The festival of victories

A historically documented miracle. God fighting on behalf of his people. We must remember this. Those who trust in The Most High God must remember his victories among his called out ones.

A small shepherd army defeating a trained multitude of armed soldiers. Soldiers hungry for blood and power. God proved himself strong on behalf of those who put their trust and hope in him.

Oh how this comforts and assures me. God fighting on the side of his people. Not the strong, mighty, or many; not the rich, beautiful or determined. He fights for those who fight for him.

Who was it that joined together and fought against the tyrannical Antiochus Epiphanes? Who took the battle, who was willing, who stood up against the evil inclination? It was the most passionate, faithful servants of God, it was those who cared, more for God’s presence then their own. Those who longed for and lived by the light of his countenance. Those who were sustained by and clung to God’s words. These were the ones broken by grief at the sight of the state their temple was in. It was Abandoned, dark, not functioning as Father intended, not fulfilling its purpose. They repentant ones, make no mistake these were the ones fighting, they were willing to give their life, their heart and their pride to a righteous and just God in order to bring back light and truth and open the gate of heaven once again…for how can a nation exists without its King? And what could they do to bring him back?

The Maccabees were victorious because the King of the Universe said and it was so. They reclaimed their holy place. With weeping, they approached its humble state. They grieved, because once the presence of God had dwelt there. Once it was unsoiled, pure enough to host God’s manifestation- which lingered above his word like an Eagle riding the wind; inhabiting, hovering, waiting for an encounter with his sons. It was a sacred house where the Spirit of the living God spent each night. A place where God’s words were esteemed, where sins were forgiven, where offerings were made and gifts brought and accepted. The name of God rested at his promise. This hallowed gate of heaven had fallen dark, and they approached gently after victory over the enemy to face the defeat of their own transgressions. Perhaps they grieved in repentance, perhaps in sheer hopelessness and abandonment. A house of prayer chosen and consecrated now reduced to an object of hissing and despair shattered broken desecrated abandoned. So they wept as they approached. They wept for their temple, they wept for their selves.

The bullies act was not against a building made of stone but against a kingdom made of righteousness, against a king and his authority. It was an act of violence against Adonai himself, for God declared that he would establish his name there. Whatever Rome happened to be worshiping at the time, God’s word was already established forever in heaven, they attempted to tear down God’s name from the place he said it would be. They tried to eradicate his purpose, snuff out his presence as if he were a stone idol needing walls and golden altars.

The power and strength of the enemy was not power enough to defeat the All-Mighty God, El Gibor, who rides the clouds and commands the sea.
God gave back the temple to Judah and those zealous for His cause. God gave the victory to those who craved him, who ached for his company, because he ached for theirs.

He restored their possessions and they worked cleaning, rebuilding, repairing, and renovating what had been pilfered and raped.
They re-lit the lamp of eternal flame, reminding themselves: no one kills -the Consuming Fire, the great I Am, the Holy One of Israel. They renewed their commitment to God, their dedication to his truth, fingering the covenant like a well-worn ring.

What more reason do I need to light a lamp of remembrance during the 8 nights of dedication?

The enemy of our soul wants to smother the memory of God’s greatest victories, so his people crumple in despair and fear weakness. He seeks to ravish, ruin and shatter the temple of God’s presence. The people who call on God’s name are the target of his weapons. The ones who bear His holy mark, are marked. The bodies where God’s presence dwells are the object of Satan’s viciousness. He hates the places where God’s lamps shine, because it is these lamps that reveal the door to his word. It is here in these vessels, tents of human flesh, small bands of shepherd warriors, that the word of God is declared out loud, known, consumed. It is somehow this word which like oil keeps the flames going. The enemy desolates but God restores, Our God wins! He conquers! He takes charge, he reigns!
Bring your broken selves to a holy God who longs to dwell with us. This is why we light to remember – God still wins.

Why not light our menorah’s, why not remember He is light in us, his word is light which we either choose to ignite or let go out. The purpose of the lamp is to shed light, to shed light on the past, the presence, the future triumphs of God, so we may know, so we may enter, so we may dwell and be a habitable place for Him to dwell. When we light our menorahs, we remember his victories over evil, his acceptance of our renewed commitment and his eternal light over darkness.

It’s not horses and chariots
Nor wealth and power
It’s not sword or spear
Not battle hour
The victory belongs to God alone
His breathe, his truth reveal his own
His love wins out
In field, at sea
On broken road or ruined me
Giants, gods, kings and men
Warriors in armor, trained to defend
The serpents lie, deceit or force
Can never triumph over God’s holy course
Our God inhabits human hearts
And fills the minds of humble souls
His holy ones; they bend the knee
All to dwell within his courts
He takes the gain; he never sleeps
Restoring places where faithful weep
His word endures, his Torah lives
His presence hovers above and is
Our God must merely bare his arm
Turn his head, look our way
Shed his light, ignite our prey,
And all the wicked at last expire
While faithful walk in holy fire.

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