Dedication: the quality of being devoted or committed to something.
|Be sure to read today's passage before you start reading the rest of the essay.|
Antiochus Epiphanes required his conquered people to worship him by sacrificing pigs on YHVH’s alter in the temple. To the Hebrews the blood of swine (pigs) is an abomination (something horrible, shameful and immoral—disgusting!). Antiochus gave the Hebrews a choice to test their dedication to YHVH. Sacrifice a pig on the Alter or he would sacrifice them. Very quickly it was clear how deep the Hebrew dedication to YHVH went. They brought pigs to the temple instead of lambs. They would live and learn to worship God in a way that allowed them to live.
At that time there was a man, a priest of the Almighty, by the name of Mattathias who fought for his LORD. He offered Israel another option. Sacrifice a pig on the altar of the LORD and he would cause your blood to flow in the temple. He took a stand for the Almighty and the LORD brought him victory against the mighty Greek conquerors. One person took a stand for the Almighty and won an impossible battle. The story of Channakah is not about war, but about the dedication of the Alter of the Almighty. Why the Altar? Why not the victory? What is so special about the Altar?
Throughout the history of believers in the Almighty, men have built altars. Noah built the first one that we know about. Abraham and his son built many altars. Joshua is also famous for building altars. Why did they do that instead of simply kneeling down to worship the Almighty?
An altar is a place people come to worship. They have communion with the Almighty. We have come to think of communion as a time of drinking a sip of wine and eating a crumb of chalky stuff we call bread; but communion means a time of intimacy with YHVH. It is a time to remember the covenant we have with Him, a time to repent of our sin (breaking or going astray from the covenant). The altar is where we rightly approach the Almighty, repentant of our sin, with a proper sacrifice according to the covenant we have with Him. The fire at the altar represents the eternal flame of the Almighty. A proper sacrifice is slaughtered on the Altar, the blood atones (pays the price and makes right for sin we have committed) and the ashes of the burnt offering rises in smoke to the Almighty as a pleasing aroma, the scent of a believers commitment to Him.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:1-2 nasu
The great news about Chanukkah is that no matter how polluted and dirty you become in life, you can take a stand, repent, and come back to the Almighty. King David built a house for YHVH, we call it the Temple. We are now the Temple of the Almighty. Y’shua-Jesus lives in the hearts of believers. The Altar we worship at is in our heart. Y’shua is our sacrifice, our offering and our Way to the Almighty. Chanukkah is a season of dedicating our self to the Almighty in Y’shua. A time to take a stand against the world and it’s ways and to follow the Son of the Almighty who loved us and gave himself for us.
who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. Titus 2:14
Celebrate your dedication to the Almighty, a beautiful and precious gift, a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1-2) to the Almighty. Dedicate your life to living life His Way, according to the covenant Y’shua gave his life for. You will be a light in this dark world, a flame that will draw others to the love of Messiah!
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. 1 John 5:1-4
Mrs. Hagerty, December 11, 2015