One minute the field was there, ripe with grain ready for harvest. Then a swarm of locusts rolled in like dark tsunami waves over the vegetation, consuming everything in its wake. Suddenly, the lush and fertile field stood bare, stripped down to the naked earth, robbed of value, sustenance, and any sign of life.
Joel had watched the phenomena with his own eyes. Could he have imagined such immediate devastation otherwise? Yet God had planned it as a warning for His own people. Israel had once stood as that verdant field, flourishing under God’s protective care, planted in a land He, Himself, had given them. But they had grown wild. They rejected His personal touch and had turned to foreign gods, instead. Though God tilled and weeded and worked relentlessly to bring His people back to a healthy relationship with Him, they insisted on spiritual starvation.
So God was sending locusts—the kind that devoured and stripped bare. Using the heathen nations that hated His people, they would swarm in and take over Israel, contaminating her sacred places and demolishing her unity as they dispersed in exile. The picture was dark and bleak, a hopeless scenario for Israel’s unrepentant sinners.
But not all would suffer eternal separation. Rays of light broke through the dismal prophecies as Joel pointed to Israel’s future hope. Though the coming day of the Lord spelled disaster and destruction for all of God’s enemies, those who remained faithful to Him could actually look forward to His coming. His return meant lasting peace and prosperity for God’s true people, the ones who had repented of their sin and returned to Him.
Joel’s message stands true for believers today who still eagerly await the coming day of the Lord. Jesus has promised to return at God’s mighty request to bring all His people back with Him to the place He has prepared for us, a place free from sin, suffering, and death. But the locust serves as a visual reminder of that day’s destruction for those who don’t belong to Him. Let Joel’s vision be the boldness behind our message to family, friends, and the world: Repent and believe, for the day of the Lord is near!