Hanukkah: Celebrating God's Faithfulness
JERUSALEM, Israel -- Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, begins Tuesday evening -- 25 Kislev on the Hebrew calendar.
It's also called the Feast of Dedication because it commemorates the rededication of the Temple and the victory of a small band of guerilla fighters against the vast Syrian Greek army.
Under the leadership of Judas Maccabee, the Temple, built by King David's son, Solomon, was once again in Jewish hands.
After cleaning every vestige of the pagan army, the Israelites searched for purified oil to light the Temple menorah. They found a small cruse, enough to last one day. Instead, it miraculously burned for eight days, just enough time to prepare a new batch. And that's why the holiday lasts eight days.
The Temple menorah is one of Israel's state symbols, a continual reminder of the courageous Maccabees. Today, the modern Jewish nation-state has many enemies who openly deny its right to exist.
The ancient words of the psalmist still reverberate, providing the encouragement and fortitude needed to confront the world's increasing and unceasing bias against Israel and the Jewish people.
God was everything to King David and he loved him unabashedly.
I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
So shall I be saved from my enemies. (Psalm 18:1-2)
A popular Israeli song, based on 1 Chronicles 16:34, says it all.
Hodu l'Adonai kee tov, kee l'olam chasdo -- Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
Today as we watch the rising anti-Israel sentiment worldwide, we can still take heart in God's eternal promises to His covenant land and people. He will guide Israel through these tenuous times -- that is His promise revealed again and again in His Word.
When you get right down to it, the real battle is between God and Satan. It just manifests itself against Israel and the Jewish people.