Restoring the Years the Locusts Have Eaten

The book of Joel is fascinating. God uses Joel the prophet to call the nation of Israel to fresh repentance so that they might experience renewal and blessing. This is after the nation has spent time in exile in Babylon. This is after they have experienced the ravages of a great locust swarm.

I can’t identify with a locust swarm but I can use my imagination. It would have been terrifying and devastating. This crowd cloud of winged insects descends on the land and not only is it disturbing to see but it has disastrous consequences. The food supply is destroyed. The economy is in shambles.  Israel is left asking, “How will we survive this?”

God says to Israel through Joel, “Yet even now,” declares the LORD, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD you God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. (Joel 2:12-13, ESV)

With that gracious invitation ringing in their ears, Israel then receives this promise, I will restore to you the years that the swarming locusts 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 2:25-26, ESV)

God affirms that He sent the army of locusts- it was of His hand but He intends to do good from it. In fact, the good He intends to do will be magnified through and because of the locust swarm. That’s how far and how powerful His sovereign hand reaches.

There is great reversing power that comes from the hand of God. Sometimes He dramatically reverses our circumstances. Sometimes He dramatically reverses the direction of our hearts. Nonetheless, He is a God who restores the years the locusts have eaten. I’m glad to know He does that. I need to be reminded of His gracious pattern. So do you.