Restoration (Week 6 of 8)

Scripture:
Joel 2:23-26 Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you— the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil. “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame.

Hosea 6:1-3 Come, and let us return to the LORD; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight. Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.

Observation:
Joel 1 describes a great army destroying and devouring everything, like locusts, causing great socioeconomic upheaval and extreme hardship for the people of God. Joel 2 informs us that this army was an enemy, but God directed it. God’s people had grown complacent, deaf to His Spirit, indifferent to His word, and insensitive to their own sin. God was calling them to repentance and realignment, but they would not hear it. So, God sent a devastating army to humble them. He told them that if they repented, He would restore everything the enemy had destroyed, and even redeem the time that was stolen. How great, sovereign, and merciful is our God!

Application:
As God brings correction into our lives, we should not respond with criticism and complaint, but with humility and repentance. He is not mean or sadistic. He brings correction to save, heal, deliver, redeem, and restore. We see many locusts in our generation, eating up the economy, consuming peace and security, causing destruction and devastation. If we humble ourselves and repent of our sin, God will heal, restore, redeem, and revive (Ezekiel 36:26-28, 2 Chronicles 7:14). He will pour out His Spirit once again (Joel 2:28) and bring back order and abundance to our lives and our socioeconomic crisis (Malachi 4:5-6). God is calling a generation of John the Baptists who will endure suffering, humble themselves, and declare His word in the wilderness of our generation, who are not destroyed by locusts, but who become a generation of locust-eaters (Matthew 3:4)! What the enemy means for destruction, God can use for our good, if we align with Him (Romans 8:28). The locust comes to destroy, but by His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6) the pressure and the pain can become our promotion as we respond with humility (1 Peter 5:6).

Prayer:
Lord, I love You. Thank You for today and for my life. You are good and holy. Help me to know You more and to be more like You. Holy Spirit fill me and reveal my sin, pride, and rebellion to me. Forgive my sin and the sins of my family, church, and nation. I repent for complaining and criticizing You and others when things don’t go my way. Help me to humble myself before You. As I do, I ask that You would redeem and restore what has been destroyed according to Your word. Fill me fresh that I be a voice in my generation, that my god would not be my belly, but You and You alone. Make me a locust-eater in the mighty name of Jesus Christ!

Worship: