Pastor Randy’s Top 66 – Joel
“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten – the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm… ‘. Joel 2:25
The prophetic Book of Joel is a bit of a mystery when it comes to nailing down a specific date when it was written. It was definitely written to the southern kingdom of Judah, but commentators aren’t positive if it was written prior to the exile or after Nebuchadnezzar took Judah into captivity. The Book of Joel is different from the other prophetic Books that were written to the divided kingdom, because most of the prophets wrote to admonish and rebuke the northern and southern kingdoms and encourage them to repent for their very grievous and rebellious sins against the Lord. The big difference with the Book of Joel is that it doesn’t speak much about ‘sins’, although there are general allusions to their need to repent.
What is so different and interesting about Joel’s prophecy is that he isn’t necessarily talking about sin, rebellion, and/or the Babylonians attacking Judah, but rather he speaks specifically about a devastating locust attack that appears to have swept through their land over a period of a couple of years. These locust attacks have wiped out their crops, which has decimated their livestock and severely hindered the lives of the Judahites.
Now, these locust attacks can certainly be viewed metaphorically as attacks from the Babylonians, and the general judgment of the Lord upon the southern kingdom for their rebellion, and ultimately, this is the direction that most commentators go. But again, taken in context, Joel is speaking about the locust attack and what the people can do or “Who” they can depend on that will get them through this storm.
As always, whenever the Lord is speaking to His people through the prophets, He offers and promises hope and reconciliation. Yes, His people may need to be disciplined to bring them to a point of repentance – to the place where they cannot depend on themselves and must depend on the Lord – but the Lord God is always faithful to take care of His remnant.
So, our verse from Joel is a promise from the Lord that He will take care of His people – after the locusts have destroyed the crops – and after the captivity of the Babylonians – and then Persians. And I believe that this promise, which is more like a principle (as I spoke about in Proverbs), is applicable to God’s children today. You and I may go through some devastating circumstances during our lifetimes. We may lose our job; our loved ones; and our health. We may face setback after setback; it may appear that nothing is going our way; we may be cheated, ripped off, abused, taken advantaged of, but I believe as redeemed children of the covenant – I believe as spiritually transformed and repurposed children of the King of kings – the Lord sees it all, takes note of all that happens, and will remember to take care of His children. He will make sure – in one way or another – that we will be repaid for what the locusts in our life have eaten.
This is a principle – not a promise – and by that I mean (just as I said previously in our verses from Proverbs) the Lord may not ‘repay’ or ‘pay back’ the exact amount of money you lost; or give you three more children; or give to you the exact house you lost, etc. but more importantly, the Lord will bless and prosper His children spiritually, and in ways that we might never have thought of.
I share this verse with a LOT of people – and let me repeat the first part of it in case you have forgotten it – “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten…”. I know there are times that we think that we’ve lost it all and the Lord has abandoned us, but if we belong to Him – if we have come to a saving faith in Christ by His grace – then HE WILL take care of His children in one way or another!
So, don’t lose heart, and more importantly, don’t lose hope. Rest in the confident expectation that ‘the good work the Lord started in you, He will faithfully complete’. The Lord is a Great Bookkeeper. Nothing slips by Him. He will repay the years the locusts have eaten. Be patient, trust Him, continue to serve and worship Him, and wait for Him to fulfill His promises to you.