Article - The Destructive Nature Of Alcohol On The Family
From the earliest days of mankind, alcohol has had a negative affect on the family. Every time we see an example of a family or person in Scripture who became involved with alcohol, it affected the whole family in a tragic and devastating way. Let me illustrate with four examples from the Old Testament of families that suffered due to alcohol.
Alcohol brings a curse, not a blessing to the family (Genesis 9:20-25). After coming out of the ark, Noah decided to take up farming. The Scriptures tell us that he even planted a vineyard (Genesis 9:20). When his fruit ripened, Noah drank of the wine and became drunk. We then are told that “Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside.” (Genesis 9:22). Noah learned about this later, as the Scriptures record, “So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him” (Genesis 9:24). How sad it is to read of the great man Noah who had one of his sons take advantage of him sexually while he was in a drunken stupor. The text records for us that Ham “saw his nakedness” (vs. 22) and that “his younger son had done” something to him. Commentators disagree on whether or not Ham just exposed his father’s nakedness, or if he actually sexually molested him. One thing is certain; Noah never would have allowed this to happen were it not for the effects of alcohol. Sadly, Noah’s drunkenness and Ham’s immorality brought a curse upon the family. The Scriptures record Noah saying, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants he shall be to his brethren” (Genesis 9:25). How sad it is to see this renowned biblical family of faith—who survived the flood when the rest of the world perished—drown in the muck and mire of alcohol. Yet, how many families today are also enduring a curse because of alcohol? How many fathers have gotten drunk and cheated on their wives? How many mothers have had extra-marital affairs that began as a one-night fling at a bar? How many children have been molested because an adult was under the influence of alcohol and could not control his or her passions? May God help us to realize that alcohol in the home brings a curse, not a blessing!
Alcohol weakens one’s morals instead of strengthening them (Genesis 19:30-38). After the destruction of the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Bible tells us that Lot and his two daughters dwelt in the Mountains outside of Zoar. Since there were no men in these mountains, Lot’s daughters concocted an immoral way of becoming pregnant—convincing their own father to impregnate them. There was only one problem: they both new that in his right mind, Lot would never follow through with their plan. Thus, they found a destructive alternative that would weaken Lot’s moral awareness—alcohol! Lot’s daughters conspired together saying, “Our father is old, and there is no man on the earth to come in to us as is the custom of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father” (Genesis 19:31-32). The Scriptures tell us that their plan worked well. “And the firstborn went in and lay with her father, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose” (Genesis 9:34). This grand scheme worked well for the younger sister, too. (Genesis 9:35). As we view this immoral scene, we think to ourselves, “How disgusting and repulsive to lie with one’s own daughters!” The sad thing is that without the affects of alcohol, Lot would have been just as disgusted and repulsed. Lot never would have had sexual intercourse with his own daughters had he not been drunk. Imagine how many people there are who look back in shame on things they did under the influence of alcohol—things they would never do in their right mind. For example, how many fathers have regretted getting drunk and beating their wife or children? How many young men have looked back in shame on the grocery story they robbed while under the influence of alcohol? How many teenage girls have become pregnant because their morals were weakened while they were under the influence of alcohol? Truly, the use of alcohol weakens one’s morals instead of strengthening them!
Alcohol contributes to foolish choices, not wise ones (1 Samuel 25:31-37). Nabal, whose name means fool, made some foolish decisions that are indirectly (if not directly) linked to alcohol. In the context of 1 Samuel 25, David and his men provided protection for the shepherds of Nabal while the shepherds were on the plains with the sheep. David and his men never asked for anything in return, or stole anything from these shepherds. When it came time for Nabal to return the favor to David by providing food for his army, Nabal mocked David and his men (1 Samuel 25:14). In response to this, David prepared his men for war to obliterate all the descendants of Nabal. Thanks to Abigail, Nabal’s wife, this war was prevented as a result of her kindness. When Abigail returns home to Nabal, we read these words, “…and there he was, holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk…” (1 Samuel 25:35). How foolish were the decisions of Nabal! Were it not for Nabal’s wife, David and his men would have slaughtered Nabal and his entire family in their drunken state. How many people today have made foolish decisions while intoxicated? How foolish it is when someone who is drunk gets behind the wheel of a car and kills an innocent family. How tragic it is for young people to be promiscuous under the influence of alcohol and contract a sexually transmitted disease (or end up pregnant). Truly, alcohol causes us to make foolish decisions instead of wise ones!
Alcohol leaves the family open to death and destruction (1 Kings 16:9ff). King Elah is a prime example of the deadly nature of alcohol. One day when Elah was in Tirzah drinking himself into a stupor, his commander Zimri came in and struck him dead. Not only did his drunken state leave him open to danger, but it also wrecked his family. The Scriptures record for us that it came to pass when Zimri began to reign, “as soon as he was seated on his throne, that he killed all the household of Baasha; he did not leave one male, neither of the relatives nor of his friends” (1 Kings 16:11). Notice how deadly this one man’s moment of intoxication was. He died. All his family died. And all his friends died. The use of alcohol today is just as deadly and destructive to one’s family and friends. For example, a local newspaper reported a story of a mother who left her three children asleep in the middle of the night while she went next door to a friend’s house to “party”. Unfortunately the house caught on fire, and all the children burned to death. Could this have been prevented? We will never know. One thing is certain: had that mother been sober and at home, there would have been a greater chance those children would have survived. It is a proven fact that alcohol use is a leading factor in fatal accidents. According to Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, in the State of Texas in 2004 there were 3,583 traffic fatalities. Of those, 1,642 were alcohol related fatalities. That translates into a shocking 46% of all traffic fatalities that were directly linked to alcohol! Truly, alcohol destroys the family instead of protecting it.
Satan is doing everything he can to defeat the family. He has summoned one of his greatest warriors—Alcohol—to fight against the family. Unless Christian families arise with faith in God and His Word, this dreaded adversary may well destroy our homes. However, if Christians come to understand how alcohol can destroy the family we can win the war against both the devil and his warrior, Alcohol. May God give each of us the courage, faith, and perseverance to win the battle against alcohol!
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