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Sunday, December 15, 2019

Daily Devotion for September 22, 2014

<i>Tobit and the Dead Israelite</i> by David Teniers (the Younger), ca. 1650.
Tobit and the Dead Israelite by David Teniers (the Younger), 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.


For a Day Filled with Joy

Oh Father God in heaven: What a great day! Thank you, thank you, thank you for this and every day when I have woken up, with my heart beating and my mind able to read and think.

Whatever physical limitations I may have, whatever aches and pains or illnesses I have this day, they can never diminish the greatness of life itself and the great world in which I have found myself. For I know, I did not earn the millions of little blessings that a human life requires: every cell, every strand of DNA, every bone and every muscle in my body is a gift. I did not make them, nor the air or water or sunshine that keeps them alive.

By the power of your Holy Spirit, fill my heart with joy for all that I have been given. Help me to shoulder the burdens of my life with strength and courage, finding my solace in your promise of eternal life. I look forward in absolute faith to the glorious new body that all of Christ's children have been promised; but I pray to enjoy this not-so-glorious body, to see all of its wonders and remember that, being a gift, I am in no position to complain about its imperfections. Let me enjoy my life while I have it, great Lord. Let me celebrate all the little things I take for granted.

Bless also all the other people of this earth, O Lord, that they may be filled with the joy of life, and especially know that life eternal, which can come only from your Son, Jesus Christ.


To Honor Christ’s Sacrifice

For we are bought with a price: therefore let me glorify God in my body, and in my spirit, which are God’s.

O cleanse me from my secret fault, and keep your servant from presumptuous sins.



[Cleanse me from my secret fault.]


And now let me go forth praising you, O Lord, with all my heart, telling of all your wonders, with my words and in my actions. I will be glad and rejoice in you this day. I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.


Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.

endless knot

Job 2:4-10 (ESV)

Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.”

So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes.

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Blue Latin Cross

Tobit 2:9-14 (MB)

Tobit Deals with Birds, a Goat, and His Wife

After I buried the man, I bathed, and then fell asleep in the courtyard next to the wall. It was too hot to cover my face, but I wish I had covered myself despite the heat; for there were birds on the wall above me I had not noticed. And as I slept, they did their business and it fell into my eyes.

The bird droppings gave me cataracts that no doctor could cure, and they got worse and worse until I was utterly blind. For four years I lived without sight. My kinsmen, bless them, were greatly distressed, and my nephew Ahiqar took care of me for two years, until he had to leave because of his duties.

Anna had to support us, as best she could, working at weaving cloth. It was piecework; she sent the finished cloth to merchants and they would send her what they owed. In late winter, though, they sent her not only her pay, but also a young goat.

I may have been blind, but I could hear the goat bleating. “Where did this goat come from,” I asked her. “Is it stolen? Give it back to its owners. We cannot eat stolen food.” She told me it was a gift from her employers, but what employer gives such a gift? I became angry, and then Anna became angry at me. “Where are your charitable deeds now that your wife needs them?” she said. “See, your true character shows itself now.”

Notes on the Scripture

In today's passage, we begin to get into the heart of Tobit. If it seems odd for a Bible book, or even slightly humorous at times — it is. At times, Tobit reads like a Greek comedy based on Job. The tale of Tobit is often similar to a fairy tale, and is often called a Jewish “legend”. The first two chapters have little to do with God, at least directly, and although the subject matter is serious — blindness is a hard thing for anyone to bear, and was even worse for a Jew deported to Nineveh, for all of them lived a precarious existence — it is presented in a lighthearted fashion.

At this point in the story, we have seen that Tobit is fundamentally a noble spirit and, in fact, it is his strong character that leads to his difficulties. His blindness comes indirectly from his selfless act of burying the poor dead Jew found strangled in the street; and he was led to the dead Jew because he sent his son out to try to share his dinner with the less fortunate. His difficulties with Anna over the goat stem from his unwillingness to engage in theft, even to eat (although in this case his suspicion is wrong). Anna, very humanly, takes his complaint as a personal affront rather than as a sign of Tobit's character. How often, in life, has the spouse of a dedicated charitable worker complained of being involuntarily made a member of the “giving” team rather than the “receiving” team?

<i>Tobit Accuses Anna of Stealing the Goat</i> by Rembrandt van Rijn, ca. 1624.
Tobit Accuses Anna of Stealing the Goat by Rembrandt van Rijn, ca. 1624.

Daily Inspiration

“Fear and Love”

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Memory Verse

2 Timothy 1:7: God has not given me a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-control.

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