December isn’t just about Christmas, there’s also Hanukkah – which isn’t celebrated by Christians, but knowing the story behind it is worthwhile. As we know, Ancient Israel had to contend with their more powerful neighbors who were’t known to respect their beliefs. At one point, the observance of Judaism was outlawed and the Holy Temple was desecrated. This outraged a number of Jews to the point where they revolted and successfully drove out the force occupying the temple. Now first thing comes first, they started to clean it out. They discovered that there was only enough oil to last the lights for just one day – but they lit them anyway. Then they began the process of making more oil – but it would take more time than the oil was expected to last. As they faithfully proceeded to restore the temple, they realized that the oil hadn’t yet run out – even though it had been a full day. Even on the second and third days, the oil lasted. It didn’t run out on the fourth, fifth, or sixth day. It was still there on the seventh and continued to provide light on the eighth day – lasting just long enough for the replacement oil be made according to the way God had prescribed it.
It reminds me of another story – just after Israel had been dedicated as a nation, it’s neighbors took advantage of their newness and weakness and attacked in what would be known as the Six Day War. One day, four soldiers stood guard by a steep hillside, not expecting to be attacked. Suddenly, the could hear a force of several dozen attackers approaching – the soldiers realized that they no more than a dozen bullets between them – so they took their positions and readied themselves for the short battle that was before them. Once all of their ammunition was expended, they ducked back into their fortification and waited. Suddenly, from behind them they could hear the attackers let out a scream, they turned around and ran back the way they came. The four soldiers couldn’t believe their fortune, time went on, the war ended. Then one day, one of the four soldiers – an old man by now, was recounting the story of the strangest battle he had ever fought to a friend of his whom he had brought to the battle’s site. He was interrupted by a stranger who happened to have been on the other side. He explained that as they were almost to the fortification they had all seen an impossibly large man appear just over them. They thought he was Abraham and were so terrified by the size of him that they couldn’t fight a second and fled to fight another day.
In a modern world where so many people take the sacred for granted – here is one lesson we should never forget, God loves His chosen people and has been known to back them up with His power – which cannot be defeated, contained, diluted, or contended against. He has promised to bless those who bless them and curse those who cursed them. Historically speaking – it’s better to be on His side than against Him.