Tobit- On Instructing God

Tobit 9:1-6

Tobias instructed Raphael, whom he thought was Azariah, to fetch his family’s wealth from Gabael and invite Gabael to the wedding celebration. Tobias is still unaware that Raphael is an angel sent from God. Raphael has lied to Tobias and continuously deceives Tobias. In Scripture, we never read about God’s angels lying. Neither to we read about them obeying human commands.

Here we see yet another way in which human religion fails to honor God. We imagine that God is out to serve us and that He sends His angels to serve our own self-perceived needs. It is why human religion prays to human saints and to angels. It is why human-centered religion has patron saints and calls on angels for their services. We desire religion, God, and angels to work for us and to help us with the things we deem important.

Whenever we see an angelic encounter in Scripture, people are fearful, and the angels are delivering God’s instruction to people. Tobit’s account is backwards from Scripture’s. Angels are not deceptive and are more concerned about what God desires for humanity than what humanity desires from God. Hebrews 1:14 even clarifies that angels render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation, not according to the preference of people or their self perceived needs. It is why the preacher in Hebrews exhorts the congregation to “pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it” (Hebrews 2:1). Christian faith is about us paying attention to God’s will, not about trying to conform God’s work to our wills. The type of religious influence we see in Tobit persisted into the day of Christ’s bodily ministry on this earth. Jesus was constantly battling human-centered religion, and we do also.

Gabael arrives with Raphael with the Tobit family treasury. He blesses his nephew, Tobias, his cousin, Tobit, and Sarah’s parents.

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