mixed. I am to not stare at it, despite its luscious look. It attacks and poisons me. I see strange things, and my mind is unclear. I sleep in unsafe places. I get hit but deny being hurt. I am beaten but hold strong. All I long for is another drink.

If you’ve read this passage of Scripture, then you know this is an accurate depiction of what it states. It is very bleak and hopeless not unlike the consequences produced by substances like alcohol (strong wine) that are taken in excess.

Here’s the ESV rendering of Proverbs 23:29-35:

Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
    Who has strife? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
    Who has redness of eyes?
30 Those who tarry long over wine;
    those who go to try mixed wine.
31 Do not look at wine when it is red,
    when it sparkles in the cup
    and goes down smoothly.
32 In the end it bites like a serpent
    and stings like an adder.
33 Your eyes will see strange things,
    and your heart utter perverse things.
34 You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
    like one who lies on the top of a mast.
35 “They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt;
    they beat me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I awake?
    I must have another drink.”

There isn’t much hope when one is mired in personal sin and choosing to stay in it. I thought this resident captured the heart of the passage in her personalization of it.

Let’s pray for those enslaved to addictions of all types. There is hope when one confesses and forsakes their sin according to Proverbs 28:13. Christ offers eternal life!

-Pastor Mark Shaw (grateful for the Spirit’s work in the hearts of our residents to reveal biblical truths)

Mark Shaw
Mark Shaw has 22 years of counseling experience working in a variety of settings including faith-based residential programs, dealing with issues surrounding “addictions” of all types, and supervising staff positions. His experience in the biblical counseling field began in 2001. He has written 14 published works including The Heart of Addiction; Relapse: Biblical Prevention Strategies; Divine Intervention: Hope and Help for Families of Addicts; Addiction-Proof Parenting; and Hope and Help for Self-Injurers/Cutters. He also co-authored a chapter in Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling (2013).