During the time of Joel the prophet, the land had been ravaged by a historic locust plague. Like an army, the insects had stripped the land of its crops and vineyards. Even the groves of trees were stripped of foliage and bark. The locusts had also destroyed the spirits of the people who were lost in depression and despair. Joel used this disaster to tell the people that God was calling them to enter into prayer and fasting. And if they turned to the Lord, they would recover and thrive. As you read the passage of scripture below, know that no disaster can separate you from God. Keep following Him and he will bring you through any trial.
(Joel 1) 1 The word of the Lord that came to Joel son of Pethuel. 2 Hear this, you elders; listen, all who live in the land. Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your ancestors? 3 Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation. 4 What the locust swarm has left the great locusts have eaten; what the great locusts have left the young locusts have eaten; what the young locusts have left other locusts have eaten. 5 Wake up, you drunkards, and weep! Wail, all you drinkers of wine; wail because of the new wine, for it has been snatched from your lips.
6 A nation has invaded my land, a mighty army without number; it has the teeth of a lion, the fangs of a lioness. 7 It has laid waste my vines and ruined my fig trees. It has stripped off their bark and thrown it away, leaving their branches white. 8 Mourn like a virgin in sackcloth grieving for the betrothed of her youth. 9 Grain offerings and drink offerings are cut off from the house of the Lord. The priests are in mourning, those who minister before the Lord.
10 The fields are ruined, the ground is dried up; the grain is destroyed, the new wine is dried up, the olive oil fails. 11 Despair, you farmers, wail, you vine growers; grieve for the wheat and the barley, because the harvest of the field is destroyed. 12 The vine is dried up and the fig tree is withered; the pomegranate, the palm and the apple[b] tree—all the trees of the field—are dried up. Surely the people’s joy is withered away.
13 Put on sackcloth, you priests, and mourn; wail, you who minister before the altar. Come, spend the night in sackcloth, you who minister before my God; for the grain offerings and drink offerings are withheld from the house of your God. 14 Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.