Words for Life
"My son, give me thine heart . . ." (Proverbs 23:26)
Recently I was reading in the book of Proverbs, and decided that there is a great deal of wisdom in Chapter 23 that is well worth considering at this time. There are thirty-one chapters in this book, and some strong Christians read one chapter a day each month. Should we not at least occasionally give serious consideration to a single chapter such as this?
Turn with me, if you will, to Proverbs 23. We will not read every verse, but hope to consider a number of the thirty-five verses. Let us begin with verses 4 and 5: "Labor not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven."
Today there is a widespread passion to be rich. Think of the way people are investing in internet and similar stocks, some of which have not yet earned a dollar. Would you believe that the entire airline industry has not made a dollar over its history? according to one of its experts, although the airlines seem to be making money now.
What does Christ have to say in regard to riches? In Mark 10:23 He said to His disciples: "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!" And Paul writes to Timothy: "They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition." (I Timothy 6:9)
Some years ago eight of the "world's most successful financiers" met in a Chicago hotel. One was president "of the largest independent steel company." Another was "president of the largest utility company." The third was president of the largest gas company." The fourth was "president of the New York Stock Exchange." Another was a member of the cabinet of the President of the United States. Still another was "head of the world greatest monopoly." The seventh was "President of the Bank for International Settlements." The last man was considered the greatest so-called "bear" on Wall Street.
Would you like to know where each of these eight was twenty-five years later? I could give you their names, but time hastens on. The first man was bankrupt, "and lived on borrowed money for five years before his death." The second "died a fugitive from justice and penniless in a foreign land." The third was fortunate. He died without any scandal, it would seem. The fourth man served time in the notorious Sing Sing Prison in New York. Bishop Arthur K. White visited there some years ago, and my brother, the late Orland Wolfram drove his car. The fifth was pardoned from prison, so that he could die at home. The sixth, the "greatest 'bear' on Wall Street," died a suicide. Number seven died a suicide, and number eight also died a suicide.
J. Paul Getty, as you may remember, was a multi-billionaire, yet his money did not give him happiness. In his mansion in London he had a pay phone installed. Why was that? He did not want his guests to take advantage of him by using his telephone for toll calls. Each of his five marriages ended in divorce. When he was being interviewed he had this to say: "I would give all my wealth for one successful marriage!" If you have a loving and God-honoring marriage, it is worth more than all the billions of the late J. Paul Getty!
Recently a great deal of attention has been given, and rightly so, to the curse of tobacco, and the physical ills and death this narcotic brings. Not very much attention seems to be given, however, to a killer that is certainly next to tobacco, if not indeed responsible for more tragedies and more deaths. As you know, that killer is alcohol. Some people hold up what they call the "moderate" use of wine and other alcoholic beverages, yet a premier of France, some years ago at the White House asked for milk to drink! He went on to point out that wine had caused tens of thousands of the youth of France to become alcoholics.
What do we read in this chapter of Proverbs about wine and other strong drink? Let us turn to the verses that begin with verse 29. "Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? Notice those key words: woe, sorrow, contentions, babbling, wounds without cause, redness of eyes. Then we go on: "They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine." Then comes the life-saving and life-changing advice: "Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder."
There are other verses that follow, but time runs on. One verse in Chapter 20, however, should be mentioned, verse 1: "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise."
We are told that many thousands of bottles of champagne will bring headaches to those that imbibe to celebrate the opening of the New Year and New Millennium. Some of that champagne can cost thousands of dollars a bottle, virtually a king's ransom. Why are people so foolish as to think they can disregard the wisdom God provides in His Word, and not be terribly affected, in their family life, in their health, and in their soul's eternal welfare?
Four young people were riding in an automobile and had a terrible wreck. All four died. Broken whisky bottles were found in the wrecked car. The father of one of the four victims, a young woman, threatened to kill " the one who had provided" the liquor. Later on he opened the cupboard where he kept his supply of "choice beverages." He found a note from his daughter, in her own handwriting. It went something like this: "Dad, we're taking along some of your good liquor -- I know you won't mind." Can you imagine the anguish of that frenzied parent? But there are tens of thousands of victims of all ages each year on our highways. Who pays attention?
Abraham Lincoln is justly famous for what he did to free the slaves. Do you know what he considered to be the next important matter to be dealt with? By the way, liquor was involved in his death, both on the part of the murderer, and by the President's bodyguard, who drank that evening at the same saloon. The day before he died, President Lincoln stated his goal: "After reconstruction, the next great question will be the abolition of the liquor traffic. My head and heart and my hand and my purse will go into that work." Isn't that wonderful! Some people have made the foolish statement that prohibition was a failure. If you want the truth of the matter, read the volume, The Amazing Story of Repeal. Those that know the truth of the matter know that prohibition was a great success! Many young people during Prohibition grew up having seldom if ever seen anyone staggering along the street under the influence of liquor.
We come back to the text: "My son, give me thine heart." In the light of eternity we hear our Lord speaking those words to all who will give heed: "My son, give me thine heart." If you have not yet given your heart to the Lord, having confessed and forsaken your sins, do not put off that most important of all decisions, before it is entirely too late. Christ loves you, He died for you, and He urges you to come to Him today. Don't put it off!
[Dr. Wolfram Sermon
Index] [Dr. Wolfram
Bio Page] [Alma Temple] [Belleview
E-mail Dr. Wolfram
This page last updated 01-18-2000; ©2000, Pillar of Fire; All rights reserved