This post is part of a reflective Lenten series, originally published as Facebook posts on my personal account.
Lenten practice, day #13.
Reference: Tobit 13:1-18
I’d like to point out that it seems like a lot of these chapters have almost 18 verses on the dot. Weird.
So this entire chapter is a song. Tobit, having just received his sight back, was reassured that his son was not, in fact, dead, got to meet his daughter-in-law, sees his son pretty much set for life with finances (and 50% more on the way), and gets to meet an angel, is pretty freaking excited.
So he breaks out into song. And probably even dance, although that’s not detailed here. Never realized the Bible is basically set up like one giant musical, huh?
I’m guilty of finding songs in the Bible to be a bit boring. When they’re taken out of context and someone quotes a line from one to me separate from the text, I’m all “Man! This is great! How beautiful!” But when I’m actually reading them in the Bible, I can hardly focus. Needless to say, this is a difficult chapter for me.
I’ll do my best to spare you all my undergraduate-Theo-major-smarty-pants-rundown-on-the-structure-of-Old-Testament-poetry-and-prophecy. (You’re welcome.) Let me take a moment, however, to emphasize that this song was a) prophetic and b) divinely inspired.
- It’s prophetic because it’s written to intentionally mirror the prophecies prior to it in the Jewish Bible. (I didn’t make this up—it’s a scholarly note printed in the footnotes.) It reveals deep truths about God and the nature of his relationship with us.
- It’s divinely inspired because authentic prophecy is ALWAYS divinely inspired, because it’s canonical scripture which is ALSO always inspired, and because its context invokes the idea that Tobit was so elated in his song that its composition was really something that happened beyond himself. Anyway, if you have more questions, ask. (Or if you’re Randy—yup, I’m talking to you, Randy—then feel free to school me cause I have a lot to learn!) Most of the people who read these posts don’t care about the mechanics of prophecy, so I won’t bore you with it.
Anyway, looking at this chapter through the eyes of a Christian who is well aware of the fulfillment of the Old Testament in Jesus, it’s really cool to see the evolution of certain thoughts. (Granted, this is something I would geek out about, so don’t feel bad if you think it’s lame.) We see the evolution of Tobit’s “[God] scourges and then has mercy,” gently corrected to Jesus’ reassurance that evil is not from God and God only desires the best for us, going so far as to say that He loves us just as he loves Jesus (John 17:23).
Okay, summing up what I just said cause you probably skipped to the bottom: God’s real cool, Tobit likes him, God uses Tobit to prophesy to the whole world, and it’s cool to see Tobit’s very Old Testament thoughts evolve as Christ comes along to redeem them!
Not as deep as normal, sorry about that kids. Your thoughts on the passage are welcomed since mine were mostly academic.