The Book of Habakkuk

“Lord, Send A Revival”

by Pastor Frank J. Cuozzo

Lesson 9 - “Woe Unto Him That Giveth His Neighbor Drink”

Pastor Frank Cuozzo

Habakkuk 2:15-17, “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness! Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the LORD'S right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on thy glory. For the violence of Lebanon shall cover thee, and the spoil of beasts, which made them afraid, because of men's blood, and for the violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein.”

We’re continuing our series on the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk. God was not only going to judge the nation of Israel because of her backsliding, but He was also going to judge Babylon as well for the great wickedness and sin of this former great national power.

King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians had great pride in what they had accomplished as a nation. In Habakkuk’s day, Babylon became known as the strongest nation in all the world. The problem was that they had accomplished all of that by destroying everything and everyone that got in their way. In Habakkuk 2:15 God pronounces the fourth of five “Woes” against Babylon and says, “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink.”

And so we see as one of the “WOE” judgments against Babylon would be because of their use of alcohol. Notice that the problem was not only their abuse or use of alcohol for themselves but the judgment was concerning them giving this addictive substance to their neighbors knowing that their senses would be dulled and therefore be taken advantage of. Such behavior angered the Lord and so He spoke to Habakkuk concerning judgment.

Let’s consider the subject today of alcohol abuse, not only as it effected the Babylonians but what the Lord thinks about it as well. Let’s look at several things,

#1) Alcohol abuse always causes Suffering.

Once again look with me at Habakkuk 2:15, “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!”

We said that the word “WOE” means judgment and destruction. Alcohol abuse brings sure suffering. Listen to some of the statistics from the Congressional Report on Alcohol and Health.

          -With every drink, a person shortens their life by 20 minutes.

          -There are 11-17 million alcoholics in America.

          -America spends 50 billion dollars a year on the purchase of alcoholic beverages.

          -Alcohol abuse costs our economy an estimated 70 billion dollars a year.

-The leading cause of mental retardation among children is alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

          -More than 20,000 are killed each year on our highways because of alcohol.

          -83% of all fire fatalities are alcohol related.

          -50-68% of all drownings are alcohol related.

          -80% of all suicides are alcohol related.

          -40% of all fatal industrial accidents are alcohol related.

          -86% of all murders are alcohol related.

          -75% of all child abuse is alcohol related.  

-200,000 Americans die each year either because of their own or someone else’s consumption of alcohol.

Some facts about alcohol:

The alcohol contained in beer is known as grain alcohol, chemically known as Ethyl Alcohol. The percentage of alcohol in beer ranges from 3-8%. This may not seem like much alcohol but a 12 ounce can of beer contains ½ ounce of alcohol. Approximately 60% of the alcohol consumed in the USA is from beer. Beer is the beverage of choice for most Americans. But the truth is that alcohol is a very powerful drug to which the human body can quickly develop both psychological and physiological dependence. It is estimated that there are between 11 and 17 million alcoholics in America and hundreds of thousands of them are teenagers!

I trying to say that alcohol abuse causes untold suffering. The world is suffering for many reasons, but one off the biggest reasons is alcoholic beverages of which there are many types. Pick your poison. God told Habakkuk to tell King Nebuchadnezzar, “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink!”

We said that alcohol causes suffering,

#2) Alcohol abuse causes shame.

Look again with me at Habakkuk 2:15, “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!” Here we see that God associates alcohol consumption with immorality. He ties the two together. If you ever notice most beer or alcohol commercials, they always promote immorality or an immoral lifestyle with drinking.

Of course the advertising businesses try to make drinking and immorality seems like the norm and only show what appears to be good times and fun. The facts however tell another tale of reckless driving, death, suffering, divorce, adultery, rape and many other types of wicked behavior that follows alcohol abuse.

Habakkuk 2:16 continues, “Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the LORD'S right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing (vomiting) shall be on thy glory.”

The last part of verse 16 where God says that, “Shameful spewing shall be on thy glory.” It literally means that they would be vomiting on their own glory! In other words God is saying that Babylon, the greatest and most powerful and glorious among the nations would be someday vomiting on that glory. The fact is that when the Medes and Persians eventually conquered Babylon, the King and all the leaders were in a drunken stupor. God says it’s shameful! And it is!

Many a young man has started out in life as handsome, robust and strong and many a young woman attractive, beautiful and elegant but somehow they got involved in partaking of alcoholic beverages that led to other things and a wrong immoral lifestyle and everything that was once good and honorable was gone. Their honor was gone and all that was left is shame.

Listen to what the prophet Hosea says in Hosea 4:6-11, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame. They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity. And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings. For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the LORD. Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.”

God was speaking here about the leadership in Israel and what happened to them. The entire problem came because of their whoredom and drinking. God always puts the two together. Their glory, like Babylon became shame. Why? Because knows the effect alcohol has on the human brain and body.

Proverbs 20:1 says, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”

Proverbs 23:19-35, says, “Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way. Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags. Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old. Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding. The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice. My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways. For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit. She also lieth in wait as for a prey, and increaseth the transgressors among men. Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again (addiction).”

Alcohol abuse causes suffering and shame but,

#3) Alcohol abuse can and must be stopped.

God can give victory over alcohol abuse. It’s not just a matter of saying you will stop or saying that you are going to turn over a new leaf etc etc. It must be recognized and confessed and given to the Lord for help and healing and restoration. It is not just a turning from the sin; but it is turning to the Lord Jesus Christ in true repentance. God’s word tells us that we can have the victory over sin in our lives. We can and should seek help in our lives if any of us have a problem with alcohol abuse.

1 John 5:4 says, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” Let’s trust God to give us the victory over alcohol and its abuse.

I don’t know if any of you have a problem in this area of alcohol abuse. Some of you may already have the victory over this sin and want to give the glory to God. Maybe some of you need some help in this area? Come to the Lord for salvation first of all and then ask the Lord to help you get the victory over alcohol and its effects in our lives.

Let’s pray.

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