Context of the book
tribe of Naphtali
exile of northern kingdom
Foundation and formation
Foundation of good practices
worship at the temple in Jerusalem
not eating food of the gentiles
burying the dead respectfully
Formation of the mind
Continued previous practices even after his personal exile
convicted and committed to his service
before eating of Pentecost meal
Ended ch 2 with the blinding of Tobit after bird droppings hit his eye.
struggle to reconcile the suffering of the righteous.
The righteous are tested in order to bring about their improvement.
This is why we must be strong in the face of temptations, knowing they do not occur in order to humiliate us but in order to make us grow if we face them with a serene mind for the sake of Christ.
Prayers of Despair
More difficult, than reconciling the suffering of righteous people, externally, is the internal battle that must be faced.
Prayers in times of afflictions are no stranger to the followers of God.
Prayer of the 3 youth in Daniel (LXX)
Prayer of Hezekiah
Prayer of Habakkuk (wondering where God was with all the injustice)
Jonah in the belly of the whale
Tobit’s Prayer of Despair
God honors the good but punishes the evil and corrupt
Tobit saw his blindness as punishment from God for his sins and the sins of his ancestors
One of the challenges in working through our times of despair is dealing with our own cultural/societal biases.
Likely received biases from parents or strong influences
Afflictions take a toll on individuals
Affliction fatigue is real!
Elijah the prophet
Sarah’s prayer of Distress
Sarah to wants to die but knows the problems it will bring to her family.
Turning to God in times of deep affliction
Truth is affirmed
truth of his goodness
truth of confusion
truth of the gap between current outcome and what should be
petitions are made
strength for the journey is requested
Hope in God’s intervention becomes the fuel we need to continue on.
THE LORD HEARS ALSO A SILENT PRAYER.
AUGUSTINE: “With my voice I have cried to the Lord.”
I have not, that is, cried with the voice of the body, whose sound is made from the vibration of the air, but with the voice of the heart that is silent for human beings but sounds like an outcry to God.
Susanna was heard by this voice.
With this voice the Lord has taught to us to pray without sound in the secret places, that is, in the recesses of the heart.60
Prayers are heard, Raphael is sent
Beginning the journey
Tobit, having requested to die, prepares for his death
remembers the silver he deposited in Media
wants Tobias to retrieve it so that he can provide for himself and his mom
Request a proper burial and that his wife be buried her next to him.
Tobit gives Tobias advice for the road...
QUESTION: What do you think his advice will be?
QUESTION: What strikes you about the advice?
The amount of generosity in Tobit
The awareness of giving alms and the movements of the heart.
The uniqueness of the virtue of almsgiving with respect to salvation.
Tobit was blind, yet he taught his son the way of God.
You know this is true, because Tobit advised his son, “Give alms, my son, for almsdeeds save you from departing into darkness,” yet the speaker was in darkness himself.
Do you see from this that it is a different light that rises for a just person and good cheer for those of straightforward heart4?
Divine advice comes from those who have lived differently in this world.
They have darkened themselves from the physical world and gained in return a divine light.
Tobit, also advises Tobias on a variety of issues with respect to moral conduct and making sure he marries someone from his own people
A guide for the road
Tobias agrees to his father’s request to retrieve the silver, but needs a guide and wants to know how Gabrael will trust him and how he will navigate Media
Tobit tells him of the exchange of bonds and once this is shown he will know you are my son.
Tobias is told to find a guide…He finds Angel Raphael, but doesn’t know he is an angel.
Raphael declares that he is a kinsmen who knows Media well and can successfully guide him.
Raphael, also admits to knowing Gabael
This seals the deal to be the hired guide for the journey
Tobias goes back to tell his father and Tobit calls to meet Raphael.
Orthodox approach to the OT
OT / NT are a continual revelation of God
OT is best understood through the lens of Christ in the NT
many OT events are seen as a foreshadowing of salvation to completed in and through Christ.
An angel appeared to Tobias and offered himself as a companion through whom he might perform wonders for the people to whom he had been sent.1
And the Son of God assumed the nature of a human being so that, thus visibly spending his life with human beings, he might save the human race.2
As the conversation evolves, Raphael calls himself, Azariah, which means “God helps”
Ironically as they prepare to leave, Tobit prays that God angel protects them along the way.
Tobit’s wife comes in at the end of the chapter with deep concern for the journey…Tobit says, don’t worry for a “good angel” will accompany them.
Beautiful reminder, that God is always present with us before we ever realize it.
We started with a prayer of deep affliction and are left with the presence of God beginning to open the doors in such unique ways.
We are reminded to continually remain hopeful