When is “not-enough” enough? When the Lord steps in and makes up the difference.
A small group of faithful Jewish priests were not enough in number or strength to match Antiochus IV’s armies. Yet they’d taken more than enough of the blasphemy against the God of Israel – the one true God – and they had to fight back.
In the second century B.C.E., Antiochus IV’s efforts to assimilate Jewish culture into Greek culture during his reign over Judea developed into full-scale persecution. He forced idol worship – with violent, often fatal, consequences for those who refused. He forbade Jewish worship, took over the Temple, installed statues of the Greek God Zeus, and sacrificed a pig on the altar. The holy Temple was utterly desecrated.
The Maccabees refused to worship other gods and soon revolted. Though vastly outnumbered, God was on their side, and the small band of revolutionaries won a miraculous victory. They took back the Temple and won back the freedom to worship the one true God.
Rededicating the Temple and resuming biblical worship meant keeping the Temple menorah lit every day. When cleansing the Temple, however, they could only find one day’s worth of oil that had not been defiled. It wasn’t enough to keep the menorah lit during the eight days it would take to acquire and consecrate more. In faith, they offered their “not-enough” and lit the menorah to rededicate the Temple. And then, God stepped in with another Chanukah miracle. Their insufficient amount of oil burned for eight days.
The apostle Paul writes that God intentionally chooses to use the insufficient, the weak and “not-enough” so that the victory and success are clearly by His power, not ours. This eliminates the opportunity to boast about our own abilities. Doing things beyond our strength testifies to the world of God’s power in us. (See 1 Corinthians 1:26–31.) God wants to take our “not-enough” and turn it into more than enough as He works in our lives to mature us in His love and use us to glorify Him and draw others to Him.
Here's another question: When is enough enough? You’ve heard the expression before. Someone has had all they can take of an unacceptable situation, and they shout, “Enough’s enough! I’m not going to stand for this any longer.” As we see with the Maccabees, there’s a time to stand up and declare “No more!” to unholiness in our lives. Chanukah offers us the opportunity to survey our lives and identify any idols that may have crept in. Perhaps it is time to say “Enough!” to a way of thinking, a habit or an ungodly influence. Though our strength is small, Yeshua (Jesus) has already won the victory over sin for us, and we can lean on His power to help us rededicate our lives to walking in His Spirit day by day.
Chanukah is known as the Festival of Lights and Feast of Dedication. Thus, it’s the perfect time to celebrate the Light of the World and rededicate our lives to Him – Jesus the Messiah – who gives us abundant and eternal life. Chanukah traditions include lighting the chanukiah – a nine-branched candelabra – each night; eating fried foods to remind us of the miracle of the oil; playing the dreidel game with its symbolism testifying to the great miracle; giving gifts of increasing value each night as the light grows brighter with each additional candle; and celebrating festive meals with family and friends.
As you celebrate this year, consider “Chanukah and enough.”
What "not-enoughs" can you offer to God in faith and let Him expand and use them?
What “enough’s enough” things is the Lord inviting you to submit to Him, asking Him to remove them from your life so that His Spirit can flow more freely through you?
Have a happy and blessed Chanukah celebrating the God of miracles and the Light of the World!