Drunk, but not on wine
Like the Roman god Bacchus, we can become drunk on the wine of this world’s ways.
We are living in a day when we can easily observe people not only out of control, but under the control of powerful adversarial influences.
God spoke clearly through the prophet Isaiah with these words:
"Blind yourselves and be blind. They become drunk, but not with wine, they stagger, but not with strong drink."1
God, through his spokesman, asserts that there are powerful, controlling forces in the invisible realm — the realm of the spirit. He was referring to a nation of people, even his own family, Israel, as those who were in the grip of a strong power.
He used the physical analogy of those who stagger and stumble under the debilitating influence of alcohol to illustrate the control that spiritual forces can have over people.
We witness this daily as natural appetites constantly pull people into bondage.
The Old Testament story of Israel is the revelation of people set free from Egyptian bondage, which represents bondage to the world’s mentality, and led them toward freedom in the Promised Land. Though they were physically liberated, their minds were hindered by fear and unbelief.
Consequently, they wandered in circles for 40 years, then finally the faithful few who believed the truth entered the Promised Land and defeated their enemies through the supernatural power of God.
Even the walls of Jericho fell as captives were set free, revealing the very purpose of God and freedom available through his son Jesus Christ.
Then these same people who left the bondage of Egypt, wandered through the wilderness of unbelief, and found their way into the land of fruitfulness and the abundant provision of God, once again became prisoners, even in the Promised Land.2
This is a clear picture of our nation and, sadly, an accurate description of much of the church family.
Too many believers today live in as much bondage as they experienced prior to their deliverance from the world.
There is an enemy in the spiritual realm referred to by Paul as "principalities and powers of darkness."3 These demonic forces and deceivers take captive the most precious and influential ones in our midst.
Isaiah went on to say that the book containing truth cannot be understood because people draw near God with their words and honor him with their lips, but their hearts are far from him. He said that reverence for him consists of tradition learned by rote, which is mechanical repetition.4
Our nation and, sadly, much of the church is trapped by a spirit of mechanical repetition even regarding truth. We recite the pledge of allegiance, but not from our heart and with little or no understanding or appreciation.
We hear "The Star Spangled Banner" sung with no heartfelt brokenness and gratitude for the price paid for our freedom, and with hands resting on hearts that have grown cold and calloused by a spirit of indifference.
We repeat prayers, but they are mere words seldom going higher than the ceiling.
We sing songs, but we have forgotten their message.
We go through the motions of worship, but live in defeat. We hear sermons, but seldom see them applied.
We have become hearers and not doers. In many places there is a famine for the hearing of the word of God.
When truth goes forth it becomes adulterated because it is twisted by non-believers or "casual Christians" who claim to believe, but do not know what they believe.
Again, God spoke through Isaiah to His people, calling them to repentance and promising them freedom: "Therefore, please hear this, you afflicted, who are drunk, but not with wine: Thus says your Lord, the Lord, even your God Who contends for His people, ‘Behold, I have taken out of your hand the cup of reeling, The chalice of My anger; You will never drink it again.
I will put it into the hand of your tormentors, who have said to you, "Lie down that we may walk over you." You have even made your back like the ground and like the street for those who walk over it.’"5
God said to His people and those with ears to hear, but who refuse to hear, that they would reach a point of such intoxication by the spirit of deception, distraction and defeat that the enemies of life and freedom would command them to lie down while tormenting forces walked over them as trampled ground.
It is happening to our leaders in the political realm. It happens in ministry.
It happened to Tiger Woods. With all the prosperity and material blessings, his natural appetites were obviously controlled and manipulated by adverse, supernatural influences that took one of the strongest and most successful people in America and made him a slave to his own sexual appetite, even though he has a beautiful family. Let no one cast a stone.
Let all of us fall on our faces before God on his behalf and on behalf of his wife and precious children. This current revelation is living proof that regardless of our ability, we cannot overcome this world in our own strength.
If we attempt to live outside of the Lord’s power, we will find ourselves drunk, out of control, and under the control of these deadly spiritual influences as surely as the well-known people we have seen in our lifetime and those we read about in the Bible.
I know firsthand the controlling power of the spirit of deception, success and lustful appetites.
I am even learning through my recent battle with a powerful staph infection and borderline diabetes that my neglect of physical activity damaged my body.
I can excuse myself by saying, "Well, I had a hip injury," but there were things I could have done.
"I neglected my body and by not bringing my own appetite for certain types of food under control, my body suffered harm.
"I have seen clearly that tolerating something God reveals as an issue in our lives has the volcanic potential of an out-of-control staph infection.
In this nation, we are tolerating practices and a belief system that is going to rob us of the freedoms we have been blessed to enjoy because of the foundation of powerful, biblical principles on which this nation was established.
We have tolerated and fed these systems that adversely affect every aspect of freedom and liberty.
We are selling our future and freedom to manipulators and schemers that are likely under the control of this invisible force of deception.
Our nation is drunk, but not on wine. Salvation lies in the words of the prophet Isaiah, "Awake, awake! Clothe yourselves with strength. Zion, clothe yourself with beautiful garments. Shake yourself from the dust.
"Rise up captive Jerusalem and loose the chains from around your neck.
"You were sold for nothing, but you will be redeemed without money."6
We have been redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb.
That goes not only for us as gentiles, but also for every Jew.
The true Zion is the restored, redeemed, blood-bought people of God.
And we can deliver the good news. We can announce peace. We can announce salvation.
We can say to Zion, "Our God reigns...not only word, but also in deed."
As watchmen, we can lift up our voices.
We can shout joyfully together and then everyone will see with their own eyes when the Lord restores not only the church, but because of the restoration of the church and of believers, in order that the glorious influence of a city set on a hill can also help restore the nation.
This is my prayer and commitment. I will not be distracted and, by the grace of God, I will trample underfoot the enemies that have walked on me far too often.
Join me in this victorious march for the glory and purpose of our great God!
Jesus promised that those who become intoxicated and controlled by His spirit will be overcomers and walk over the enemy like dust under their feet.
Isaiah 29:9, NAS
Nehemiah 9:36, NAS
Ephesians 6:12, NAS
Isaiah 29:11-13, paraphrased
Isaiah 51:21-23, NAS
Isaiah 52:1-3, 7-8, paraphrased
Join me in sharing truth that can make the necessary difference in our nation with concerned friends who will join us in prayer and action.
Encourage them to pass it on to their friends and sign up for this weekly commentary.