Erring Through Wine (Leviticus 10)

“Erred through wine” – That phrase comes from Isaiah 28:7 where the God is rebuking the “drunkards of Ephraim” which included even the priest and the prophet. Notice what that verse says:

“But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; The priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, They are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; They err in vision, they stumble in judgment.”

Wine and strong drink caused them to err in their vision and stumble in judgment. Leviticus 10 seems to be another example of “erring through wine.”

Two of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu offered “strange fire” before the Lord which was not according to God’s commands. As a result, fire from the Lord, which had consumed the sacrifice in blessing moments before (Lev 9:24), now consumed them in judgment (Lev 10:2). Like the beginning of other periods of redemptive history, God dealt firmly with sin so that His people would learn to fear Him (see Josh 7, Acts 5:1-11).

Though the exact nature of their infraction is unclear, the reason seems to be related to intoxication. The very next few verses in Leviticus 10 record God speaking to Aaron directly and instructing him and his sons not to drink wine or strong drink when they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they die (Lev 10:9).

The reason for this is so that they can clearly put a difference between the holy and unholy, the clean and unclean, and so that they can teach the children of Israel all the statutes of the Lord.

The principle, I think we see is this – alcohol can impair judgment, and those who wish to clearly teach God’s Word and carry out God’s will should be very careful with it. Other verses regarding the dangers of alcohol, especially for those who are in spiritual leadership, can be found in Proverbs 31:4-5, Ephesians 5:18, 1 Timothy 3:3,8, and Titus 1:7.

Every believer is considered by God to be one of His priests and should carefully consider his or her relationship with alcohol, realizing the dangers associated with consuming intoxicating beverages. We have a mission and a calling that requires total concentration, and we don’t want to indulge in anything that might impair our ability to carry out His mission properly.

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