1. Lighting your Menorah. Tonight we continue our celebration of Hanukkah. Let’s begin by lighting the middle candle in your Menorah, the shamash, and five candles on your menorah. Notice how the glow continues to grow.
2. The Anointing of a King – David. Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13. The date is most likely 1025 BC. Here we are introduced to a boy, most likely 12 to 14 years of age, whose name is David. He takes care of the family sheep. In those days, sheep-tending was assigned to the child or children of the lowest rank within a Jewish household. That is why when Samuel comes to inspect Jesse’s sons for kingly qualities, David is not even asked to show up . . . by his own dad. Yet David’s heavenly Father tells Samuel something remarkable, something that should be a true comfort to all of us, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” How might this attribute of G_d be a comfort to you?
3. The Davidic Covenant. Read 2 Samuel 7. Now we move forward in David’s life about 40 years to around 992 BC. No longer a shepherd boy for his father, he is now the most powerful king Israel will ever know. G_d makes a promise, a covenant with David that consists of four parts. 1) I will make your name great. 2) I will provide home for my people Israel. 3) Wicked people will not oppress them anymore. 4) Your throne will be established forever.
This fourfold covenant has but one condition: disobedience in the Davidic family is to be visited with chastisement; but never the dissolution of the covenant. In other words, separation, maybe, but divorce, never. During the life of David, parts one, two and three were fulfilled. During the reign of Solomon his son, disobedience would emerge throughout his reign and during the reigns the kings to follow. Eventually, due to unrepentant disobedience, G_d would have to expel the Jewish people from their homeland and send them into captivity. Chastisement but not abrogation.
4. The Star of David. Read Psalm 27 and especially verse one. “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” The Star of David is a symbol of national importance to the Jewish people. The symbol itself came into being, we believe, around the 14th to 16th centuries in Central Europe. It did not exist at the time of David.
So how did this symbol become known as “The Star of David”? A possible clue can be found in Balaam’s Oracle seen in Numbers 24:17-18, “A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the sons of Sheth. Edom will be conquered; Seir, his enemy, will be conquered, but Israel will grow strong.” Many theologians believe this oracle has a double meaning and fulfillment. Fulfilled once during the reign of King David, and the second during the reign of a later descendant of David 900 years later in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
Complete your fifth night of Hanukkah by singing one or two of your favorite carols.
Tonight would be a great opportunity to go and view Christmas lights as a family. Let the lights remind you of the Star of David and the covenant that G_d made between himself and King David; that someday in the future, G_d will provide a ruler on David’s throne that will be eternal in its duration. A covenant that G_d is still in the process of bringing to fulfillment.
Remember to not blow out the Hanukkah candles on your menorah. Let them burn themselves out. You are now more than half way done with Hanukkah. I trust you are having fun as a family in celebrating the Miracle of Light.
From our family to yours, Happy Hanukkah and shalom.
photo by D. Mike Collins