“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.” Jeremiah 31:31 NIV
Happy 6th night of Hanukkah! Do you celebrate Hanukkah? Recite the Hallel? Eat the latke and cheese? Spin the dreidel? Recite the blessings? And most importantly – understand the meaning and how this applies to our lives today?
Dear Heavenly Father –Please forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Help us keep this world in perspective with your will be done and your kingdom come – first in our hearts and minds. Please open our eyes to see and our understanding that we may know you. Please continue to pour out your grace upon us! All we want is more of you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen
Before we get ourselves into today’s verses, I must apologize to you, the readers, as I have already apologized to God. Many of you who read this blog often, already know that I am usually writing about a week ahead of when thee post. Well, not today – I am not very far ahead. (Today for me is the 4th night of Hanukkah.) Last week was a train wreck of a failure! Yesterday’s post was a combination of all the posts I originally had for last week. They were weak – I was weak. And instead of digging in deep enough with God or turning to my multiple Christian friends and asking for prayer and support, I withdrew and wallowed in the “woe is me” self-pity of a rough week – making it extra difficult. Doubt, discouragement, and condemnation weighed me down. God has told us to fast and pray – I was eating comfort food and overeating and making a shameful mess of myself. Therefore – I will not give any more time to those struggles. We all have them. And hopefully you will dig into the word, call on someone for prayer and support and not give up as I feel I did over the week. Please forgive me.
Also – I let the festival of lights begin without any mention here, without any glory to God, without the recognition of the blessings that have been, are being and will be! Again – I am sorry.
I should have spent last week digging into the meaning of Hanukkah and enjoying the first few days of the celebration – as well as enjoying the spiritual growth and closeness with God instead of wallowing in my struggle.
I said the three blessing on the first day – by routine and without heart or meditation. Oh Lord, forgive me – let’s start again. I know, it is not a thing to start again. I know I am not even Jewish! But my good friends are Messianic Jews and have been my child’s godparents (I know, that is a Christian thing, not a Jewish thing) and they have had me teach my son their customs and ways in case anything happened to me and he went to live with them.
We serve the same God – through Christ, a Gentile like me can be saved. It is with deep respect I learn the culture and understand the holidays – it is with deep hunger to know my God! So:
Blessed are you Adonai, our God, Ruler of the universe, who has made us holy through God’s commandments, and commanded us to light the Hanukkah candles.
Blessed are you Adonai, our God, Ruler of the universe, who performed wonders for our ancestors in history at this very time of year.
Blessed are you Adonai, our God, Ruler of the universe, who gave us life, sustains us, and enabled us to reach this season.
The third blessing is so important and only said on the first night. It seems so much the reason for the celebration. Hanukkah is the commemorative celebration of the second dedication of the temple as well as a remembrance of the miracle of the lamp staying lit for 8 days while getting more oil for it.
Although the “command(s)” spoke of in these blessings are the old covenant, and we are under the new covenant, it is good to look back at what the Lord has done. The Lord has done so much in both the old and new – even using the old to foretell the new, like in Jeremiah, here, where the messiah is foretold:
“It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Jeremiah 31:32-34 NIV
As we recall the dedication of the second temple – We can take this time to rededicate ourselves, ceremoniously (or not) back to God and renew our commitment to Him and understand His covenant with us.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” 1 Corinthians 6:19 NIV
And as we dedicate our temple, our self, back to God again we should do it taking the time to understand the new covenant that God has made with us, as the new temple. The covenant that came with the birth of the Messiah, the Christ.
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” 30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” Matthew 26:26-30 NIV
So tonight, I shall light my candles to remember the many miracles my powerful and amazing God – Adonai, our God, and Ruler of the universe. I know he is worthy of my praise, my worship, and my life! I love the fact that holiday is all about blessing God! I have nothing but grace and even that was given to me by Him – But I have free will and can choose to bless Him and praise Him and worship Him for all that He has and can do!
Tonight, I will rededicate myself as His temple. Not because I walked away or defiled it – but because it is a time to remember the dedication and many times people rededicate on an anniversary of a dedication. Before the Latkes and cheese and olives – I shall remember the new covenant as it was poured out for my sins and the sins of my family. I will give the only thing I have – my self – and I will give me over and over again!
After the last supper they went out to the Mount of Olives signing a hymn. Many believe it was the Hallel (Psalms 113-118), which is often quoted or sung for Hanukkah as well. So maybe I will worship the Lord in Psalms.
I need more and more time with Him. Relationships are most enjoyable when spending quality time together. Let me encourage you to do the same and invite your families to join you. Bless the lord, oh my soul and all that is within me!
If you don’t already, and today you would like to have a relationship with a God who can communicate with you and be part of your life (and protect you) – one who is full of mighty power and tender love, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**
Thank you for reading ~ Grace be with you
Be healthy and blessed ~ I love you and love one another
Watch and Pray ~ Seek God & keep your eyes on Jesus!
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!