Looking to The Old Testament in The Fight Against Addiction

The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids discovered that 23.5 million US citizens, aged 12 years or older, struggle with substance abuse. Many of those could be Christians who may feel they have lost their way and may need help from rehab centers in Texas. In Christianity, it can be tough to pray to God when you feel you might have betrayed him because of your choice to begin abusing drugs or alcohol. You may think he has completely and totally abandoned you in life. Yet, there’s more to it than simply thinking he has left you. He never leaves you and understands exactly what you are going through because he went on to become a human himself at one point. He sacrificed everything for the betterment of the very people and the world he crafted for them.

The story of his people, as found in The Bible’s Old Testament, provides us an understanding of addiction and the struggles of his people that dealt with it. The story of Samson in Judges can provide us one of the first examples of a man struggling in the world. He was someone who never humbled himself despite being anointed. In the end, he was reduced to nothing. His mother who gave birth to him was never allowed to abuse substances. He was a Nazirite given great strength to be able to take down an army of Philistines and that of a lion. He also became betrayed by Delilah, who told a servant to cut his hair as he slept.

She turned him over to his Philistine enemies and they gouged out his eyes. He was forced to grind grain at a Gaza mill, where he asked to rest against one of the support pillars. He eventually regained the strength he had previously after praying to tear down the columns, killing himself and all the other Philistines. Samson might have struggled with his own image of himself. He may have needed assistance from rehab centers in Texas if they would have existed. He could have been abusing drugs or alcohol too.

Some of the sexual behaviors that Samson took part in were things that God told his people not to do. He purposely sought they stay on the straight and narrow and avoid temptations that were out there. However, they were not so strong and 1 Kings 14: 22-24 explained exactly what happened. “Judah did evil in the eyes of the Lord,” Jeremiah, the purported author of the book, wrote. “By the sins they committed they stirred up his jealous anger more than those who were before them had done. They also set up for themselves high places, sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree. There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites.” Such decisions by God’s people reflect the opposite of what he intended for his people. They succumbed to temptation and it would not be surprising if substance abuse was involved in their sinful sexual behaviors.

“Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise,” Proverbs 20:1 stated. There is truth to that and it could be responsible for the sinful behaviors of Samson and other people who belong to God’s family. It can be easy to fall prey to alcoholism or another kind of substance abuse because of the temptation to engage in such behaviors. Proverbs is correct in its summation that it is not wise to engage in substance abuse. There are too numerous consequences, often personal, physical, and mental, that can affect your life for the long-term.

Indeed, Hosea offers us further understanding of what substance abuse can do to a person. “to prostitution; old wine and new wine take away their understanding,” Hosea 4:11 states. One of the biggest things that any drug can do is to take away one’s understanding of things. Their senses and ability to perceive reality could be dulled because of the decision to take part in this substance abuse. It leads to decisions similar to what Samson made, which might be looked at as sinful in the eyes of God.

In the end, God is direct with his message on how he wishes you to live your life: “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat,” Proverbs 23:20 said. God simply wishes for you to live a pure life, filled with joy and heart. To avoid temptation and the need to sin could not only prevent you from ever facing the difficulties of addiction but help you to recognize the beauty that is in your life already. It is all in the design of what God wants for you.

About the author: Tommy Zimmer is a writer whose work has appeared online and in print. His work covers a variety of topics, including politics, economics, health and wellness, addiction and recovery, and the entertainment industry.