The book of Tobit, found in the Biblical canon of Trent, 16thcentury, or the Catholic canon is considered a Novella (edifying stories). It’s a short story with a happy and courageous ending. Tobit, the father, is a man of sincere faith living under captivity of the Assyrians in the northern kingdom. Remember, the northern kingdom of Israel had split from the southern kingdom of Judah after Solomon died. Both kingdoms had failed to trust in the testimonials of God’s grace, mercy and justice. Both are enslaved by foreign powers, Israel by the Assyrians, Judah, later by the Babylonians.
Tobit has a son, Tobiah, who goes to recover his family’s investment with an angel named Raphael. On the journey he finds a wife and must cast out a demon from her, which the Angel Raphael crushes! Tobiah recovers the family’s fortune and returns home to his anxious parents, money and wife included with a blessing through the angel (healing his father’s blindness).
Read Deuteronomy 5 through Chapter 6:9 before you read the story of Tobit. How essential it is to pass onto your children the importance of loving and fearing the Lord thy God. Tobit says to his son, “Through all your days, son, keep the Lord in mind, and do not seek to sin or to transgress the commandments. Perform righteous deeds all the days of your life, and do not tread the paths of wickedness. For those who act with fidelity, all who practice righteousness, will prosper in their affairs” (Tobit 4:5-6). “ Seek Counsel from every wise person, and do not think lightly of any useful advice. At all times bless the Lord, your God, and ask him that all your paths may be straight and all your endeavors and plans may prosper” (Tobit 4:18-19).
If every father was committed to raising his son with these words and endeavored to model these actions with his children, where might we be as a nation? So, Tobiah, answers his father: “Everything that you have commanded me, father, I shall do”(Tobit 5:1). Someone is saying to himself as they read this – Oh! This is make-believe because it is part of the Apocrypha? My answer would be “Did you read Deuteronomy 6:4-9?”
Possibly, nothing is more strenuous on the mind than doing the right thing, the honest thing and the noble thing. Yet the selfish thing is so often, much the easier path for the mind to pursue. Lincoln once said,” Let us have faith that right makes might. And in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.”Listening to the voice of our faith is hard . Ain’t it so!