The Lord says, “I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you”. Joel 2:25
When we struggle in a certain area for a long time, it’s easy to accept it… I’ve been single for a long time maybe I’m not supposed to be married, I’ve been depressed for years, maybe I’m not supposed to be happy.
Analyzing my own life, I have observed that after each victory there will be a next battle. Today I defeated uncertainty, tomorrow I may battle insecurity, and after that I will be tested with my finances, and next with loving others, etc. It is so easy to become discouraged in life, with or without God we will all come to know this little monster called exhaustion. The truth is we can love God, love ourselves and love people, but we are not exempt to life. We can give ourselves to service of others, but be tired. The great thing about God, is that He is the one who restrengthens us and restores us to a state better that that which we ever knew.
Although God is not an evil God, because of His love actually uses different tactics to remold us. He uses fire to test and remold us, in a similar way in which fire proves and molds God, silvers and metals. The prophet Joel, addresses an issue that had affected Israel for a while, years of plant eating insects. These insects devoured Israel’s crops, and the country found themselves in a long time of famine. After reading and searching the scriptures, I believe that the Lord allowed each attack not all at once, but progressively. I’ve concluded it to be like the 10 plagues against the Egyptian pharaoh, in Exodus; and even from observance of my own life. I have seen God test me with this today, and with the next thing after that’s won. And slowly but surely, my strength has been spent. I am not ashamed of sharing it, because although nobody talks about being tired, I know I have needed somebody to tell me about being tired of life’s battles. And I truly believe in the quote that says “In order for the world to change, you must be the change, which you want to see.” So why not share my truth?
The funny thing about God though is that He turns everything for good, and even that which the enemy sends He uses for good. So in a crazy way, I have learned to be grateful for each and every single process, my mistakes included. After each process, we are able to see the fruit that was fighting to spring up. After each victory, we look back and notice the changes in our character, which are molding us into the person of purpose in God’s unique calling over our lives. And after overcoming each temptation, we are able to see what we are truly made of. For instance, God allowed the Israelites to go through the wilderness for 40 years! It seems pretty cruel right. But it was the Israelites own fault, their complaints, their gossip and murmuring, their jealousy and tyranny, and even their ungratefulness. God had to deal with them, and this was how He knew He would get to their souls to change! For people to confront the issues in their hearts, he causes a catalyst so that we may react! Catalysts cause reactions, and God terms, they cause change. Remember repent means change!! And sometimes people have issues in the hearts, even if they do not have illicit drug habits, or fornication issues; they may have pride, envy or rebellion in their hearts, etc.
The same with Israel in the time of Joel, Israel’s disobedience brought the consequences God warned them about in Exodus in generations past (Deuteronomy). I was reading and dissecting the things damaged by Israel’s disobedience. And the reason I believe it was a progressive devastation is because I found out what locust are, and how they work. When locust attack, they eat the vegetation, down to the seed and the root, meaning that any harvest would take years to re grow or redevelop.
- No grapes: No wine
- No fig trees, or other fruit trees: No fruit to eat or for commerce
- No grain: no offering to give God
- No wheat and barley: No bread
- No olives: no oil
- No food for their farm animals
SIDE NOTE: I should clarify that God does not only allow ‘bad things’ to happen to us because we have sinned. Remember Job? It was necessary for Job to know God, and to not serve Him because He had heard about God. God wanted Job to know him by revelation and experience, not simply from head knowledge. And God still works in this way too. God is merciful and willing to extend grace, but God is a righteous judge. I always need to remind people about this. God knows when you sin by mistake, or from weakness- God’s issue is when you CHOOSE to sin. This is how sin works in our lives, one small mistake will have us paying a consequence for quite some time. For example, look at King David his affair with Uriah’s wife cost him his entire households life. That family never had peace, they had incest, murder, envy and even David’s own son wanted the kingdom for himself. All from hidden unrepented sin. Let me clarify something about God and sin. If David would have repented after sleeping with Bathsheba, and been honest with Uriah I believe God would have forgiven him. But David plotted sin, and He hid it for Himself. David’s greater sin, was His silence because Nathan the prophet had to confront him about it. God hates sin, but He hates when it is deliberate and remorseless sin. This brings guaranteed consequences into our lives.
In the book of Joel… Have you ever gone through something, that you feel you never recovered from? Or something which is taking you years to get back up from? The Lord was drawing Israel back to Him by offering restoration. They were still serving other gods, in worship and breaking the levitical laws but God thought of ways to bring them back to Him. He never gave up on Israel, even until now, we see Gods favor over Israel even if they are not all Holy. We are now Gods people, we are the engrafted branches as it says in Romans 11 and if God’s love continuously sought and drew Israel back toHim; He can do the same with your heart. God bless Israel.
Father God, thank you for being our liberator our freedom maker, our way maker. Your love for us is everlasting and intentional. Each process is intentional, thank you for all the lessons learned and thank you for your patience for us. I pray for those people who have chosen sin, to live in secret or hidden sin and may your mercy visit them, since your word says that your goodness leads us to repentance: I pray for their hearts to be changed. I also pray for those have been mocked, or questioned with ‘where is your God? Is he a good God now? I pray for restoration in their lives whether in their bodies, their relationships, or in their finances, may you restore them to a better condition than they have ever seen. I know you are God, the God of restoration. Even in our wrongs You come after us. So today I also pray for those people who feel too bad or too far from you, show them your grace Lord, where sin is grace abounds much more. And finally God, those that have gone through emotional neglect and abuse lord, I ask for a double portion of your love, may your presence transform their hearts to believe you are for them and not against them. In Jesus name, amen!