Bible Study and 12 Step Recovery for the Week of March 20

Genesis 47:29 – “And the time drew near that Israel must die; and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him: ‘If now I have found favor in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt.”

In this verse, Jacob asks his powerful son, Joseph, to bury him in the cave of Machpelah in Hebron. Shortly after, in 47:31, he makes Joseph swear an oath to follow through on this promise. Why does Jacob insist that Joseph swear an oath?  Isn’t Joseph’s word alone good enough?  Jacob must have understood that Joseph, as the number two leader in Egypt after Pharaoh, might have faced considerable pressure not to let his father be buried abroad. Burying Jacob in Egypt would have been a sign of respect to Pharaoh, and Jacob saw that Joseph could be tempted to please Pharaoh in this way. Hence the oath. In recovery, we experience similar situations, though usually not so profound. However, we should recognize the similarity to our own experience in the story of Joseph’s oath to this father. We often have the best of intentions to follow through on an action, but circumstances intervene – often driven by addiction or bad recovery – and we rationalize taking a different, and usually incorrect course.

Bible study and 12 step recovery for the week of March 13

Genesis 43:33 – “And they sat before him…”

We should all be asking ourselves, why did Joseph never communicate with his father that he was alive? You would think that after Joseph had risen to the position of Viceroy of Egypt, he could have sent word to Jacob, who was wracked with grief over his son’s alleged death. Yet, we learn that Joseph felt bound by the solemn vow that his brothers had made not to tell their father the truth about Joseph. It is perplexing to our modern minds, but we need to understand that Joseph knew of the prophecy that predicted he was to play the role he did in saving the world from starvation. And, as we learn from The Sages, a vow to God made by 10 or more men cannot be violated, even under the most extreme of circumstances. Joseph held by this rule. Connecting this idea to recovery, we can learn something about the power of an oath to God. An oath to God is a very serious matter, and should not be taken lightly. If you are an addict, or are close to one, you may have made an oath at some point – “God – help me and I will never do this again…” only to violate that oath later. We should approach such oaths with great seriousness, and never treat them as trivial.

Book Excerpt for the First Week of the Year

Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning of God’s creating the heavens and the earth…”

God created the world and everything in it. If we ever needed a quick wakeup call about who we are, where we and all that we value comes from, we need to read no further than this opening line of the Torah. Everything is in His hands. Your life, your success or failure – in life and recovery, is in God’s hands. The one that is powerful enough to create the world can be the Higher Power that can give you the strength to deliver you from addiction. Everything that you have, all your possessions, all your money, comes from God. In recovery, it helps to remember this fact. If you think, “I made this money myself. I did it myself. I relied on myself.” – that is self-seeking, and self-involvement that can interfere with recovery. If you trust in God to give you the income and possessions you need, that you can handle, and no more, then you can begin to be satisfied with what you have. You will start to worry less about financial insecurity, a big driver of addiction and relapse.