In a sermon by John Calvin on Deuteronomy 14:26, which is arguably the classic Old Testament text with regard to drinking alcoholic beverages, the command reads:'And you shall bestow that money for whatsoever your soul lusts after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever your soul desires: and you shall eat there before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, and your household.'Calvin's exposition of this verse is interesting. He accentuates not only the glory of God but eating and drinking in the presence of the God of glory. When we drink wine or strong drink, we drink in the audience of the heavenly Vintner who expects us to enjoy his gifts.
Calvin also cautions us that Deuteronomy 14:26 was a crucial text of the fifth century Manichaean heretics who were dualists in creation. Their theology was that the character of the good God is a sufficient guarantee that he would not have filled the universe with things that man could abuse to his own damnation. They deduced that the material universe is not the work of God, but of the devil. And they employed as a rampart this same verse. Calvin wrote of them:A certain sect of Heretics called the Manichees, which scorned God's law and the prophets, alleged this present text and such other like, to show that the God of the Old Testament as they blasphemously term him, was a God of disorder and such a one as kept no good rule. For why, said they, he laid the bridle upon his people's neck, and bade them eat whatsoever they like, and so as the meaning was to make them drunkards and gluttons, by encouraging them to eat and drink after that fashion. But the true God (said they) will have folk to be sober, whereby a man may see that the Law is not given from heaven"