The devastation that came upon the land of Judah was total and the story of it would be told to the future generations (Joel Chapter 1). The vines and figs were destroyed. The trees dried up and they lost the pomegranates, apples and dates. There was no wheat or barley; no wine or oil. The people lamented because there was no food. The sacrifices in the temple made by the priests had to stop. The land, the animals and the trees were suffering. There was an invasion of a foreign army, and all this was caused by the people themselves, as they had chosen to go far away from God and even seek other sources of supernatural power to rule their lives.
Joel, God’s spokesman, told them to call the whole community together to fast and pray in repentance. The ‘Day of the LORD’ was so terrible that no-one could endure it, but God offered them hope for the future. “Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster (Joel 2:12-13).
Our God is faithful to His covenant of love for His people. His heart is not to see them suffer, but that in their suffering they would turn to Him for mercy and restoration. The beautiful promise of blessings in the future included driving out the invader, restoring the fruitfulness of the land and trees and animals and providing an abundance of food. ‘Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before. The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame’. (Joel 2:23-26).
Joel then heard another exciting promise from God for the future, which was ‘And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit (Joel 2:28-29).
Today many are suffering the consequences in their lives of going far away from God and some have gone looking for other sources of supernatural power. The enemy has ravaged their lives like a swarm of locusts but there is hope for the future in the Lord Jesus. After true repentance and turning back to a relationship with God through Jesus they can have their sins washed away, be set free from the hold of the enemy over them, and enter into a time of restoration, new life, healing and blessing.
Prayer: Lord, I pray for all those whose lives are in ruins and need to hear the message of hope that they can turn back to You. I pray that they will find You and You will restore to them the years the locusts have eaten. May they find courage and determination to trust in You, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
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