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Joel 1:1-20 – An Invasion of Locusts

A terrible thing has happened that they will be talking about for generations. Swarm after swarm of locusts have invaded the land – whatever was left by the previous swarm is eaten by the following one. By destroying crops and fruit trees the locusts threaten the very life of the people – no food means death.

No wine means there is no joy – only lamenting comparable to a virgin grieving the death of her bridegroom. Even more seriously, without grain and wine the people are unable to offer the daily offerings intended to maintain fellowship with the Lord.

Grain, wine, oil, wheat, barley, figs, pomegranates, palms – all destroyed, dried up, languishing. The basic things of life have been taken away. Joy itself is dried up as everything is cut off, laid waste, dried up, torn down; stripped, destroyed, withheld; ruined, devoured, burned; fails, languishes, withers, shrivels.

So how should people respond? Put on sackcloth, lament, wail, fast, cry out, call out to the Lord. The locusts are not just a natural disaster. They are ordained by God for judgment. As he takes away the very things needed for joyful flourishing life, the people are urged to fasting and repentance.

It is better for us to repent before God sends a locust plague.