Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 31:5
"For they will drink and forget what is decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted"
This whole first part of the Proverb 31 section implies and reinforces the godly calling to leadership. If God has equipped you and called you to be a leader, then there is much good that you can do. Do not squander your ability to influence people on influencing them for selfish purposes or influencing others so that you can enjoy selfish pursuits.
The world needs leaders who will push back the darkness of sin and depravity. Not everyone is a leader. Not everyone has the ability to move others, organize groups of people for maximum effectiveness, initiate new projects and ideas. Those who do must use these abilities and gifts for the common good. It is a high calling to have been given the gifts of leadership. Use them wisely.
This is the Hebrew word shathah which means to drink. It does not specify alcohol, but the verse above this clearly refers to wine and strong drink.
One is not to use their position of leadership to indulge their desires or fantasies. The leader bears a responsibility to all those who come under their leadership or are affected by their leadership. Do not waste your gift of leadership by following alcohol or drugs or parties.
This is the Hebrew word shakach which means to forget. It is a shame when the gifts of leadership to make a difference in the lives of those who are powerless to initiate or improve their situation is squandered by alcohol. How many significant leaders have had their level of leadership blunted by drink. One of the foremost was Ulysses S. Grant, who was a great general but became a drunken, ineffective, and corrupt politician as President. There have been many others down through history.
This is the Hebrew word shanah which means to change, to alter, to disguise, the idea of turning or altering the intended purpose of something so that it does something else or appears in a different way.
The great danger is that the leader has the power to do this. Because of his or her ability to initiate and to get people to follow, they can cause people to embrace something that is not right; something that is a perversion of their interests. Leaders must look at what they do with a higher level of scrutiny, because what they do will have a much greater ripple effect than others.
The Hebrew word is din which means judgment or decision or justice. The idea is that under the influence of drink, a leader can use their power to diminish justice or oppress those whom they should support.
It is not just drink that can cause this kind of twisting of the right decision. Sometimes it comes because of money or prestige or favors or some other perks. The leader must remain free from this kind of corruption.
This word is two words in the Hebrew ben and oni which means sons of affliction. The idea is that there are people who have no leadership power; they are pushed around and shoved down. The person with godly leadership makes sure that they do not get abused or used any more.
If, however, the leader gets wrapped up in their own personal world of pain or disappointment, they can turn to drink. The leader has a higher calling than this. This proverb says: accept your high calling and do not coddle or misdirect yourself because you have great things to accomplish and people who are counting on you.