A Word for Today | Joel 2:25
One of the most devastating events recorded in the Bible is the locust invasion of Joel 2:1-11. Imagine “a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness” (Joel 2:2) as devouring locusts completely obscure the sun. They descend like an aerial army, leaving “a desolate wilderness” from which “nothing escapes” (Joel 2:3). The prophet describes this event, in which farms and homesteads were not only destroyed, but the land utterly ruined as generations of hard work went up in dust.
I think of Joel’s locust plague not only because of the mounting fears of the economic effects of our COVID-19 shutdown but also because of the spiritual message that Joel gives in the aftermath. This scene reminds us to be praying for business owners who may be in the process of losing everything and the sudden plague of unemployment that threatens. At this point, I certainly do not know what is going to happen. But we can know how the Bible comments on such scenarios.
Immediately after recording the locust plague that destroyed his land’s ecosystem, Joel gives a call from the Lord to seek His love and grace: “‘Yet even now, declare the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart,…Return to the Lord for he is gracious and merciful’” (Joel 2:12-13). Joel described a time when only the Lord could truly help and heal. Therefore, he called a prayer meeting, gathering the congregation before the Lord. He asks, “Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’” (Joel 2:17). Joel was concerned that Israel’s response to this crisis would fail to communicate their faith in God. God was the only one who could help them, but if they would pray, Joel was sure that God would come.
Joel sets a good example for us as we talk to family and neighbors about the coronavirus emergency. Of course, we are cheering on health care workers and researchers seeking a vaccine. But our true help is from the Lord. If we will turn in our hearts to Him – and urge many other people to do the same, perhaps many of our friends who have never thought about Christ – God will do more than help. He is able to restore things fully. This was the answer the Lord gave to His servant: “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25). God alone is able to do more than help us to escape our crisis. He can bring us to a better place. How wonderful it will be if America renews its former commitment to Christ and God’s Word. Let’s be praying for this to happen, and let’s take Joel’s place in urging others to return to the Lord, who will restore more than we ever have lost.
In Christ’s Love,