This post is a part of the series 8 Gifts of Chanukah.
Tonight the fifth candle is lit.
Gift #5 of Chanukah is -VICTORY
The battles fought by the Maccabees were long and difficult. It wasn't an easy over- night VICTORY, but they won in the end. Many Jews were tortured and killed in the struggle to regain Israel and the Temple.
This passage from the Maccabees inspires me:
"When all his followers saw the host coming against them, they said to Judas, 'How can so few of us fight against so many? Besides, we have had nothing to eat all day, and we are exhausted.' Judas replied: 'Many can easily be overpowered by a few; it makes no difference to Heaven to save by many or by few. VICTORY does not depend on numbers; strength comes from Heaven alone . . . Heaven will crush them before our eyes. You need not be afraid of them'" (1 Maccabees 3:17-21).
This mighty warrior for G-d was absolutely sure they would win the VICTORY because his faith was in the strength of G-d alone. How did Judas know this? Because His father, Mattathias, had taught Him the Torah as a child. When he became a man, he had learned the stories of G-d's mighty power to win VICTORY as he sat in the synagogue each week. The Maccabee sons had grown up learning about the VICTORIES of heroes like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses.
Unlike believers of today, the people of that time period did not have a Bible in their hands. The scrolls were kept in the synagogues, and each week men would attend to hear the Scriptures read. They would then take the teachings home to their wives and children. Daily, they repeated the spiritual anthem of Israel, the Sh'ma:
“Hear, oh Isra’el! Adonai our G-d, Adonai is one; and you are to love Adonai your G-d with all your heart, all your being and all your resources. These words, which I am ordering you today, are to be on your heart; and you are to teach them carefully to your children. You are to talk about them when you sit at home, when you are traveling on the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them on your hand as a sign, put them at the front of a headband around your forehead, and write them on the door-frames of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
I'm inspired by the story of Chanukah because of the clear message of VICTORY. We face battles in our lives, too, Gail-Friends. We all experience troubles and trials, such as problems with finances, relationships, and careers. We are even facing battles with the forces of darkness in our country right now. We can give in to fear, or we can stand and fight in the strength of the L-RD.
I learned this lesson years ago while going through a court battle. I cried out to the L-RD for help and He gave me this verse to stand on:
"Some trust in horses, and some trust in chariots.
But we will trust in the name of our G-d." (Proverbs 20:7)
As I meditated on the verse, G-d showed me to replace horses with "lawyers", and chariots with "judges". I repeated it over and over and trusted Him to win the victory. In the end, I won the VICTORY! Now, when faced with a battle, I turn to G-d and trust Him to fight for me.
You can learn more about Chanukah in this series from last year: 8 Days of Chanukah
This is how we combine Chanukah with a celebration of Yeshua's birth: Christmas Unplugged