Proverbs 31:4,5, It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
The mother of Lemuel (Lem-oo-ale) has just burdened her son to not give his strength to women.
She has cautioned him against that which puts him in a position where he allows a woman to control his judgment.
She has given her son to God by her vows and she has in essence "branded or marked" that gift to God by naming her son, Lemuel which means "belonging to God."
King Lemuel’s very name reminds him of her vows.
Each moment her son realizes that he must live on a higher plane than others because he not only occupies the position of king but he knows that he has been given to God by his mother.
The burden his mother has for him is to not drink wine, to not drink strong drink!
She does not say that wine is not for anyone, but she says that wine is not for kings.
She makes an absolute statement about wine and kings.
She tells him it is not for kings to drink wine! Period!
She did not rear her son to be drunk with wine and she burdens him with abstinence. This is the safest way for him.
There is to be no compromise concerning this prohibition.
The consequences of drinking wine are too far reaching for a king in let himself indulge in wine drinking.
The decisions and judgments of a king affect a great number of people and may cause much hurt when they are made under the distorting influence of wine.
She knows the principle that Hosea expresses in Hosea 4:11:
Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.
She knows that drinking wine will result in the same conclusion that giving his strength unto women will result in.
The burden that Lemuel's mother has for her son is: Don't allow your judgment to be distorted by the drinking of wine.
If he gives up his control to wine he hinders his service to God!
Kings are to be above that which drinking wine will bring into their life.
She knows that a city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
She knows that her son is like that city, high and lifted up for all to see.
She knows that her son as king is in a position where all his actions will be known.
She knows that his example will be mimicked by those whom he rules.
She knows the message that Isaiah preached in Isaiah 28:7 where he says, ...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.
Being drunk with wine takes away the heart from righteous judgment.
It distorts the vision.
The priest and the prophet and the king are out of the way of righteousness, out of the way of the straight and narrow through strong drink.
And being out of the way they forget the law and pervert judgment when it concerns the afflicted.
This is the great responsibility of the king.
To be a keeper of the law and to judge by the law.
Being drunk with wine will cause the king or the priest or the prophet to forget the law.
Being drunk with wine will cause the king or the priest or the prophet to pervert the judgment of the afflicted.
Righteous judgment cannot be exercised by anyone who is drunk with wine.
We are told in Psalms 104 that God sends the springs into the valley, he watereth the hills from his chambers, he causeth the grass to grow for the cattle and herb for the service of man that he may bring forth food out of the earth and wine that maketh glad the heart of man.
So wine is a gift of God but with any gift of God comes responsibilities for its proper use.
Proverbs 20:1 says, Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
In other words God gave the gift of wine to be used wisely and anyone who thinks its misuse will not bring mocking and raging is deceived.
There is a price to pay for the misuse of any of God's gifts.
Food is a gift but its misuse will bring all sorts of maladies and distresses.
We are told in Ephesians 5:18, to not be drunk with wine, wherein is excess.
Timothy instructs that a bishop must not be given to wine.
In other words a bishop must not drink wine.
He is to be of the same discipline as Lemuel, the king.
His position of service requires this self denial.
A bishop will be required to exercise judgment.
A bishop's conduct will influence many for good or for evil.
His actions affect others to a greater extent than a deacon or the aged women.
So Timothy's instruction concerning deacons is that they be not given to much wine.
They are servants but they are not bishops.
Likewise the aged women are to not be given "to much wine", that they may teach the young women.
The aged women also have a responsibility but their responsibility is not that of the bishop.
But in any case the "not much wine" is that amount of wine that does not result in being drunk.
Wine wherein is excess is that wine which causes drunkenness.
The wine up to that point does not cause drunkenness.
Any use of wine was to be a disciplined use of the gift of wine.
Romans 14:12 cautions me not to drink wine if my drinking wine causes my brother to stumble or offends my brother or weakens my brother.
My actions influence my brother including the drinking of wine.
I may know where the line is between wine and wine in excess.
But does my drinking result in a brother who is emboldened to drink in excess.
If so I must drink no wine. I am my brother's keeper!
I am to deny myself as I love my brother.
And those who are in greater positions of service to the LORD have greater responsibilities to those whom they serve.
The king drinks no wine, the bishop drinks no wine.
The deacon and the aged women do not drink much wine and no wine if their wine drinking causes their brother to stumble.
Wine drinking then must be governed by the principle of love
Greater self denial must come with greater service.
Those who are in a position of greater influence for the Lord are required to cast off the desire to satisfy self even in the drinking of the gift of wine.
And therefore knowing the need for her son to exercise wise judgment Lemuel's mother burdens her son the king that it is not for kings to drink wine!