Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The years the locusts have eaten

I was reading a comment on a blog earlier today about someone who had found a long-lost relative. While I was trying to formulate some sort of coherent reply, I thought about Joel 2:25

I will restore to you the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army, which I sent among you.

Earlier in my life, someone told me that God wanted to "restore the years the locusts had eaten," regarding a situation in my life. The thing is, I never went back & read the rest of the book of Joel.

The name of the book means "Jehovah is God". And in this book the people of God are being attacked not only by forces of nature (locusts, drought) but also by enemies--armies from other lands. These things were not brought on by anything that they, themselves, had done as far as I can tell. The purpose of the book of Joel seems to be to call God's people to repentance. True, honest, turning back to the God who made them.

So where does that leave restoration? Well, when I looked at the surrounding verses of Joel 2:25, I saw that once the people return to God, He "will remove the northerner far from you, and drive him into a parched and desolate land," (v. 20); that "the pastures of the wilderness are green; the tree bears its fruit; the fig tree and vine give their full yield." (v. 22)

What have I been missing all this time? I believe that I have been expecting God to redeem parts of my life that were not beautiful with little to no effort on my part. Never mind whether the years I did not like were my fault or not. What he wants from me is daily repentance.
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster. Joel 2:12-13