2 Kings 15-16
This is going to surprise you, but there were more kings. Some of them worshiped God like their ancestor David. Some committed the sins of Jeroboam. None of them were particularly significant. That is, until the very end of today’s reading where we are introduced to Hezekiah. He is important, but only for reasons you will find out later. So today’s reading simply prepares us for something better tomorrow.
“I know Jesus and I know Paul but you I know nothing about.” I laugh every time I read that verse. This is one more example of how many desired to have the “power” of early Christianity without the relationship with God. God isn’t a magical guy in the sky who gives you whatever you want if you recite something a certain way or offer the right prayers or sacrifices. When people try to manipulate God this way it usually ends very badly for them. In this case, God simply allows a demon to beat their bare butts. That’s a fun story right there. Thank you Luke.
“So what’s the big deal about Artemis of the Ephesians?” you might be asking yourself as you read today. Well, if you have heard of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple to Artemis at Ephesus is the third oldest on the list. It was kind of a big deal. It’s important to your city for tourism, influence, and religious reasons. If you are one of the men who makes the idols or stonework for or around the Temple, you don’t want anybody messing with Artemis. Artemis is good for business. And as Demetrius put it, “This is bad for business…oh…and…uh…and we should be faithful to our god Artemis.” So a riot ensues.
What will Paul do? Turns out, today’s reading is only setting up tomorrow’s.