February 2 | Bible in a Year: Exodus 29-30; Matthew 21:23-46
I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.
READ JOEL 2:18–27
A 2003 infestation of Mormon crickets caused more than $25 million in lost crops. The crickets came in such numbers that people couldn’t so much as take a step without finding one underfoot. The grasshopper-like insect, named for attacking the crops of the Utah pioneers in 1848, can eat an astounding thirty-eight pounds of plant material in their lifetimes, despite being merely two to three inches long. The impact of infestations on famers’ livelihoods—and the overall economy of a state or country—can be devastating.
The Old Testament prophet Joel described a horde of similar insects ravaging the entire nation of Judah as a consequence for their collective disobedience. He foretold an invasion of locusts (a metaphor for a foreign army, in the minds of some Bible scholars) like nothing previous generations had seen (Joel 1:2). The locusts would lay waste to everything in their path, driving the people into famine and poverty. If, however, the people would turn from their sinful ways and ask God for forgiveness, Joel says the Lord would “repay [them] for the years the locusts have eaten” (2:25).
We too can learn from Judah’s lesson: like insects, our wrongdoings eat away at the fruitful, fragrant life God intended for us. When we turn toward Him, and away from our past choices, He promises to remove our shame and restore us to an abundant life in Him.
By Kirsten Holmberg
REFLECT & PRAY
God’s love restores.
What can you ask God’s forgiveness for today?
To learn more about Joel and other Old Testament prophets, see the free course at christianuniversity.org/OT128.
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The blessings of restoration Joel lists in 2:20-27 are the weal (benefits) that follow the woe (curses, punishments) listed in chapter one. This interchange is common in Scripture and especially in the prophetic books of the Old Testament. Whenever the prophets call out the sins of the people, they list the coming punishment. But weal always follows woe. After the punishment has been exercised and the people repent, the blessings come and the land and the people are restored. J.R. Hudberg
Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want!!!
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