“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.”
Repent and return.
Joel, a prophet, calls a fast for the nation of Judah. The land lies in turmoil. Locusts plague the nation, and Joel fears if the people don’t repent and seek forgiveness, a greater judgment will come upon them. The plague warned of God’s pending judgment. Already, they had no food supply and couldn’t have feasts or gladness offerings, affecting their worship of the Lord. Grains lay withered on the ground, barns stood empty, and the cattle had no food. Yet, the people didn’t see the signs or the need to repent.
If we return to the Lord, He will receive us with open arms. When the people turned back to God, He restored them.
“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, 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 again be put to shame.” Joel 2:25-26
Returning to the Lord, repenting, and giving our hearts to God will bring restoration. But only if done with sincerity. Aligning our lives with the Creator’s will means we submit our desires to His. Obeying Jesus’s commandment to love God and others requires a humble heart and a “Me last” attitude. Life doesn’t revolve around our needs but God’s will. When we center our hearts on the Lord, He restores the years that the locust ate.
Joel 2:25 contains a promise of restoration. This verse came to light by giving my singleness to the Lord and submitting my will to His. Receiving God’s promise, I think of it often in my married life, especially on Sunday mornings. Sitting beside my husband, I thank God for fulfilling the desires of my heart. Remembering the lonely Sundays I sat in church, praying for a mate to sit beside me, I praise God for restoring the years stolen by the locusts every week when I feel Ron’s arm around my shoulders.
My heart harbored bitterness and resentment that life didn’t turn out as I expected. Turning back to the Lord, repenting of my poor attitude, and submitting my will to His meant letting go of my desires and aligning them with His. God became the perfect husband for me, and I found in Him all I needed. Ron became the icing on the cake to an overflowing heart.
Repent and return to the Lord; let Him restore the years the locusts stole.
- How can I apply today’s devotion to my life?
- What area of my life do I need to repent and return to the Lord?
- How can I align my heart with God’s today?
Lord, forgive us for turning away from You. As we repent and return, let us learn the lessons You have for us. Restore the years the locusts stole, replenish our hearts, and allow us to find all we need in You. God, help our nation turn back to You. Unite us under one God whom we can trust. IJNIP. Amen