#470: In the Twilight Days



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Reflections by the Pond
October 25, 2010

The Twilight Days

the writings of david s. lampel

It is the political season here in the United States, and, sadly, in the final weeks and days of a national campaign season there is a preponderance of back-biting, complaining, whining and moaning, and finger-pointing. The modern paradigm seems to be that a candidate offers not reasons to vote for him or her, but offers, instead, reasons to vote against his or her opponent. In a political season the message is that everyone is a scoundrel, everyone cheats, everyone wastes the taxpayer's money, everyone is a hate-filled racist or bigot.

The depressing message repeated ad nauseam during a political season is that the country has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.

° ° °

In the twilight days of Judah, just before it was invaded and its people taken into Babylonian exile, the prophet Habakkuk, too, painted a pretty grim picture near the end of his chronicle.

I heard and my inward parts trembled,
At the sound my lips quivered.
Decay enters my bones,
And in my place I tremble.
Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress,
For the people to arise who will invade us.
Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls...

Habakkuk 3:16-17

With good reason—the Lord's reason—beloved Jerusalem was about to be torn apart. The invading army would lay siege, resulting in, among other trials, a horrific famine, as described by Jeremiah.

My eyes fail because of tears,
My spirit is greatly troubled;
My heart is poured out on the earth
Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people,
When little ones and infants faint
In the streets of the city.
They say to their mothers,
"Where is grain and wine?"
As they faint like a wounded man
In the streets of the city,
As their life is poured out
On their mothers' bosom.

Lamentations 2:11-12

It is Habakkuk's conclusion, however, that gives us hope, for the lesson he had learned from his conversation with the Lord—Yehovah-Adonia—was that in Him he would find his salvation, his strength, his hope. The prophet would then live "by faith." No matter what came his way, be it famine, exile or death, his trust would be in the Lord God of heaven.

Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds' feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.

Habakkuk 3:18-19

And when we pass through the season of naysayers, and self-absorbed seekers of power, we are to keep everything in perspective—the eternal perspective of heaven—living by faith, and placing our trust in the eternal One, who makes us "walk on high places."

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