IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: I WILL RESTORE TO YOU THE YEARS THAT THE LOCUSTS HATH EATEN
Rev. Innocent Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
*”And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten.”—Joel 2: 25.
- LOST years can never be restored literally. Time once past is gone for ever. Let no man make any mistake about this, or trifle with the present moment under any notion that the flying hour will ever wing its way back to him. It will strike you at once that the locusts did not eat the years: the locusts ate the fruits of the years’ labour, the harvests of the fields; so that the meaning of the restoration of the years must be the restoration of those fruits and of those harvests which the locusts consumed.
You cannot have back your time; but there is a strange and wonderful way in which God can give back to you the wasted blessings, the unripened fruits of years over which you mourned. The fruits of wasted years may yet be yours. It is a pity that they should have been locust-eaten by your folly and negligence; but if they have been so, be not hopeless concerning them. “All things are possible to him that believeth.” There is a power which is beyond all things, and can work great marvels. Who can make the all-devouring locust restore his prey? No man, by wisdom or power, can recover what has been utterly destroyed. God alone can do for you what seems impossible; here is the promise of His grace: “I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten.”
I hope you are finally sick of it. If you find yourself in a period of spiritual stagnation, I pray you have had enough of its emptiness. It can happen subtlety over time. One day you are walking close to the Lord and a period of time later you find yourself devastated by his absence. What makes it worse is the realization that he did not leave us; we left him.
Our hearts started looking to the things of the world for satisfaction. Our gracious Father had blessed us and sent us gifts of his kindness. He gave us health, employment, shelter, food, and transportation, and all of these were good. In his presence, they satisfied the needs he intended them to fulfill, but our hearts started to turn.
It was subtle but significant. We started to love the gifts more than the Giver. We saw the pleasure they provided and wanted more. As we desired to be filled, we turned to the treasures of the world, and before long, when the choice presented itself, we neglected our God and ran after riches. Our hearts were bound.
The locusts of our spiritual life began to have their fill. Our time of prayer turned into time spent binge-watching television shows while lounging on a soft couch. Time spent in scripture was eaten up by social media feeds on shiny new devices. Our minds, which used to have a spiritual focus, began to be consumed with how to find greater and greater personal peace and affluence. Our minds were trained on how to acquire nicer houses, more luxurious cars, and more financial security in case of a downturn. We began to combat time with physical fitness. We used to trust in the name of the Lord our God, but now we trust in retirement plans and the best medical insurance money can afford. All these locusts dined on the fiber of our spiritual lives. Its fruit was devoured, the grain destroyed, and the oil diminished.
Yet, praise God, while we sat in spiritual stagnation, the Lord sent us locusts of his own. He sent locust to eat what was pulling our hearts away from him. Our health began to hesitate, our vocations began to vacillate, and our security began to stammer. All of the things we thought could fill us began to reveal themselves as sinking sand.
Then the revelation struck, we are not the person of God we used to be. Though we may still go through the typical Christian motions at church and abroad, our hearts are far from Him. He has stripped us bare, and we now stand naked before him.
We look back over the past several months, or years, and we realize we have squandered them. Yet, even now, declares the Lord, “Return to me with all your heart. Come to me with your fasting, your weeping, and your mourning.” He calls us to rend our hearts before him and return for he is gracious, merciful, and slow to anger (Joel 2:12-13).
Come home, dear child. You have had your fill of what the locusts can award. Come to the Lord, and he will have pity on you. He will send you spiritual grain, wine, and oil. You will be satisfied (Joel 2:19). He will give you early rain, and times of refreshing, but as you return, opposition will appear.
As you return to your Lord, the enemy will rear his head and say, “You might go home, but the years you have wasted are mine. The seeds of sinfulness you planted will continue to produce fruit. There is nothing you can do to get those years back.” Instead of serving God storing up treasures in heaven, you gave them to the prince and the power of the air storing up treasures on earth which moth and rust destroyed and thieves broke in and stole.
When the enemy tells you this, know he is right. Nothing you can do can redeem lost time, but what is impossible with man is possible with God. Our Father says, “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten (Joel 2:25).
Our Savior does not work in the economy of this world. Though you wasted many years in the service of worldliness, if you return to the Lord with all your heart, he can make your latter days more spiritually fruitful when taken together than the years you wasted.
Although God is the one who has sent this judgment, it is not too late for the people to ask for his mercy. However, this must be accompanied by genuine inward repentance, not just by the outward show of torn clothing, sackcloth and ashes. God may then restore their fields and vineyards, and they will be able to worship him with their cereal and wine offerings again (12-14).
And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the canker-worm, and the caterpillar, and the palmer-worm, my great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and shall praise the name of Jehovah your God, that hath dwelt wondrously with you; and my people shall never be put to shame.”
Joel had used the locust invasion as an illustration of God’s judgment. In His promise to “restore” the years lost to the locust, God is pledging to restore His repentant people to a place of blessing after judgment. The context describes many other positive things that would take place during this restoration:
The conclusion of this section of Joel summarizes God’s intention for the restoration: “And my people shall never again be put to shame. You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame” (Joel 2:26-27). God must deal with sin, but when His people repent, they find abundant blessing that more than compensates for what was lost in the judgment. His grace abounds.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14
Our situation in this nation cannot be solved by human means, we need Divine intervention to bring the our people back to being a God-fearing, Christian nation. Jesus told his disciples Apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
God accepts the people’s repentance and promises to remove the locusts. He will drive them out to perish in the desert regions to the south, in the Dead Sea to the east, and in the Mediterranean Sea to the west. There may be some unpleasantness at first because of the smell from the millions of decaying locust carcasses, some lying in heaps on the ground, others washed up on to the shores. But after this, the land will become productive again (18-22). God will give good rains and good harvests to compensate for the losses suffered during the locust plague (23-25).
Return to Jesus. You shall eat in plenty, be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God. You shall know that God is in your midst, and that is what you have been missing. He is the Lord your God and there is no one else. You shall never be put to shame.
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