Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 23:20
"Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine, or with gluttonous eaters of meat"
This proverb is another of the “do nots” in this section. You will adapt yourself to the environment that you inhabit. So do not be around these types of people.
heavy drinkers of wine
This is the Hebrew word sobe, which means heavy drinking and drunkenness. This is a person who consumes lots of wine. They have no ability to be moderate in their consumption.
gluttonous eaters of meat
The word gluttonousis the Hebrew word zalal, which means glutton or vileness. In this context it refers to enormous quantities of food consumed or the nature that the food is consumed or the type of food that is consumed. There is something unnatural or rapacious in the consumption. Sometimes this is referred to as riotous living or wild living; consuming everything in sight. This could involve drugs, sex – wildness in general.
Remember that in that day there were largely two addictive substances: food and wine.
It does not have to refer to just food and drink but has the idea of an inability to control one's impulses. If a little bit of something is good, then a lot of it is even better. In many cases these kinds of people are trying to numb some pain they are feeling or forget about some difficulty or loss. This will often lead to addiction. We use some substance to allow us to avoid the pain and then become connected or dependent on the substance rather than facing the pain, loss, or difficulty in our life.
This repeats the idea that the Apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15: Bad company corrupts good morals.
Solomon is trying to warn us that spending time around people who are like this – either because they have lots of unresolved pain or because they have no moderation in their life – will destroy your life. You will begin to become used to this lifestyle. You will see things and be exposed to things to which you probably shouldn't have been exposed.
Do not be arrogant and believe that you can handle being around drinkers and riotous livers without it affecting you. It does affect you. It is a toxic environment and it will contaminate you. Some even believe that they can hang around people who are committed to this lifestyle and witness to them. I believe these people should be witnessed to but not when they are in the midst of this lifestyle. Helping them should be separate from being with them while they do this lifestyle.
If college kids and high school kids would just follow this advice, they would save themselves a world of hurt. There will be parties and wild living in high school and college, and the most popular people will be there. But you need to avoid those places. Do not be with these people when they are doing this. Be with them at other times, if you must, but not at these parties and wild times.
Another item is that if you find yourself drawn to drinking and wild living or some other excessive behavior, then you may have a wound or pain in your life that you have been unwilling to face. The Scripture is clear that there will be pain and loss and wounds in this life. The choices of others are real, and they can hurt. Your choices are real, and they can do great damage to your present and future. God has a plan and it does not always line up with your greatest happiness. All of these together mean that one needs to know how to deal with pain and disappointment. Finding a way to medicate the pain away without dealing with it is not the answer. It only leads to bigger problems.
You need to pay attention to your pain. Learn how to express it; don't run from it. Learn what it is teaching you. Embrace what it means and what it doesn't mean. Find a trusted friend to share it with. Write down the various feelings and issues that are a part of it.