Daily Devotion for September 20, 2014
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.
Saturday is Oldies Day, and this week we have baritone comfort food. I'm pretty sure there are some people who will remember this amazing and soothing voice!
Just like a lamb that has strayed from the fold.
Across the barren waste of sin I roam.
Oh gentle shepherd hear my cry and lead me home.
The hours go by on frightened wings of flight,
While wolves of hell are waiting for the night.
You claim the soul that wandered from the fold.
Oh gentle shepherd hear my cry and save my soul.
Oh gentle shepherd hear my lonely cry,
And in Thy cool green pastures let me lie.
Beside the still clear waters lead Thou me,
Oh gentle shepherd safe forever more with Thee.
Ancient Prayer of Praise
Holy is God, the Father of all;
Holy is God, whose will is accomplished by his own powers;
Holy is God, who wills to be known and is known by his own.
Holy art thou, who by Logos has constituted all existing things;
Holy art thou, of whom all nature was born as the image;
Holy art thou, whom nature has not formed;
Holy art thou, who art more mighty than all power;
Holy art thou, who art greater than all eminence;
Holy art thou, who art superior to all praises.
Prayer for The Unsaved
O God, the everlasting Creator of all things, I pray for the souls of unbelievers, for they were made by you and formed in your image. Jesus, your Son, endured a most bitter death for their salvation. Permit not, I beseech you, Holy Lord, that your Son should be any longer despised by unbelievers, but accept the prayers of those who remember them and be mindful of your mercy. I pray you to forgive their idolatry and blasphemy, in the hopes that they too may some day know Him whom you have sent, the Lord Jesus Christ, that they may yet be redeemed and delivered, as was always the deep desire of your Son.
[God, who is known by his own.]
The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant; Make me perfect in every good work to do your will, working in me that which is well pleasing in your sight; through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Amos 8:10 (ESV)
I will turn your religious festivals into mourning
and all your singing into weeping.
I will make all of you wear sackcloth
and shave your heads.
I will make that time like mourning for an only son
and the end of it like a bitter day.
Tobit 2:1-8 (MB)
When the festival of Pentecost arrived — which we called the Feast of Weeks — Anna prepared a wonderful dinner for us; there were so many dishes set before us, as I reclined at the table, that I told my son Tobiah: “Go out and search among our kinsmen who are faithful to the true God, and if any of them are hungry, bring him back here to eat some of this. I will wait for your return.”
But when Tobias returned, there was nobody with him; instead, he was agitated and shouting: “Father, one of our people has been murdered. His body is lying in the street right in the place he was strangled.” Of course I could not eat hearing this, and I ran after my son to the place where, indeed, there was the body of a strangled Jew.
We carried him to our house and laid him out in a room, to bury him after the sun set; I washed, and we ate the food, but our festival had become a meal of sorrow. As Amos had said about Bethel, “Your festivals shall be turned into mourning, And all your songs into lamentation.” (Amos 8:10) I wept before all the beautiful food.
When sunset came I took him out, dug a grave and buried him. The neighbors saw this and mocked me: “Will this man never learn! He was hunted down for execution, for this nonsense of burying strangers’ corpses; yet now that he has escaped, he does it again!”
Notes on the Scripture
The first part of Tobit, which we finish today, is an introduction to the personage of Tobit himself. There is not much plot to it, and God is not really present in it. But we get a very vivid and human picture window into life among the deportees of Israel, and today, a sharp snapshot of how badly the morals of the ten tribes had degraded under the idolatrous kings of the Kingdom of Israel.
Somehow, Tobit had been able to learn enough of the law to keep the Feast of Pentecost, one of the three great “pilgrimage” feasts that pious Jews celebrated, if possible, in Jerusalem. Passover celebrates the liberation from Egypt and then, fifty days later, Pentecost or the Festival of Weeks celebrates the giving of the Torah, the law of Moses, to the Hebrews at Mount Sinai. As we learned in Ch. 1, before the conquest, Tobit used to sneak off from Naphtali to Jerusalem for festivals.
Goodness was utterly tied to keeping the law of Moses in the minds of the God-fearing Jew, and nowhere is this shown more clearly that in this passage. The Jews of Nineveh would have allowed the body of some poor victim of a street crime just to lie there in the street, like a piece of garbage. The man had been strangled, indicating the lowest sort of street crime. The only person with the goodness to bury the body is the same man who not only keeps the Feast of Weeks, but searches for another Jew with whom he might share it.
It is also remarkable that Tobit should be able to quote Amos. We learn from this short mention that the prophets of the Northern Kingdom had followers. This troublesome fact — that there were pious Jews who suffered the fate of the idolatrous majority &mdash is treated by later Biblical writers, especially Paul and John; and Revelation (as well as some of Paul's letters) tell us that God has not forgotten them, and will take care of them in the end. It also becomes a theme of Tobit, which itself addresses the issue in the final chapter.
The mockery of the neighbors serves to emphasize the gulf between Tobit and the idolatrous Jews who had brought God's wrath upon the Northern Kingdom in the first place. They are utterly unrepentant; we see the mockery of the righteous by those who walk in darkness throughout the Bible. Although Tobit is a very Jewish tale, we cannot help but think of the people passing by the foot of the cross, mocking Jesus. E.g. Mark 15:29-32.