One is none too happy with my use of the word Excess, but a better word for what I have to write about does not come to mind.

            Speaking about the positive idea we have what God does in nature spoken of in Job 38:25-27. Here is spoken of what God does in watering an area in which no one lives and in which the grass produced is apparently not used by mankind or animals.

            However, we may refer to Solomon who asked for wisdom, but God went further and gave him riches and glory also (1 Kings 3:5-15).

            If we turn to the New Testament we find that it is said that God is able to do far exceedingly above all that we ask or think (Ephesians  3:20). Elsewhere we find that God’s grace has over abounded (Romans 5:20) and also in what Paul says as to the Lord’s grace in 1Timothy 1:14.

            From these and no doubt other passages it can be demonstrated that God does not limit Himself to what is essential but can go beyond that as we have it said in such passages as 2 Corinthians 9:14 and 12:7. Then there is the well known Psalm 23 where we have it said: “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies, thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup runneth over”. Note the last clause. Should we not in our giving and service be beneficent like God? Consider what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:15.

            However, what I am more concerned about is excess in a wrong sense. It is often easy to eschew something that is obviously wrong than to determine whether I am engaged in doing  something that is not obviously wrong, but may be, say, taking up too  much of my time. Again there are the dangers of overeating or drinking as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:21 “One is hungry and another drinks to excess”.  The effects of eating and drinking too much are well known. On the other hand eating too little and not drinking enough also has its consequences. However, when we think of drinking we often think of alcoholic liquors so that if we drink too much of the latter we may get cirrhosis of the liver and delirium tremens as well as having our judgment warped and be a danger to ourselves and others if driving a car. Consider the case of Nabal in 1 Samuel 25:36 where it is said that he was “drunken to excess”. Paul himself says to Timothy that overseers should not be given to excesses from wine (1Timothy 3:3 and consider also verse 8). Again, he says to Titus that elders should have believing children not accused of excess or unruly (Titus 1:7). Certainly we should avoid anything if there is any danger that we should become addicted (enslaved) to it (Titus 2:3), or that what we partake of may be a danger to another who would become addicted to wine if we knew we partook of it and thought it would be alright for him to also do so. Consider what Paul says in Romans 14.

            However, we should consider also what Paul says to Timothy as to using a little wine for his stomachs sake (1 Timothy 5:23). No doubt Paul could trust Timothy not to drink to excess. Note particularly that Paul says use rather than drink. It is a question of using wine for medical purposes as we would take medicine in small quantities. Some may think that wine here is grape juice, but one doubts that grape juice would have the same medicinal properties as wine, although wine in the Scriptures was probably fermented grape juice. Scripture does allow that it is alright to give wine and strong drink to someone who is dying (Proverbs 31:6/7), probably because such a one would not live long enough to become addicted.  In this connection we know that Christ when offered wine medicated with myrrh (a painkiller) He would not drink it (Mark 15:23).

            Scripture also speaks about honey and tells us that we should limit our consumption of it. Consider Proverbs 24:13 and 25:16. It is a question of what is good for us.

            We should also not get obsessed with one passage of Scripture, because all Scripture is profitable (2 Timothy 3:16/17) and therefore we should cover it in our reading (Luke 24:44). We now have the New Testament as well as the Old and I think the New should have the first place with us as the householder is said to bring out of his treasure things new and old (Matthew 13:52). Note Christ puts the new first.


January 2016