“Joel: The Big Picture” by Daniel Leavitt Sermon for Sunday April 2, 2017

Joel 2.32

Locusts in Exodus 10

New York Times

Looking Back at the Days of the Locust


Sweeping across North America, flying hordes of Rocky Mountain locusts were once an awesome and horrifying sight, huge glittering clouds of insects laying waste countless acres of crops. Throughout the 1800’s, the whirring swarms periodically ravaged farm fields from California east to Minnesota and south to Texas.

The locusts were easy to please, eating barley, buckwheat, melons, tobacco, strawberry, spruce, apple trees — even fence posts, laundry hung out to dry and each other.

When women threw blankets over their gardens, the locusts devoured the blankets then feasted on the plants. Farmers lit fires, blasted shotguns into the swarms and scoured their fields with so-called hopperdozers, large metal scoops, smeared with tar or molasses to grab as many of the offenders as possible. But it was all to no avail.

In her book ”On the Banks of Plum Creek,” Laura Ingalls Wilder recalls the horrid feeling of the huge insects clinging to her clothes, writhing and squishing beneath her bare feet and the sound of ”millions of jaws biting and chewing” as the locusts destroyed her family’s wheat fields in Minnesota.

In 1875 the species formed the largest recorded locust swarm in the history of humankind, 1,800 miles long


Natonal Geographic

But in October 1988 a swarm of desert locusts crossed the Atlantic traveling from Africa to the Caribbean.


Joel:  Yaweh is El, Jehovah is God

The word of the Lord that came to Joel son of Pethuel.

An Invasion of Locusts

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?
Tell it to your children,
and let your children tell it to their children,
and their children to the next generation.
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.

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.
A nation has invaded my land,
a mighty army without number;
it has the teeth of a lion,
the fangs of a lioness.
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.

Mourn like a virgin in sackcloth
grieving for the betrothed of her youth.
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.

A Call to Lamentation

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.

15 Alas for that day!
For the day of the Lord is near;
it will come like destruction from the Almighty.[c]

16 Has not the food been cut off
before our very eyes—
joy and gladness
from the house of our God?
17 The seeds are shriveled
beneath the clods.[d]
The storehouses are in ruins,
the granaries have been broken down,
for the grain has dried up.
18 How the cattle moan!
The herds mill about
because they have no pasture;
even the flocks of sheep are suffering.

19 To you, Lord, I call,
for fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness
and flames have burned up all the trees of the field.
20 Even the wild animals pant for you;
the streams of water have dried up
and fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness.


Joel 2The Message (MSG)

The Locust Army

1-3 Blow the ram’s horn trumpet in Zion!
Trumpet the alarm on my holy mountain!

 Read Numbers 10
Shake the country up!
God’s Judgment’s on its way—the Day’s almost here!
A black day! A Doomsday!
Clouds with no silver lining!
Like dawn light moving over the mountains,
a huge army is coming.
There’s never been anything like it
and never will be again.
Wildfire burns everything before this army
and fire licks up everything in its wake.
Before it arrives, the country is like the Garden of Eden.
When it leaves, it is Death Valley.
Nothing escapes unscathed.

4-6 The locust army seems all horses—
galloping horses, an army of horses.
It sounds like thunder
leaping on mountain ridges,

(The fifth trumpet results in a plague of “demonic locusts” that attack and torture humanity (Revelation 9:1-11)
Or like the roar of wildfire
through grass and brush,
Or like an invincible army shouting for blood,
ready to fight, straining at the bit.
At the sight of this army,
the people panic, faces white with terror.

7-11 The invaders charge.
They climb barricades. Nothing stops them.
Each soldier does what he’s told,
so disciplined, so determined.
They don’t get in each other’s way.
Each one knows his job and does it.
Undaunted and fearless,
unswerving, unstoppable.
They storm the city,
swarm its defenses,
Loot the houses,
breaking down doors, smashing windows.
They arrive like an earthquake,
sweep through like a tornado.
Sun and moon turn out their lights,
stars black out. (The fourth of the seven trumpets causes the sun and moon to be darkened (Revelation 8:12)
God himself bellows in thunder
as he commands his forces.
Look at the size of that army!
And the strength of those who obey him!
God’s Judgment Day—great and terrible.
Who can possibly survive this?

(The seventh trumpet calls forth the seven angels with the seven bowls of God’s wrath (Revelation 11:15-1915:1-8)

Change Your Life

12 But there’s also this, it’s not too late—
God’s personal Message!—
“Come back to me and really mean it!
Come fasting and weeping, sorry for your sins!”

13-14 Change your life, not just your clothes.
Come back to God, your God.
And here’s why: God is kind and merciful.
He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot,
This most patient God, extravagant in love,
always ready to cancel catastrophe.
Who knows? Maybe he’ll do it now,
maybe he’ll turn around and show pity.
Maybe, when all’s said and done,
there’ll be blessings full and robust for your God!

15-17 Blow the ram’s horn trumpet in Zion!
    Declare a day of repentance, a holy fast day.
Call a public meeting.
Get everyone there. Consecrate the congregation.
Make sure the elders come,
but bring in the children, too, even the nursing babies,
Even men and women on their honeymoon—
interrupt them and get them there.
Between Sanctuary entrance and altar,
let the priests, God’s servants, weep tears of repentance.
Let them intercede: “Have mercy, God, on your people!
Don’t abandon your heritage to contempt.
Don’t let the pagans take over and rule them
and sneer, ‘And so where is this God of theirs?’”

18-20 At that, God went into action to get his land back.
He took pity on his people.
God answered and spoke to his people,
“Look, listen—I’m sending a gift:
Grain and wine and olive oil.
The fast is over—eat your fill!
I won’t expose you any longer
to contempt among the pagans.
I’ll head off the final enemy coming out of the north
and dump them in a wasteland.
Half of them will end up in the Dead Sea,
the other half in the Mediterranean.
There they’ll rot, a stench to high heaven.
The bigger the enemy, the stronger the stench!”

The Trees Are Bearing Fruit Again

21-24 Fear not, Earth! Be glad and celebrate!
God has done great things.
Fear not, wild animals!
The fields and meadows are greening up.
The trees are bearing fruit again:
a bumper crop of fig trees and vines!
Children of Zion, celebrate!
Be glad in your God.
He’s giving you a teacher
    to train you how to live right—
Teaching, like rain out of heaven, showers of words
    to refresh and nourish your soul, just as he used to do.
And plenty of food for your body—silos full of grain,
casks of wine and barrels of olive oil.

25-27 “I’ll make up for the years of the locust,
the great locust devastation—
Locusts savage, locusts deadly,
fierce locusts, locusts of doom,
That great locust invasion
I sent your way.
You’ll eat your fill of good food.
You’ll be full of praises to your God,
The God who has set you back on your heels in wonder.
Never again will my people be despised.
You’ll know without question
that I’m in the thick of life with Israel,
That I’m your God, yes, your God,
the one and only real God.
Never again will my people be despised.

The Sun Turning Black and the Moon Blood-Red

28-32 “And that’s just the beginning: After that—

“I will pour out my Spirit
on every kind of people:
Your sons will prophesy,
also your daughters.
Your old men will dream,
your young men will see visions.
I’ll even pour out my Spirit on the servants,
men and women both.
I’ll set wonders in the sky above
and signs on the earth below:
Blood and fire and billowing smoke,
the sun turning black and the moon blood-red,
Before the Judgment Day of God,
the Day tremendous and awesome.
Whoever calls, ‘Help, God!’
gets help.
On Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
there will be a great rescue—just as God said.
Included in the survivors
are those that God calls.”


The Day of the Lord





Luke 24:47

44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for[c] the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”


The Apostles

Mark 6:12King James Version (KJV)

12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent.


Paul in Athens

Acts 17:30 (NLT)

“God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him.


Revelation 16:5-7

“You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were ,

Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh

Adonai, Elohim tz’ vaoth

Asher hayah v’ hoveh v’ yavo!

the Holy One, because you have so judged; for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve. … Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.”

  1. Today is the day of Salvation





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