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Monday, July 16, 2018

Daily Devotion for October 2, 2014


<i>Tobias Meets the Archangel Raphael</i> by Andrea Vaccaro, ca. 1640.
Tobias Meets the Archangel Raphael by Andrea Vaccaro, ca. 1640.

Prayers

Scripture

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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.

Amen.

A pretty baptism song for country music fans.



Prayer for the Morning

Heavenly Father, I do not fear this day, for you are with me wherever I might go, your light to shine ahead, your footsteps to lead the way. I do not fear this day, for your word will be my guide. Your strength will sustain me and your love revive me, this day and all days. I do not fear this day, for you are with me. In the name of Christ, I call upon you.

Amen.

Thanks for the Gifts of This Life

O  God, I thank You for this day of life
for eyes to see the sky
for ears to hear the birds
for feet to walk amidst the trees
for hands to pick the flowers from the earth
for a sense of smell to breathe in the sweet
perfumes of nature
for a mind to think about and appreciate
the magic of everyday miracles
for a spirit to swell in joy at Your mighty presence
everywhere.

Amen.

Meditation

[May I learn to let God's love revive me.]


Benediction

Now to him who by his power within us is able to do far more than we ever dare to ask or imagine — to him be glory in the Church through Jesus Christ for ever and ever,

Amen.


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


The Four Archangels: Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael (clockwise from top left).
The Four Archangels: Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael (clockwise from top left). Raphael is depicted guarding a young boy, probably symbolizing Tobias.


Blue Latin Cross

Tobit 6:10-18 (MB)

Tobias and Sarah

[Catch-up synopsis: Tobias, the son of Tobit (a Jew who was deported from Israel after Assyria conquered it), is travelling to the city of Rages in Media, from his home in Assyria. With him are the archangel Raphael — in disguise as a human kinsman named Azarias — and his dog. The purpose of the visit is to collect money that Tobit had left with his cousin Gabael. We have also met a young woman named Sarah, who lives in Media; she has been married seven times, but all seven grooms were killed by a demon, leaving her a virgin. Also, during the journey Tobias was attacked by a large fish, which tried to eat his foot, but he killed it and, at Raphael's instruction, kept the heart and liver.]

They travelled on to Media, and as they were approaching Rages, Raphael said to Tobias, “Brother, tonight we will lodge with Raguel, your cousin, who has a daughter named Sarah. She must be given to you as a bride if you ask, and her inheritance also, for you are her only cousin. And I must tell you: She is both beautiful and good-natured.

Listen to me; you must speak to her father, and when we return from Rages, we will have a wedding. Raguel must not marry her to a stranger according to the law of Moses; this is Raguel’s duty unto death. You have a right to the inheritance before any other man.”

“But Brother Azarias,” said Tobias, “I have heard that the girl has been wedded to seven men, and all of them died in the bridal chamber. I am my father's only son, and I fear that if I go to her, I will die just like the first seven; because a demon loves her and kills men who try to marry her, although he harms nobody else. I will die. And if I die, my mother and father will die from sorrow. And with their only son dead, they would have nobody to bury them!”

The angel replied, “Do you remember the instructions of your father, that you should marry a wife of your own tribe? Listen, she shall be your wife. Pay no heed to this demon, for you will marry her this very night.

When you come into the marriage chamber, bring with you the hot coals of the incense burned at the wedding. Sprinkle them on the heart and liver of the fish you caught, so that they give off smoke. When this devil smells it he will flee away, never to return. And then, when you go to her, do not lie with her immediately. Both of you rise and pray to the merciful God, who will take pity on you and save you.”

“Do not have any fear,” he continued. “She was destined to be your wife from the beginning; and you will keep her, and she will go with you. And she will bear three children of your union.”

Tobias was so stirred by these words that he began to love her. And in his heart he had married her already.


Notes on the Scripture

W

e see, in this charming passage, two of the themes that run throughout the book of Tobit. First, the importance to the Jews of the diaspora that they marry within their race. This is even more narrowly limited in Tobit to one's tribe or even close family.

Single men in some degree of family relationship to a maiden — we do not know the details, but it seems like Tobias and Sarah are second or third cousins — could claim her for marriage as a right of law. Sarah must marry Tobias if he makes a legal claim to her father. (From the story of Isaac and Rebekah, it would seem Hebrew maidens normally had a right to refuse a marriage. Genesis 24:57-58.) For his part, Tobias has been commanded by Tobit to marry someone in the tribe of Naphtali, and preferably someone in his clan (a subdivision of the tribe). We might guess that this is the only way a Jew, deprived of records and lost in a foreign country, might be assured that a husband or wife was also full-fledged Jew.

Some humor is undoubtedly intended in Tobias’ objections to marrying Sarah; after Tobit's constant obsession with burial, now Tobias' concern is that if he dies, it will kill his parents, but since his death caused their death, he won't be alive to bury them. Tobit is, actually, a comedy in the classical sense; by Grecian standards, comedies could treat serious subjects, but would have a happy ending, and the strain of comic lightness in Tobit signals that things will end well. Still, it must have been a great concern to the Jews, in their struggle to retain their integrity as God's chosen people, that their dead be treated with dignity, rather than thrown on the ground to rot like animals.

We now begin to see, also, some allegorical meaning in Tobit. Tobias, guided by the Archangel Raphael, is a proxy for Yahweh, and Sarah represents the Jewish people. Although they are punished for their idolatry, symbolized the dominion a demon has over Sarah, the Hebrews have not been abandoned by God. The few faithful continue to discharge their obligations to Yahweh under the law of Moses. God, as the bridegroom, will yet honor the covenant He made with Moses and Abraham for these faithful.

The locations are not accidental. It was Assyria to which the Hebrews of the Northern Kingdom were deported; but it is Media, and in fact the very city where Raguel and Sarah live, from which Cyrus the Great will order that Hebrews be allowed to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple.



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Comments (20)

Topic: Page Two | Devotion for Day of October 2, 2014 | Daily Prayer
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Andy Sykes (Holbeach, UK) says...
Dear Mason,thank you so much for your amazing website.I have been following since Exodus.Yes Paul's epistles would be great.Thank you again & God bless you.
Andy
2nd October 2014 5:41pm
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Mason Barge says...
Thanks for all the comments, everyone. It looks like I'd better get started on 1 Thessalonians. If Paul gets too repetitive we can take breaks.
2nd October 2014 7:05pm
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Pam (Windermere, UK) says...
I agree it would be great to do this study and thanks for all your hard work. God bless.
2nd October 2014 4:31pm
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Ozzie Finley (Point Pleasant, US) says...
The in-depth study and fleshing out the works of Paul would be excellent for me...a newbie at bible study. Smile
2nd October 2014 4:23pm
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Mason Barge says...
I hope you can find the time to read through Matthew, Ozzie, even if just a couple of verses a day. There is some personal preference here, but for my money, Matthew should have a "READ ME FIRST" sticker on it. It is a profoundly disturbing book in some ways. But here is the problem. Paul says quite a few things that can be construed in a way that would create a contradiction between his writings and the teachings of Christ. One cardinal rule of Biblical exegesis is that the Bible ... Read More
2nd October 2014 6:18pm
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Peter Morelli (League City, US) says...
Mason, I've been around for sometime now and did go through all the previous selections for Bible study. Moving into the entire work of Paul sound great. Through the years it has seemed that regardless of the particular area of study the message is always timely. I would love to dive into "persistence of salvation". Currently, I am listening to a book by Michael Horton called, "Pilgrim Theology". Horton comes out of the Reformed tradition, and at the heart of the book is ... Read More
2nd October 2014 11:24am
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Mason Barge says...
I've read Pilgrim Theology and although I wouldn't call it "bad", I was by no means overwhelmed with it. I don't really like descriptive theology so terribly much in general, though. I suppose the acid test for me is where a book goes when I'm done with it.

I put some books on my (bulging) shelves, some I give to friends, some I give to charity, and some I throw in the trash. Pilgrim Theology got #4. Mostly because it was tedious, I think, rather than because it was bad.
2nd October 2014 5:57pm
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Tom (Omaha, US) says...
This is my 1st post, I've loved this site for many months now! This w/end I will be re-baptized and join a new church. I felt my voice was now relevant so I am going to comment. Yes to Paul, and Tobit was a joy! Thank you for the work you have done and continue to do!
2nd October 2014 10:46am
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Mason Barge says...
I'm so happy for you, Tom. My prayers and wishes for your continued growth in Christ.
2nd October 2014 5:58pm
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Suzanne (Indian River, US) says...
Yes to Paul! I have so enjoyed Tobit! Thank you!
2nd October 2014 9:39am
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Karen M (Westborough, US) says...
If it's easier for you, there's your answer! Anything you write will be thought provoking and inspirational. Look forward to it!
2nd October 2014 8:55am
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Margaret Flynn (Stanley, Canada) says...
Would really look forward to studying Paul's letters.Smile
2nd October 2014 8:31am
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Dennis Grace (Endicott, US) says...
I vote for Paul also.
2nd October 2014 8:25am
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Sandra (Columbus, US) says...
I vote for Paul also. Grin
2nd October 2014 7:54am
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Jennifer (Texas, US) says...
I also vote for studying Paul's letters. Thank you for taking along with you on your doctoral journey. My husband is working on his in public school administration. God bless you!
2nd October 2014 7:39am
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D Malmberg (Clover, US) says...
Yes, let's study Paul's work. I think it will be very thought provoking and we will learn a great deal. Thanks, Mason, for your time and teaching.
2nd October 2014 4:36am
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M Peterson (Cloquet, US) says...
Yes, pleas commence with Paul's letters
2nd October 2014 4:07am
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Margaret ENTWISTLE (Edenfield, UK) says...
Yes I would be happy to study St Paul's epistles.
2nd October 2014 3:44am
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Jane Eastlake (Bristol, UK) says...
Hi Mason,
Thank you for your continued good work.The story of Tobit has been interesting.
Thank you for the opportunity to discuss your thoughts on the next stages of scriptural study. They sound great and it would be good to go into some 'controversial' areas. God bless you and keep going. XSmile
2nd October 2014 3:43am
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Anne Carrington (Bristol, UK) says...
Yes please, I would LOVE to study Paul's letters! I find them some of the most comforting, challenging and instructional books of the Bible.
2nd October 2014 2:03am
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