calendarWell, it wasn’t what you’d call a regular date, not the kind where you get together with somebody.

I was casually reading through the book of Joel when I came to that familiar passage about locusts in 2:25. The opening words made my heart smile at God’s reimbursement plan, divine repayment for worldly damage.

“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten …”

But the closing words of the verse wiped away that smile.

devastation“- my great army that I sent among you.”   Hunh?

“- my great army that I sent among you.” [emphasis as I read it]

Right in the middle of explaining the LORD‘s restoration process, Joel describes the very insect hordes that caused the devastation to begin with as soldiers under His command.

Could God? Would God? Did God ... order the swarm to ravage the land of His people? Share on X

Was the great I AM merely going to restore the ruin He Himself had caused?

I pondered. I prayed. I researched. I listened.

Walk with me toward the answer to those mind-bending questions.

yellowy locustContext, verses 5-17
It’s essential to realize that Joel was pointing out the real threat was not the locusts.
“you drunkards”
“return to me with all your heart”
“Rend your heart”
“return to the LORD your God”
“call a sacred assembly”
“consecrate the assembly”
“Let them say, ‘Spare your people, O LORD.'”

Consequence, verses 18-23
God’s prophet went on to report the results of the needed heart change, of repentance.
“THEN the LORD will be jealous for his land and take pity on his people.” [emphasis mine]
“‘I am sending you … enough to satisfy you fully …”
“‘I will drive the northern army from you, …'”
“‘Do not be afraid, O land; be glad and rejoice.”
“‘Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God …'”
and more

locust-swarmThe locusts were part of the Father’s alarm system, to warn His people of their wandering … to remind them of their need for Him … to draw them back to Himself … to His love and grace, to hope and freedom.

But there’s more.

The wreckage and destruction, trials and struggles on every side have another benefit, a broader purpose.

Our inheritance as co-heirs with Christ is confirmed as we share in His sufferings so that we will also share in His glory.

Believers are encouraged to rejoice in the opportunity to participate in the hardships of Christ as the foundation for our joy when He appears in glory.

Followers of Christ will enjoy His comfort in response to the faithfulness we exhibit when we face persecution along the pilgrim path.

There’s an intimate, inexplicable connection forged between the disciple and the Savior in the midst of a locust invasion.

“But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.” 1 Corinthians 6:17

Madagascar locusts
The answer is: Yes, God can and does send locusts into the lives of His people –
to grab our attention to turn from the heart threats that steal our balance, fulfillment, and joy in Christ, and to grant us the blessing of being united with the Savior both now and for eternity.

Are you on a date with any locusts? How are you responding? How are you growing?   Comment here.

*I use the NIV1984 translation unless otherwise noted.

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  1. Even in the context of messing up repeatedly, I’m so comforted that He’s willing to “repay” or “make up for” all of the devastating years. The rotten ones. The painful ones. The ones where I thought my life would never look like I wanted it to. I’m so glad you picked this scripture for the week. I haven’t thought about it in a long time and it’s a treasure!

  2. What a way to start my day today! Thank you for a whole other perspective to a seemingly obvious portion of scripture. I can’t wait to share this with my family and friends!!

  3. Sandra, thank you for your reminder that the same God who heals also wounds, but all with a redemptive purpose – to turn our heart from the things that steal our balance, fulfillment and joy. What a good and powerful God we serve!

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