Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
Even though Joel 2:25 has a life application for us, we do the scripture a disservice if we do not know its context. In order to understand any scripture NOW, we must understand what was happening THEN when God said it.
The background that prompted Joel to write about locusts was about a real situation that involved a whole nation of people. In other words, the scripture was not written for an individual. In Chapter 1, God warned the people of Judah that He would send locusts into the land to destroy it if the people continued to sin. God kept His promise after the nation did not stop sinning.
Joel used the locust invasion as an illustration of God’s judgment. After the people stopped sinning and repented, that's when God promised to restore the years lost to the locusts.
God could have punished His people another way, but He chose to send swarms of locusts of various kinds to destroy their land over a four-year period. That meant people and animals could not eat.
When locusts landed on a crop, the destruction went far beyond them destroying the produce that was on the land at that time. They also wiped out the seeds saved from the previous year. Therefore, there would be no seeds to be used the next year. They completely ate up all the buds and barks from the trees. Therefore, it would take years for crops to be restored and years for the land to be redeveloped.
Explanation of Joel 2:25
“I will restore to you…”
After God's people repented and returned to Him, God let the people know that the punishment has ended and restoration was coming.
“… the years the locusts have eaten..."
Because the people repented and returned to God, He promised to not only stop the locusts from coming, but He also promised to give them all that they would have had during the four-year period the locusts were eating their crops.
"...the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm…”
God named the types of locusts that He had sent to destroy the land.
“…my great army that I sent among you.”
God reminded His people that He was the one who sent the army of locusts among them as their punishment.
God promised that blessings would follow in abundance that will be more than proportional to the deprivation. God promised to compensate the people and make amends for what the locusts ate during those four years. God promised abundance where there had been deprivation. God will restore what had been eaten by all kinds of locusts.
What would be the compensation?
God promised His people that He would make up for what had been lost during the four years of the locusts. He would restore their time, energy, and effort. In other words, God said He would repay, make up for, and compensate His people for their barren lands by allowing them to produce crops again. Under ordinary circumstances, it would take a long time to redevelop the land. This time, God would make sure the land was ready for planting, and the harvest would come much quicker and would be bountiful.
Summary of the compensation
Verse 19: “I am sending you grain, new wine, and olive oil, enough to satisfy you fully; never again will I make you an object of scorn to the nations." God's people will have plenty to eat and drink. The other nations will no longer make fun of them for having locusts on their land.
Verse 22: "Do not be afraid, you wild animals, for the pastures in the wilderness are becoming green. The trees are bearing their fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their riches." God promised the wild animals would have green pastures. There would be fruit on the trees and vines.
Verse 23: "Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before." God promised to send plenty of rain for crops to flourish.
Verse 24: "The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil." All necessary items would be in abundant.
Verse 26: "You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed." This is both physical and spiritual. People would have plenty to eat, and they will praise the name of the Lord their God.
Verse 27: "Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed." This is the second time God promised that His people will not be ashamed of what happened to their land. The first mention of this is in Verse 19.
God promised to compensate the people with abundant blessings that would more than make up for what was lost in His judgment.
How Could God Restore the Years?
God’s people had suffered complete destruction of their entire harvest through swarms of locusts that came and multiplied. They went through the fields like an army as they destroyed the crops.
God would not turn back the clock. Instead, what had been lost would be restored in abundance in the coming years. It would be more than enough to make up for what had been lost.
Joel 2:25 is very good news for anyone who has suffered the consequences of their sins and believes they cannot recover what was lost. This scripture shows that God promises to restore the lost years of your life just as He did for the people of Judah provided you repent.
Through the minor prophet Joel, God lets us know that He will repay, make up for, and compensate us for our barren lands by allowing them to produce crops again. This time, the harvest would come much quicker and would be more bountiful.
Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on September 26, 2020:
Great article. It's sad prosperity preachers have misused this so much.
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 26, 2020:
Thank you for this. You put a good perspective on Joel.