In the excited rush to get to Joel’s most famous prophecy (Joel 2:28-29) many people miss great encouragements that he unveils as he shares what the God of Israel has revealed to him.
God’s prophets and poets, authors and letter-writers share the same frustration. Word pictures crafted so delicately and intentionally can be overlooked by the those who proudly declare themselves speed-readers. Such specimens of humanity are like eagles flying high in the sky, looking for small rodents and snakes, so noble-sounding but they miss the diamonds, the colours, textures, shadows and the intriguing creatures hiding under leaves.
We can be like that as we hover over scripture looking for the big phrases that have inspired generations. Joel 2:28-29 is a prime example. Joel is bubbling over as an authentic prophet, with the revelation he has from God, and with good cause. His 73 verses, later broken into three chapters for our convenience, speak about God, his justice, grace, kindness and favour. They are teeming with life, hope, warning and opportunity.
“I am sending you grain, new wine and olive oil, enough to satisfy you fully; never again will I make you an object of scorn to the nations.”
In Joel 2:19 is a wonderful promise you may have leapfrogged over, “I am sending you grain, new wine and olive oil, enough to satisfy you fully; never again will I make you an object of scorn to the nations.” It is quite clear that God is speaking to Israel as a nation and not giving us an individual promise, but like most things in the Bible, God is also able to bring a further element of fulfilment to His Word, and for it to carry out what it was given for. As always, it is about mixing the word of God with faith. (Hebrews 4:2) a
This is a day where God appears to be speaking to many leaders in the Church about:
- digging ditches,(2 Kings 3:16-19),
- opening up the wells of revival (Genesis 26:18),
- the anointing (Luke 4:18), and the
- outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2, Joel 2:28-29)
Understandably, given the tensions that the Church across the world has experienced or heard rumours about, their focus has been on the Word of God. What does it say that will comfort, encourage and guide us through this time? As they turn to Scripture the Spirit begins to make those very words live.
It is not surprising then that this single verse in Joel’s encouraging, warning, inspiring and comforting prophecy should be one that stirs your heart, and gives you much to muse over in the coming days.
“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten…” (Joel 2:25)
Stop, pause and say that phrase over and over again. Say it out loud. Write it in an email or a text message, and send it to yourself.
This is something that you are going to have to contend for in prayer. The answers from heaven will be incremental, little by little, not all at once. Everything of value comes by prayer. Declaring or decreeing it is just modern-day silliness. Pray and ask God for it.(Hebrews 11:6) I am convinced that there is a favour from God on His church at this time that is like a surge on top of the already gracious flow of grace, mercy and kindness that He always displays towards His beloved. This truly is grace upon grace, kindness upon kindness.
I am convinced that there is a favour from God on His church at this time that is like a surge on top of the already gracious flow of grace, mercy and kindness that He always displays towards His beloved. This truly is grace upon grace, kindness upon kindness.
Briefly, let us unpack this verse and then attend to a conclusion on the matter;
This is God come to our assistance. It’s awesome in the fullest meaning of the word. It’s His initiative, it wasn’t an invitation, He decided. God loves the Church so much He sent His Son to die for it. You have not been forgotten. Your prayers have been heard, and sometimes if God had given you what you asked for, you would be in real trouble. There is wisdom in what He does, and the way that He answers your prayer. God is not accountable to you. he doesn’t have to heed your call, but He does. He delights in you trusting His Word and having faith in Him. There are so many rewards waiting for the righteous. He is good, loving and very, very kind. And, for the legalists, He is also Holy, Just…
When God says He will do something, He will. God is truth. He has no good intentions – they are direct actions, He does what He says He will. It happens. So when He says, “call to me and I will answer you”, He will. When He says, “If anyone comes to me I will not cast them away”, He means it. When He says, i”n the last days I will pour out My Spirit” guess what…
This word is loaded with everything you need to hear. The word properly means, ‘pay back’. It was taken from you by the hurricane of life, by people, events, discouragement or disappointment; and they could never restore what was taken from your heart. But God can. All things are possible to Him, all things. This word, ‘restore’ needs to be savoured like having a piece of the richest chocolate in your mouth. Not chewed, just slowly enjoyed, tasted, lingered over.
- to you
It’s easy to believe God has blessing and restoration for others, but God is personally at work with the Church and you, as part of that church. It is selfishness that says, “this could never happen to me.” It draws attention to you as you refuse to believe and trust God, questioning His integrity. Take Him at His word.This might help; Do you believe that God could do these things for you, but don’t have faith that they will?Here is the brilliant thing, the Bible has two words translated from the one Greek word; ‘pistis’. The English translation uses two words for it, Believe and Faith. They are both translating the same word! The good news is, if you can use either word – then you have ‘pistis’! And with ‘pistis’ ALL things are possible!
- the years
A strange phrase, God not so much promising to give back ‘stuff’, but years. ‘Years’, speaks of hard work, aspirations, development, skills – things that take time to build, develop, acquire etc. As you get older, there are some things you lose the opportunity for. But God has no limitations. He doesn’t even have a plan, what He intends flows majestically into His providence and sovereignty.
- the locusts have eaten
Locusts can look cute on the photographs but they are not. They have a massive sting, that can kill a man in 5 minutes. b They chew away at vegetation incessantly (read more about them here) but the thing is, the Locusts just nibble away. Plants slowly disappearing. You have seen that in life, hope slowly deteriorating, dissolving, disappearing. Then one day you wake up, and all hope is gone. That is what God is speaking of.
f you got this far without skimming over everything, well done! This is a powerful promise that is worth praying about and asking God to speak to you through. If I were you having read this, I would probably want to ask God to draw near to me and apply His Word to my heart, asking God in His kindness to draw near, and for His Spirit to witness to my heart this wonderful truth.
It is no coincidence that you have found this website page today, so don’t miss the opportunity to allow God to restore hope in your heart for what He wants to lead you into.
- If it helps, Calvin took a literal interpretation of chapter 1, but an allegorical view of chapter 2, a position echoed by most modern interpreters. (back)
- I’m only joking, they don’t have a sting! (back)