Daily Devotion for September 23, 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.
One of the world's great gospel choirs singing a (mostly) English hymn.
Lift up your voice and sing.
Hosanna in the highest,
Hosanna to the King.
We salute you my Lord.
We salute the heavens.
We salute you my Lord.
Bayete! (Oh hail Him!)
Prayer to the Holy Spirit to be with Me This Day
In utter humility, before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I come before you this morning, Eternal Spirit of God, to offer myself, my soul and body to you. I live in awe of your purity, your justice, and the power of your love. You are the strength and light of my soul, for without you I have neither life nor goodness. I desire never to grieve you by unfaithfulness, and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against you.
Mercifully guard my every thought; and grant that I may always watch for your light, and listen to your voice, and follow your gracious inspirations. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son, to listen first for your voice in everything I may say or do, this day and always,
For Those in Financial Difficulty
Lord God, I remember and pray for all those suffering severe financial problems; the unemployed, the homeless, the bankrupt, the hungry, and those in desperate fear of such problems. If it is your will, I pray that they can find a way out of their difficulties, into financial stability.
May I never close my eyes to them. And may your Holy Spirit be with them, to comfort and lift them up in Spirit, that they might never despair, but find total joy in the promise of the life to come.
[May I never turn a blind eye to those in distress.]
Lord, in utter humility I thank you and glorify you, that you might hear the prayer of one so small as myself, amidst the billions of souls among billions of stars in one of billions of galaxies in your universe. Let me go forth in your peace, keeping your Spirit always in my mind; and bless me, I pray, that I might always follow your will and live in the radiance of your blessing.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Tobit 3:1-7 (MB)
I was so filled with grief that I wept, and as I wept I prayed:
Righteous you are, O Lord;
All your works are mercy;
And all your ways are truth;
In truth you judge,
and in the righteousness of eternity.
Remember me and look upon me;
Do not judge me according to my sin and ignorance,
neither according to the sins of my fathers,
For they refused to hear your commandments
And justly you condemned them to spoilage and death.
You scattered us in captivity,
And as an example to the nations we were disgraced.
And even now, your judgments are many, and true,
Therefore treat me according to my sins and the sins of my fathers,
For we have not kept your commandments,
We have not walked in truth before you.
So do with me now whatever might please you.
Take up my spirit;
Destroy my body, let it become dirt.
For I have heard too much slander against me:
I am so filled with sorrow
That it would be better to die than live.
Bring me to the eternal world,
to deliver me from this distress;
Do not turn your face from me.
Notes on the Scripture
After the picaresque, colorful, and even somewhat humorous first two chapters of Tobit, the book takes a very serious turn in Ch. 3. Tobit has been blind for four years now and has spent his adult life in a rather miserable state, as a deportee from a conquered country into the foreign land of Assyria. And he has had a fight with his wife, Anna, over a goat her employer gave her, suspecting it was stolen.
Here, he finally breaks down. His prayer to God is beautiful and touching. Initially, as is frequently the case with psalms, he praises God for His truth and justice. He then shows that he understands the broad outline of the fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. They refused to hear his commandments, says Tobit; this Hebrew idiom of refusal to hear, as a metonymy for disobedience or intentional lack of understanding, continues on into the Greek of the New Testament. E.g.,
He first asks that God not judge him according to the sins of his fathers; and as far as the reader can tell, rightly so, for Tobit certainly has seemed to be a righteous Jew, trying at every turn to follow what he knows of the law of Moses, and practicing charity, even at risk to his own life.
Then, in the middle of the prayer, something changes drastically. It appears that he is increasingly overcome with emotion, because as he prays, he reverses his plea that he not be judged by his forebears' sins. He notes that God continues to judge, but suddenly asks God to judge him, as He has judged the nation, to punish him by death for his own sins — although we really have not seen him commit what would have seemed sinful to a Jew of the day — and for the sins of his fathers.
He is, as it turns out, so distraught over his life that he has given up; he therefore asks God to take his life to remove him from all of the distress he feels. He would consider it a favor for God to kill him. And yet, his trust remains steadfast in the Lord; he has become a sort of latter-day Job.