Daily Devotion for September 27, 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.
Our Saturday Oldie this week is a 1950s tv clip. The Delta Rhythm Boys — known for their sense of humor — tell us what happened to some famous walls.
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Father, I give you a million thanks that I have woken up alive this morning, once again to witness the magnificence, the glory of your creation. Even on the dreariest of days, when the weather doesn't suit me, let me rejoice in the taste of heaven you give us on earth. For the hottest, muggiest day; the coldest and most bitter weather; the clouds, the rain, the wind and snow, the lightning and thunder — these are all your creations, oh Lord, and all of them have a great beauty if I just take the time to see it.
Should I be blind, what would I give to see the cloudy rainy day that I complain about? Should I be deaf, how much I would long to hear your thunder! When I lie dying, how sweet it will seem to have been bundled up against a chill wind, or to be soaked in sweat as I work in the heat and humidity.
Let me be always filled with gratitude for the world you have given me, great God, Father and creator of all that is.
Prayer for Bearing Troubles
O God, our help and assistance, who is just and merciful, and who hears the prayers of your people; look down upon me, a miserable sinner; have mercy upon me, and deliver me from the troubles that torment me, even though I might deserve them. Deal not with me according to my sins, but according to your endless mercy, for I am the work of your hands, and you know my weakness. In the name of Christ I pray,
Now, to God the Father, who first loved us, and made us accepted in the Beloved; to God the Son, who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood; to God the Holy Ghost, who sheddeth the love of God abroad in our hearts, be all love and all glory in time and to all eternity.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Tobit 4:12-20 (MB)
Tobit Tells Tobias About the Money
Beware of all adultery; above all, take a wife from the descendants of your fathers. Do not marry a stranger, who is not from the tribe of your fathers, because we are the sons of the prophets. Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, are our fathers from ancient times; they all took wives from their brothers and were thus blessed in their children, and their descendants will inherit the earth.
Love your brothers. Do not believe in your heart that you are better than the sons and daughters of your people; but take your wife from among them. In arrogance there is tribulation and ruin. And in moral dissipation there is decay and poverty; lewdness is the mother of hunger.
If any man works for you, pay his wages out of hand; do not let them sit in your purse. If you serve God, He will repay you. Discipline your conduct and take care in all that you do. To those you hate, do nothing. Do not drink wine until you are drunk; drunkenness is a poor companion on a journey. Give the hungry some of your bread, the naked some of your clothing; when you have an abundance, do not begrudge what you give.
Pour out your bread on the burial of the just, but give the wicked nothing. Take counsel from people who live prudently; never disregard advice from the wise. Bless the Lord your God always. Ask Him to direct your path, that you may prosper, for every nation does not have the benefit of His counsel, yet He is the source of all good things. He humbles who He will, when He will, so remember what I have told you and do not forget my words.
And now, I have something else to tell you: I have left ten talents in the safekeeping of Gabael, the son of Gabri, in Media. So do not be discouraged by our present state; if you fear God and do what is right in His eyes, you will have great wealth.
Notes on the Scripture
Much of today's Scripture sounds like it is straight out of Proverbs. There are some interesting differences, however, between the wisdom of Solomon, from roughly 950 B.C., and what we read in Tobit, that show changes in the morality or ethics of the Hebrews over time. Dating the actual writing of Tobit, and especially the wisdom literature in today's passage, cannot be done exactly. The story is set around 700 B.C., but it almost certainly was either written later — perhaps around 300 B.C. — or, at least, amended significantly from an earlier story. All Biblical manuscripts show variation between copies, but versions of Tobit differ enormously. Scholars do not even know what language it was originally written in: Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic are all possibilities!
Tobit strongly emphasized charitable giving in the first ten verses, and he brings it up yet again in this part. The religion of the Hebrews is developing into Judaism, where charity has more emphasis, and its direction is clearly towards the extreme charity, to the point of self-sacrifice, that will characterize Christ's life and teaching.
The phrase, “to those you hate, do nothing,” is a literal translation, and the ambiguity translates very well. Does he mean, do not take revenge or do hateful things to those you hate? Or does he mean, literally, have nothing to do with them? The latter is entirely possible. The notion of separatism grew continually from the early days of Moses, when conversion to Judaism was mostly a matter of becoming circumcised, through many intermediate stages, until the days of Christ, when a Jew was forbidden to touch a Gentile or even look into the open doorway of a Gentile house.
We still find it today in Christianity, although it has been ameliorated in two aspects. First, the Bible's sanction that we not be unequally yoked with nonbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14-16) is fairly mild in comparison to ancient Judaism. Secondly, of course, Christianity is a proselytizing religion, and nobody is excluded from our company — to whatever degree we construe the separatist injunctions of the New Testament — by virtue of birth.
While Tobit powerfully argues against Jewish marriage to other races, in the matter of almsgiving he differentiates, not between Jew and Gentile, but between the wicked and the just.
And finally he tells Tobias about the money! But how can Tobias possibly get to it? For the roads to Media from Assyria, remember, had become too dangerous to travel.