I don’t know how long ago I started drinking wine, sometime in the late 80’s. One night, Skip came home late from work and brought a bottle of wine and 2 wine glasses and we just celebrated being together. I enjoyed the taste, the relaxation and definitely the glasses.
As time went on, I learned more about wine and enjoyed it on special occasions. Still do. Whenever we took a trip, we bought two lovely wine glasses to remember the event. I have quite a collection of wine glasses from the past 4 decades. My favorite is a very small – maybe 3 oz. wine glass that is probably…oh, I don’t know – old. It’s red and very light and fragile. I like to use it when I’m taking the Lord’s Supper at home.
I’ve gone through several phases in my enjoyment of wine and even a phase where I thought that was a sin to drink wine. I love God and I don’t want to knowingly sin, so, I stopped drinking wine. Then, I asked God about it and He impressed upon my mind to study it in his Word. So, I did. There are 233 references to wine in the Bible. I’ve read every one of them and pondered them. I even looked up the original meaning of the word wine as used in each Scripture. But, that’s not the point of this story.
The first references in Genesis show the fallen nature of mankind. Sadly, we are told about Noah getting drunk and engaging in sexual perversion. The next few examples are the same, involving incest and drunkenness. Clearly, God warns us that drinking wine in excess can lead to inhibition and fulfilling the lusts of the flesh. However, God does not prohibit wine. There are examples of certain individuals who may not consume wine, but that is a direct command from God in each instance. If God speaks to you and you are convicted to not consume wine, then don’t. But don’t mandate it to another individual. That, like every other word from God, is personal and should be a conviction from God, not a religious mandate.
With that being said, I love the first miracle that Jesus did when He started His earthly ministry. At a wedding (celebrate) He turned water into wine. Here’s the encounter from the Message Bible.
John 2:1-11 The Message (MSG)
From Water to Wine
2 1-3 Three days later there was a wedding in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there. Jesus and his disciples were guests also. When they started running low on wine at the wedding banquet, Jesus’ mother told him, “They’re just about out of wine.”
4 Jesus said, “Is that any of our business, Mother—yours or mine? This isn’t my time. Don’t push me.”
5 She went ahead anyway, telling the servants, “Whatever he tells you, do it.”
6-7 Six stoneware water pots were there, used by the Jews for ritual washings. Each held twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus ordered the servants, “Fill the pots with water.” And they filled them to the brim.
8 “Now fill your pitchers and take them to the host,” Jesus said, and they did.
9-10 When the host tasted the water that had become wine (he didn’t know what had just happened but the servants, of course, knew), he called out to the bridegroom, “Everybody I know begins with their finest wines and after the guests have had their fill brings in the cheap stuff. But you’ve saved the best till now!”
11 This act in Cana of Galilee was the first sign Jesus gave, the first glimpse of his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
I’m certainly not a theologian and not even an expert on any subject in the Bible. But, I study and listen to what the Spirit is saying to me. So, I want to make it clear that God has spoken to me and has told me that wine has become an idol to me. Oh, I know, I blew it off too. But as I enjoy wine almost every night with my evening meal, I began to think about it more. It certainly has contributed to my weight gain. But, God, I said, I really love wine and enjoy everything about it. The taste, the relaxation, the glasses, the absolute pleasure of pairing a wine with a delicious meal.
Whenever I give up wine for a time period, the meals are boring. I don’t care about wine for breakfast or lunch or any other time, just with my evening meal. God was patient with me. This “discussion” has been going on for a few years with God. I really don’t believe that He is telling me to give up wine, but He is telling me something else.
In Song of Solomon 1:4 (again Message Bible), The woman says, “Take me away with you! Let’s run off together! An elopement with my King-Lover! We’ll celebrate, we’ll sing, we’ll make great music. Yes! For your love is better than vintage wine. Everyone loves you—of course! And why not?”
As much as I love wine and enjoy everything about it, God says that His love and (in another section of Song of Solomon) and kisses are sweeter than wine. “Ok”, I said to God. “I will leave the wine behind during this season together and spend more intimate time with You. I have great expectations that You will show me what You mean when You say that You are better than wine”.
So, that’s what He’s said to me on Day 2 of this Journey. Ascending. Onward and Upward.