Daily Devotion for October 7, 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.
Prayer for the Day Ahead
Who can tell what a day might bring? Therefore, gracious God, cause me to live every day as if it were to be my last, for I cannot know that it is not. Help me to live this day as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
Prayer of Contrition, Remembering the Passion of Christ
O Jesus! You have proved that you have no greater desire than to be among men, even assuming human nature at the fullness of time for the love of men. I recall all the sufferings of your life especially your passion.
I remember, O Lord, that during the last supper with your disciples, having washed their feet, you gave them your most precious body and blood, and, while consoling them, you foretold your coming passion. I remember the sadness and bitterness which you experienced in your soul as you said, “my soul is sorrowful even unto death.”
I remember all the fear, anguish and pain that you did suffer in your delicate body before the torment of your crucifixion, when, after having prayed three times, bathed in a sweat of blood, you were betrayed by Judas, arrested by the people of a nation you had chosen and elevated, accused by false witnesses and unjustly judged by three judges.
I remember that you were despoiled of your garments and clothed in those of derision, that your face and eyes were covered, that you were beaten, crowned with thorns, a reed placed in your hands, that you were crushed with blows and overwhelmed with insults and outrages. In memory of all these pains and sufferings which you endured before your passion on the cross, grant me before my death a true contrition, a sincere and entire confession, worthy satisfaction and the remission of all my sins.
Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made me one with your saints in heaven and on earth. Grant that in my earthly pilgrimage I may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know myself to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. I ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 124 (NKJV)
A Song of Ascents. Of David.
“If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,”
Let Israel now say—
“If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,
When men rose up against us,
Then they would have swallowed us alive,
When their wrath was kindled against us;
Then the waters would have overwhelmed us,
The stream would have gone over our soul;
Then the swollen waters
Would have gone over our soul.”
Blessed be the Lord,
Who has not given us as prey to their teeth.
Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers;
The snare is broken, and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
Tobit 10:8-13, 11 (MB) (excerpts)
Tobias Travels Home
Note: Tobit becomes wordy and repetitive at this point; so the passage has been edited a fair amount.
Raguel did not want Tobias and Sara to leave and offered to send word to Tobit that they were well, but Tobias knew he must return. And so they departed after the feast; and Raguel blessed them, and sent with them servants, and half his cattle and sheep.
After they had traveled eleven days, about half the journey, Raphael said to Tobias, “Brother, you know how you left your father. We should ride on ahead, to reach him quickly; and your wife and servants and animals can follow us at their own pace.” When Tobias agreed with this, Raphael added, “Take the gall bladder of the fish we caught with you; it will be medicine for your father's eyes.”
Now Anna, Tobias' mother, sat every day on a hill to watch for him. And one day, she saw Tobias' dog, who ran towards the house, wagging his tail. And together they informed Tobit. Tobias' blind father was so excited that he stumbled to his feet and tried to run; with a servant helping him, he went out to meet them. And when Tobias came soon after, they fell upon his neck in tears, Anna saying, “Seeing you safe, I am content to die.”
After giving thanks to the Lord, Tobias took out the gall from his pack and rubbed it on his father's eyes. Tobit's eyes burned, and as he rubbed them, the whiteness began to pill at the corners of his eyes. And Tobias pulled the white from Tobit's eyes like the membrane of an egg, and Tobit's sight was restored.
Again they wept and praised the Lord. And soon after, when Sarah and the party arrived at the gates of Nineveh, Tobit was able to meet them, and was glad because he could see his daughter-in-law. And he blessed her, saying, “Be welcome, daughter: God be blessed, who has brought you to us, and blessed be your father and thy mother.”
Notes on the Scripture
ith this rather heartwarming scene, we begin to see the full impact of Tobit. It was designed, really, to keep up the faith and hope of desperate Hebrews in the difficult period following the conquest of Israel by first Assyria and later, Babylonia. One can only imagine the degree of despair and depression suffered by the Hebrews, in their continuous downhill slide, from a great and thriving empire to return, more or less, to the condition in which they had started at the beginning of Exodus: a tribe of slaves serving a foreign, pagan king.
This would have been doubly painful for the faithful, the minority who had continued to follow the Law of Moses after the death of Solomon. Just as God chose the Hebrews as a people, He punished them as a people. The righteous were caught up in the judgment on Israel, because of the idolatry and general moral laxity of their kings and nation. But, as we see in both Tobit and certain psalms, God has not abandoned the righteous, even through their temporary suffering.
Psalm 124 at the top of the page is a good example. This one of a group of 15 psalms (120-134) called “Psalms of Ascents.” The original meaning of the rubric was probably that they were intended to be sung by Pilgrims, as they walked to Jerusalem for one of the three pilgrimage festivalsAt Passover, the Festival of Tabernacles, and Pentecost, the Hebrews were obligated to make every effort to travel to Jerusalem to celebrate them. each year. Later in Jewish history, these served a somewhat different function; to keep the morale and faith of displaced Hebrews high, to remind them that God's righteousness would ultimately prevail.
The psalm and the book of Tobit thus had much the same function in the time between the exiles and the coming of Christ. They have the same message told in two very different genres. The Lord is on Tobit's side; and when he has suffered to the point that he prays to God for death, God sends Raphael, who sees his son Tobias through the dangers of physical attack and demonic possession, and guides the righteous Tobit and Tobias into redemption, spiritually and physically.
Tobit and Psalm 124 are told in a completely different fashion, but have the same point and same purpose; God's continued promise and faithfulness to those who have been caught in the net of conquest, through no fault of their own.