A condemnation of the tribe of Israel who made up most of the southern kingdom.
Mainly a diatribe against drunkenness. I sometimes use drink to escape, and we had an old school friend of my wife’s due from alcoholism this year. Wine is so familiar but so dangerous. My older body cannot process it as well as a younger one.
They talk about that here, describing drink’s ability to impair judgement in the short term and fade ability over the long term.
Like the “2 ways to live” tract, it talks about swapping the crown of drunkenness for God’s crown, and promises that his strength will replace what wine has taken away: beauty, wisdom and determination.
Drunkenness is a symbol and a symptom of self obsession, of pride, ironically, given that it can humiliate. I’m ashamed of how much I feel I need it sometimes, I know that I perversely decide to drink too much sometimes. It makes me lazy.
The rest of the chapter seems to be about fresh starts. He mentions how drunkenness has turned the priests into spiritual babies, and how he will have to teach again slowly, bit by bit, and maybe by strangers.
It’s about self discipline, the slow path back from the easy drift into bad habits. But bit by bit he will give us strength to change. It’s a merciful passage.
He talks about different grains requiring different forms of violence to produce, crushing wheat, beating cumin with a rod, Dill with a stick. But in all instances, it ends, it doesn’t go on forever. We all have our own way back.
And he powerfully reminds the reader of why it is worth it. God is the cornerstone, he will sweep away the refuge of lies and build a solid building in your heart. He will annul your covenant with death.
Alcoholism, like so many self destructive behaviours, is like a pact with death. You see it so often in the lives of the rich and famous, and we saw it close up this year.
Pray for wisdom obedience and insight to see myself.