Reflection for August 20

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After Jesus left the region of Tyre and Sidon…

“Mama, do you think the demon will come back?”

The question so startled her that she dropped the shuttle of her loom onto the dusty ground. “Is that why you’ve been so quiet lately? You’ve been worrying it will come back?”

Her daughter nodded. “Eshbaal says the gods will send the demon back because we don’t go to the temples.”

“What a wicked thing to say!” She jabbed the shuttle into the loom and turned to where her daughter stood in the doorway of their small but clean home. “Who would want to worship a god who sends demons into little girls?”

Her child’s eyes were pools of worry. “But Eshbaal’s father is a priest in the temple of Eshmun. He says we offend the gods by not going.”

“Eshbaal’s father came here, and other priests, priests of Baal himself, and none of them could cast the demon out. When they left, still you suffered. Only the power of the God of Israel freed you from that evil. I will never go to those empty temples again.”

“Will we go to the temple of the God of Israel?”

“There’s only one, and it’s very far.”

Her daughter’s eyes widened. “There’s only one?”

“Yes. One temple for one god, the god of everything. That’s what our people could never accept, that there could be one lord of heaven and earth. I think that’s why Jesus didn’t answer when I first called out to him. He even tried to send me away. He thought that if he saved you, I would run into one of those temples praising Baal and Astarte and every other god but the right one, the only one.”

“Then why did he help us?”

“Because he was sent to do the will of the God of Israel, and God does not leave demons to torment little girls. When he saw how much faith I had in his god, he had faith in me. He believed that I would never forget who had saved my daughter. And I won’t. That’s why I know the demon is never coming back.”

Her daughter turned to peer into the room behind them. Daylight streamed in through the doorway, casting her shadow against the far wall. “How can you be sure?”

Drawing her anxious child back into the daylight, she answered, “Because in the kingdom of the God of Israel, there are no demons.”

Her daughter pondered this. “Are we going to move to this kingdom?”

She smiled. “We don’t have to. It’s come to us.”

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