Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Broken Hallelujah

Saturday night was Christmas Eve, the end of the Advent Journal, and the beginning of Chanukah. Though I am not Jewish, I love celebrating the feast and festivals, because they speak to the person, ministry, and work of our beloved Savior. I wrote to you on Saturday, that I will, to follow along with the Chanukah story, reflect each night on the great things the Lord has done for me. How what is impossible for me, God in His Grace and Mercy performs on my behalf. The Chanukah story tells of a miraculous story; sometimes though, my life can be a little less spectacular.

The Israelites found only enough oil for one day, when they were dedicating the temple anew, but God caused it to burn for eight days. They only found enough for one day, even though they knew it would not be enough, they lit it anyway. If the lampstand burned for only one day, then it’s one day; better than not burning at all. They lit it anyway. It is okay if you didn’t find anything spectacular in these last few days, we don’t need to create anything, or over sensationalize small things to make them look big. God doesn’t need our help to prove Himself miraculous.

I love that they lit the lampstand anyway. That keeps glaring me in the face, because oil in the Bible is very symbolic. The Israelites were instructed in the constructing of the Tabernacle, to bring pure Olive Oil, beaten for the light {see Ex. 25:6; 27:20; 35:14, 28 and Lev. 24:1-4}. Jesus was the fruit of the olive tree {Rom. II} beaten and pressed for us in Gethsemane and He was beaten, bruised, and died a torturous death for us on Calvary. The Oil also represents the Holy Spirit; He fills us with power to be lights and witnesses. The oil was to burn continuously in God’s Temple; it was a sign that He dwelt there. Just like the loaves and the fishes,  He took what little they brought and He multiplied their faithful, obedient offering. What if this is what God does for us? Maybe your story over the past few days of the Festival of Lights, is one of God’s sustaining oil, burning longer than you can muster on your own?

I began the Advent Journal so that I would nurture and cultivate a thanksgiving theology; to become more grateful to the Lord for all that He has done for me, and all that He will do. It is my worship and gratefulness that brings Joy. But life can be hard; suffering and pain seems to surround us, and it can be hard to praise God in the midst of so much hurt and pain. Sometimes our hallelujahs are broken. Not broken in that we don’t offer them, but that we offer them even in our brokenness.

I am flabbergasted that I am staring 2017 in the face; I have prayed and confessed to the Lord that I need a New Year. What if during this beautiful Festival of Lights, we set our eyes on our Light of the World, Jesus Christ, and bring whatever oil we can find each day, deep down inside, and offer it to Him as a sweet-smelling fragrance, and believe Him to ignite a new fire in us that burns for Him—hotter than we have ever known. What if we rededicate our temple {1 Cor. 6:19-20} and bring the oil—even if it is only enough for today? He will be faithful with our offering. I pray that you bring yourself to Him with all the oil you can muster. That He will fill you to overflowing, so that we will not be ill prepared and found asleep when He returns, but that we will be about His Kingdom and that we will burn bright for the world to see. 

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