Hanukkah Challenge: Let your light shine…
* Some text taken from “The Real Story of Chanukah” by Kevin Geoffrey – Perfect Word Ministries

Some think the Hanukah celebration is about gifts, light and miracles.  In fact, the holiday commemorates gruesome events and horrible persecution that took place as the Jewish People stood up for God and His Word. Let’s take a brief look at the real story and see what we can learn to benefit our own lives and make us the People God wants us to be.

The time of the Maccabees: 175-134 BC: Seventeen miles from Jerusalem there was a small Selucid outpost in Modi’in.  The Selucid soldiers ordered everyone there to gather and sacrifice a pig on an altar.  Mattathius, a Jewish priest, zealously killed a Jew who agreed to do this.  Mattathias called upon people loyal to the traditions of Israel to oppose the invaders and the Jewish Hellenizers. His three sons began a military campaign that ultimately restored the Jewish Temple and People to the ways of God.

1. How have you stood up for the things of God with people in your life?
2. What can you do in your life to rally people to God’s causes?

During this dark period in Jewish history everything related to the Torah and Temple service, everything that defined and distinguished Israel from the nations would be eliminated.  The goal was for the Jews to forget who they were so the Selucid king could rule the world.

1. How are evil forces working to cause us to forget who we (Believers) are today?
2. What does Scripture teach regarding the truth of who we are?

This period of history was a nightmare of savagery toward the Jews, who were even killed for studying Torah.  There was a war on Jewish faith.  Sacred scrolls destroyed; Sabbaths and feasts were profaned; Circumcision was outlawed; Altars were built for idols in the temple; Swine were sacrificed on the altar; all who disobeyed the king were killed. Many Jews believed in bowing to  these new ways  as they preferred Greek culture to their own.

1. How do we see a war on Christian/Messianic faith today?
2. How are you bowing to the ways of society because you prefer the culture, over living a holy & surrendered life to God?

During this time Jews were arrested and tortured; whipped and scourged; scalped and maimed.  Their tongues were cut out; their hands and feet lopped off; their skin and hair ripped from their bodies.  They were seared in boiling caldrons, their lives billowed out of them in clouds of smoke, fried away as steam from their mangled bodies.  People praised their Maker while being tortured, and some while being forced to watch their loved ones tormented and made sport of. These martyrs were willing to lay down their lives for what they believed, and yet as disciples of Messiah today we can barely endure a harsh word or a nasty look for the sake of our convictions.

1. What do we need to do in our lives to prepare us to stand up to unspeakable persecution, including our inevitable demise, with unwavering faith in God’s goodness, and the promise of eternal life?