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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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Daily Devotion for September 30, 2014

<i>Tobias and Raphael</i> after Adam Elsheimer, ca. 1650.
Tobias and Raphael after Adam Elsheimer, ca. 1650.



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Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


To Submit My Day to God

Almighty God, who has given me life and breath, and another day: I do not know what this day might bring. For men make plans, and their plans come to naught, as you will it. Thus I take this day out of my hands and submit it to your will. Make me this day your servant, that I might find my hand at the tasks you have meant for me to do, and might do them as well as I can. For there is nothing better than a person should rejoice in his work, to your glory and for the love of his neighbors, as you have commanded us through your Son. In His name, I pray, let my day be yours, and let it be filled with goodness and faith.


For Humility

Heavenly Lord, no matter what I do or which way I turn, my pride raises its ugly head to damage my life. It tells me that my opinions are correct, no matter how ill-informed I might be. I fail to appreciate my stupidity, my weakness, my self-deception and rationalization for my many errors and shortcomings. Help me, O Holy Spirit, to see my fault. Instruct me in my error and support me in my efforts to follow your commandments; for I truly love you, Lord God, and want to grow in service and faith. In the name of Christ, forgive me and bring me closer.


Prayer to Gain and Share Wisdom

Lord, there is so much that I don't know, and I ask you to inspire me with a thirst for knowledge. I pray, too, for wisdom and understanding that I may use my knowledge well. I give thanks for many people I have never met whose knowledge and understanding have been passed on to me. I ask that I may benefit from their work and experience and may contribute, in turn, to the well-being of others.



[Am I open to learning something that disagrees with my opinions?]


Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked will I return. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.

endless knot

Psalm 89:1-2 (NKJV)

I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever;
With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.
For I have said, “Mercy shall be built up forever;
Your faithfulness You shall establish in the very heavens.”

Blue Latin Cross

Tobit 6:1-8 (MB)

Tobias and the Fish

They went on their journey, and as evening approached, Tobias and Raphael, still accompanied by Tobias' dog, came to the river Tigris and decided to pass the night there. When the young man went down to wash, a fish leaped up in the river and tried to devour his foot. The angel said, “Grab the fish!” So Tobias took it in his arms and wrestled it to land.

Then the angel instructed him, “Cut open the fish; and remove its organs; but keep the heart, liver, and gall bladder, for they make medicine.” And again Tobias did as instructed. Then, setting aside the organs, he roasted the fish for their supper.

The next day as they continued on their way to Ecbatane, young Tobias asked the angel: “Brother Azarias, what good are the heart, liver, and gall bladder of that fish?” And he replied, touching the heart and liver: “If a devil or evil spirit makes any trouble for us, we can burn these to make thick smoke to surround the person who harbors it; and the person will depart from them and never return.”

“And the gall bladder?” asked Tobias. “That is used to anoint the eyes of a person with whiteness, or cataracts,” the angel answered. “It will restore sight. ”

Notes on the Scripture

Tobit often seems fantastic, and it might seem supernatural that a fish would try to eat him or eat his foot, especially one living in fresh water. But in nature, rivers all over the world harbor mind-boggling fish that have been known to attack humans and are rumored to eat children. The largest is the beluga, in Russia, which are known to reach 30 feet in length and 6,000 pounds. In the United States, gar in the Mississippi River, with their great teeth and jaws, reach 10 feet. So the scene does not require a supernatural interpretation and is, actually, less fantastic than Jonah.

The great fish or whale which swallowed Jonah played much the opposite role of Tobit's fish. Jonah was fleeing from God's commands to him and he was possibly punished, and certainly disciplined to obedience, by being swallowed. Tobias, on the other hand, is acting in righteousness and, with the aid of Raphael's instruction, is not swallowed as the fish intends; he defeats the fish and has it for supper. Although he does not realize it, Tobias is acting in obedience to God by fighting the fish; and in fighting under the tutelage of Jehovah, he does exactly what Joshua and countless other great Hebrew leaders had done, on a very small and human scale.

A reader who is paying close attention will realize that the two medicinal properties of the fish's offal correspond to the two great problems facing characters in the book: Tobit was blinded with cataracts when birds discharged into his eyes, and poor Sarah is possessed by the demon Asmodeus, who kills her husbands every time she marries, before she can consummate the marriage.

<i>Archangel San Rafael</i> by Bartolomé Román, ca. 1628.
Archangel San Rafael by Bartolomé Román, ca. 1628.

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“Testimony of the Spirit”

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