Restoration in the wilderness
God will make us new.

“I will repay you for the years that the locusts have eaten . . . . ” Joel 2:25a

Do past failures have such a grip on you that they define who you are today? Maybe like Israel you said, “It is no use! I love foreign gods and I must go after them” (Jeremiah 3:25). But now, yesterday’s bad decisions will not leave you alone. You are haunted by memories of what you did or failed to do. No one knows the pain you endure as you weep bitterly every night before you fall asleep. You lie dreaming of who you could be, but awake as the same person you were when you went to bed. Other Christians are too busy to listen, or they seem indifferent. For fear of rejection, you‘re not even sure that you want anyone to know who you really are. So you keep wearing the same old smile – the one you’ve worked so hard to paste on. Alas, you conclude that no matter how hard you try, the course you have set for yourself cannot be changed.

Dear one, maybe like Judah you are barren with nothing to offer. The locusts in your life have eaten up your joy, dreams, and purpose. According to the prophet Joel, the locusts had eaten up everything in Judah: “The fields are ruined, the ground is dried up; the grain is destroyed, the new wine is dried up, the oil fails. Despair, you farmers, wail you vine growers; grieve for the wheat and the barley because the harvest is destroyed” (Joel 1:10-11). The farmers and vine growers were told to wail because of what had taken place. The land was barren with nothing to offer its inhabitants. Without food for their animals or themselves, they would soon die. The Lord had allowed his judgment to fall on them because of their sin.

But, Ahhh! Let your mind and heart receive what the Lord says to Judah in chapter two, “ I will repay you for the years that the locusts have eaten” (Joel 2:25a). What a beautifully refreshing promise! God was going to restore the land for his people although their suffering was the result of their own choices! He was going to repay them for what was lost!

He has proclaimed that he is, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin . . .” (Exodus 34: 6,7a).
He forgives you, so loosen your clutch on the past!
Let your compassionate and gracious God, the one abounding in love and faithfulness, instill truth into your heart and mind. In Jeremiah 32:27 he says, “I am the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for me?” Of course, the answer is, “No!” If nothing is too hard for him, then neither is your transformation . As well as restoring for Judah the years the locusts had eaten, God promised to take pity on his people and send them new grain, new wine, and new oil so they would be fully satisfied (Joel 2:18-19). He will do the same for you. Believe his promises.

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