God’s Word of Spiritual Renewal
Joel 1:1-20: In this opening chapter, the prophet Joel describes a terrible invasion of locusts accompanied by a devastating drought. In these events, he sees a sign of the coming day of the LORD.
1This is the Lord‘s message to Joel son of Pethuel.
The People Mourn the Destruction of the Crops
2Pay attention, you older people;
everyone in Judah, listen.
Has anything like this ever happened
in your time or the time of your ancestors?
3Tell your children about it;
they will tell their children,
who in turn will tell the next generation.
4Swarm after swarm of locusts settled on the crops;
what one swarm left, the next swarm devoured.
5Wake up and weep, you drunkards;
cry, you wine-drinkers;
the grapes for making new wine have been destroyed.
6 An army of locusts has attacked our land;
they are powerful and too many to count;
their teeth are as sharp as those of a lion.
7They have destroyed our grapevines
and chewed up our fig trees.
They have stripped off the bark,
till the branches are white.
8Cry, you people, like a young woman who mourns the death
of the man she was going to marry.
9There is no grain or wine to offer in the Temple;
the priests mourn because they have no offerings for the Lord.
10The fields are bare;
the ground mourns
because the grain is destroyed,
the grapes are dried up,
and the olive trees are withered.
11Grieve, you farmers;
cry, you that take care of the vineyards,
because the wheat, the barley,
yes all the crops are destroyed.
12The grapevines and fig trees have withered;
all the fruit trees have wilted and died.
The joy of the people is gone.
13Put on sackcloth and weep,
you priests who serve at the altar!
Go into the Temple and mourn all night!
There is no grain or wine to offer your God.
14Give orders for a fast;
call an assembly!
Gather the leaders
and all the people of Judah
into the Temple of the Lord your God
and cry out to him!
15 The day of the Lord is near,
the day when the Almighty brings destruction.
What terror that day will bring!
16We look on helpless as our crops are destroyed.
There is no joy in the Temple of our God.
17The seeds die in the dry earth.
There is no grain to be stored,
and so the empty granaries are in ruins.
18The cattle are bellowing in distress
because there is no pasture for them;
the flocks of sheep also suffer.
19I cry out to you, Lord,
because the pastures and trees are dried up,
as though a fire had burned them.
20Even the wild animals cry out to you
because the streams have become dry.
Today’s Key Verse: Joel 1:14
Give orders for a fast; call an assembly! Gather the leaders and all the people of Judah into the Temple of the LORD your God and cry out to him!
Most of the ancient Near East, including Israel, was based on a farming and herding economy. An attack by locusts had very damaging effects. If locusts devoured all crops and plants, people and their animals could starve. How does Joel describe the effects of a devastating locust plague? What does he instruct the people to do (verses 13, 14)? Have you or has your community of faith ever felt called to fast and pray? If so, what were the circumstances?
Lord God, you are ever near and hear our cries. Draw me close to you and help me surmount any temptations or difficulties that I may face today. In your holy name, I pray. Amen.
Joel 2:1-17: The prophet Joel calls the people to repent.