The Book of Joel
The Day of Restoration – The Call to Believe God’s Promises
Today we come the third sermon of a five-part series on the book of Joel. In the first
sermon we focused on chapter one where the Prophet describes a locust invasion, unlike
anything the people had ever experienced. For years the locust had gnawed their way
through the vegetation causing a complete and utter devastation to all the crops, the trees,
and the land. Everyone had been affected, from least to the greatest. No one was exempt
from the suffering. The locust invasion had gone on for years and the people had lost hope.
So, the Lord calls the people to change their sadness to godly lament and cry out to God to
act on their behalf. Brothers and sisters, only God’s Word can restore the soul. (Ps.19.7)
Only God’s Word can bring rejoicing to the heart. (Ps.19.8) So, God calls us to pray His
Word back to Him as we cry for help. This is godly lament.
Last week we looked at the first seventeen verses of chapter two where the Lord inspires
the Prophet to use the current locust invasion as a backdrop to warn of a future
eschatological day of the Lord, when the Son of Man returns in His glory with all His holy
angels with Him at the end of the age. (Mt.26.31) Basically, the Prophet is saying, “If you
think you are helpless against an insect only three inches long, how helpless do you think
you will be when you stand before the Almighty God Himself on that great day.”
It seems the people responded in faith to Joel’s preaching by lamenting for God to act and
turning their hearts towards the Lord with an attitude of repentance. If we confess with our
mouth and believe with our heart, we will be saved. (Rom.10.9) This morning we come to
one of the most encouraging portions of Scripture found in the Bible. Joel chapter two verse
eighteen through twenty-seven.
Hear now the Word of God:
18 Then the Lord will be zealous for His land and pity His people. 19 The Lord will answer and
say to His people, “Behold, I will send you grain and new wine and oil, and you will be satisfied
by them; I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations. 20 “But I will remove far
from you the northern army and will drive him away into a barren and desolate land, with his
face toward the eastern sea and his back toward the western sea; His stench will come up, and
his foul odor will rise, because he has done monstrous things.” 21 Fear not, O land; be glad and
rejoice, for the Lord has done marvelous things! 22 Do not be afraid, you beasts of the field; For
the open pastures are springing up, and the tree bears its fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield
their strength. 23 Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; For He
has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you—
The former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. 24 The threshing floors shall be full of
wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil. 25 “So I will restore to you the
years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the
chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you.
26 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 be put to shame. 27 Then you shall know
that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the Lord your God and there is no other. My people shall
never be put to shame.
The Day of Restoration
This portion of Scripture is a literary depiction of the promise that the Lord gave to King
Solomon saying, “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to
devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name
will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I
will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2Chr.7.13-14) The
people in Joel’s day responded in faith to God’s call to lament and sought the Lord’s face.
The people in Joel’s day responded in faith to God’s call to repent and turned from their
wicked ways. And God responds to their faith by promising to be zealous for His land and to
have pity on His people. (2.18)
Why would God be zealous for His land? Because the land was necessary to maintain the
national identity of Israel to bring forth the Christ, so the Lord was zealous to preserve it.
Why would God have pity for His people? Because the lineage of David was necessary to
bring forth the Christ, so the Lord had pity of them. Yes, the purposes of God will stand!
The Promises of God
In our text this morning, God issues a series of promises for His land and His people.
Brothers and sisters, many are the promises of God and in Christ they are yes and amen.
(2Cor. 1.20) Remember the locust invasion had caused the grain to be ruined, the wine to
dried up, and the oil to failed. (1.10) But the Lord heard the cries of lament from His people,
He had seen their heart of repentance, and He promises to send you grain and new wine and
oil, and you will be satisfied by them.” (2.19a)
During the locust invasion food had been cut off from before their eyes (1.16a) but now the
Lord promises that they will have plenty to eat and will be satisfied. (2.26a)
The locust had caused the pomegranate, the palm, the apple tree, and all the trees of the
field to dry up. (1.12) But now the Lord tells His people to fear not because the tree bears its
fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their strength. (2.22)
Remember during the attack of the locust the storehouses became desolate and barns were
torn down (1.17) but now the Lord promises the threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and
the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil. (2.24)
The locust had caused the beasts to groan and the herds of cattle to wander aimlessly
because there was no pasture for them, even the flocks of sheep suffered. (1.18) But the
Lord declares, “Do not be afraid, you beasts of the field; For the open pastures are springing
The devastation from the locust had caused the water brooks to dry up (1.20) but now the
Lord will cause the rain to come down for you—The former rain, and the latter rain in the
first month. (2.23)
In chapter one the Lord described the locust invasion as a mighty army that had invaded
His land, mighty and without number. (1.6) This great army which the Lord sent (2.25d)
had done monstrous things but now the Lord promises that He will remove far from you the
northern army and will drive him away into a barren and desolate land, with his face toward
the eastern sea and his back toward the western sea. (2.20a) The Lord will destroy the
enemy of the locust so completely that his stench will come up, and his foul odor will rise.
The destruction caused by the locust had caused rejoicing to dry up from the sons of men
and gladness and joy from the house of God. (1.12b; 16b) But now the people are told to
rejoice and be glad for the Lord has done great things. (2.21) So rejoice, O sons of Zion, and be
glad in the Lord your God. (2.23a) And praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt
wondrously with you. (2.26a)
You see, the people’s very existence had been threatened by the locust invasion. The
possibility of the land being destroyed, losing their identity as a nation, being dispersed,
becoming fragmented, and a laughingstock to other nations laid heavy on their hearts and
minds. The possibility of the offerings and sacrifices of the Lord ceasing to be offered in the
temple caused the people to be overwhelmed with shame. But now the Lord promises, “I
will no longer make you a reproach among the nations.” (2.19c) Then you shall know that
I am in the midst of Israel: I am the Lord your God and there is no other. My people shall never
be put to shame. (2.27)
I Will Restore the Years the Locust Ate Away
Remember that Joel told us in chapter one what the chewing locust left, the swarming locust
has eaten; What the swarming locust left, the crawling locust has eaten; And what the
crawling locust left, the consuming locust has eaten. (1.4) But now the Lord promises to
restore the years that the locust ate away saying, “So I will restore to you the years that the
swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust,
My great army which I sent among you.” (2.25)
For me, of all the promises of God in our text today the Lord’s promise to restore the years
the locust ate away is the most encouraging. For the past couple of weeks, I have mentioned
that little is known about the Prophet Joel and that the exact date of his prophecies is
unknown. I have emphasized that some have concluded, which I agree, that this lack of
information is divinely intentional so that God’s people of every generation would apply
the five truths found in this book. And today we will learn that God wants us to apply His
promise to restore the years that the locust ate away to our lives.
This truth is both amazing and miraculous. Humanly speaking it is impossible to restore
time. We can restore money that was lost in a business deal or a bad investment. We can
restore a building, a home, or a piece of property. We can restore a painting, a piece of
furniture, or an old car or truck. Our health can be restored after a severe illness. Even
relationships can be restored. But humanly speaking years cannot be restored. As we all
know, time flies and does not return. Have you ever heard someone say, “You can never get
those years back”? Well, you can’t but God can.
I think each of us have experienced a time in our lives where something unexpected
happened like a locust invasion that ate away our years of work, effort, and devotion. It
seemed that everything was going along fine only to have it demolished by divorce, disease,
or deception. And like the farmers in chapter one we feel ashamed that we couldn’t do
anything about the situation. (1.11) In some ways the last two and half years with this
pandemic have been years the locust ate away. Time we will never get back.
But instead of focusing on what the locust has eaten, this morning I want to focus on how
God restores. What does God do to restore the years the locust ate away from our lives?
How exactually does He do that? I believe our text this morning tells how God restores the
years the locust ate away. I believe these promises were for God’s people in Joel’s day and I
believe these promises are for God’s people today!
God Restores Fruitfulness
First, the Lord promises to restore the years the locust ate away by making us fruitful
again. Often when we experience some sort of devastation, we become fruitless. Often our
love, joy, peace, and patience is dried up on the vine. (Gal.5.22-23) But here the Lord
promises to send you grain and new wine and oil, and you will be satisfied by them. (2.19a)
The Lord promises that you will have plenty to eat and will be satisfied. (2.26a) The Lord
promises that the tree bears its fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their strength. (2.22)
The Lord promises the threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with
new wine and oil. (2.24) The Lord promises that the open pastures will spring up. (2.22) Yes,
I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his
descendants begging bread. (Ps.37.25)
My point is that the Lord promises to restore the years the locust ate away by restoring
fruitfulness in our lives for the kingdom of God. Jesus taught in the parable of the sower
that the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and
understands it, who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and
some thirty. Why don’t we ask God to bring thirtyfold increase? No, why don’t we ask the
Lord to bring a sixtyfold increase? No, why don’t we ask the Lord to bring a hundredfold
increase of fruitfulness for the kingdom of God in our lives and to this church? Why
shouldn’t we ask the Lord for this?
God Pours Our Refreshment
The Lord restores the years the locust ate away by pouring refreshment into our lives. The
Lord promised that He will cause the rain to come down for you—The former rain, and the
latter rain in the first month. (2.23) There are many different thoughts about what is meant
by the former and the latter rain, but the simple conclusion is the water brooks had become
dried up because of the locust invasion (1.20) but here the Lord promises to bring rain to
refresh the brooks and the streams.
Often when we go through difficult times, we become dried up spiritually. The way the
Lord restores the years the locust ate away is by pouring refreshment into our lives
through His word, prayer, personal and corporate worship, and Christian fellowship.
Isolation, separation, and distancing ourselves will continue to keep us spiritually dry. God
has promised to cause the rain to come down on us to bring refreshment to our spiritual
drought. Why wouldn’t we ask to Lord to open . . . the windows of heaven and pour out . . . a
blessing until it overflows? (Mal.3.10)
God Destroys our Enemies
The Lord promised that He would remove far from you the northern army and will drive him
away into a barren and desolate land. (2.20a) Brothers and sisters, Christ Jesus has defeated
all of His and our enemies. (WSC#26) Brothers and sisters, no weapon formed against us
will prosper. (Is.54.17) Christ has disarmed the rulers and authorities; He has made a
public spectacle of them having triumph over them by the cross. (Col.2.15) The Lord will
destroy the enemies in your life so completely that the stench will come up, and the foul
odor will rise. (2.20b) We are restored when we rest in the victory of Christ.
God Restores Joy, Gladness, and Rejoicing
The locust had caused rejoicing to be dry up from the sons of men and gladness and joy
were removed from the house of God. (1.12b; 16b) God brings restoration when we begin
to rejoice and be glad for the Lord has done great things. (2.21) Yes, weeping may last for the
night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning. (Ps.30.5b) Therefore, I am going to praise the
name of the Lord with a joy inexpressible and full of glory because through it all He has
dealt wondrously with me. (2.26.a; IPt.1.8)
I thank God for the mountains,
and I thank Him for the valleys,
I thank Him for the storms He brought me through.
For if I’d never had a problem,
I wouldn’t know God could solve them,
I’d never know what faith in God could do. (Lyrics from “Through It All”)
God Takes Away Reproach and Shame
For years during the locust invasion the people had suffered under the weight of reproach
and shame. We, today often let reproach and shame linger for too long. The Lord promises,
“I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations” (2.19c) and declares My people
shall never be put to shame. (2.27) Brothers and sisters, Christ took our reproach and bore
our shame upon Himself on the cross. (Heb.12.2) Christ took our reproach and bore our
shame so that we would not have to carry it anymore. Through Christ you can rid yourself
of reproach and shame. The promise of the Lord through the Prophet Isaiah are ours,
“Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, and instead of humiliation they will
shout for joy . . . Everlasting joy will be theirs.” (Is.61.7) The Lord restores the years that the
locust ate away, the years of sin and rebellion, the years without Christ, by taking my
reproach and my shame upon Himself so that I may enjoy everlasting joy.
I have never met a person who said, “I wish I would have surrendered my life to Christ later
in life.” No, everyone I’ve ever met says, “I wish I would have surrendered my life to Christ
earlier.” Why, because when you surrender your life to Christ, He restores the years that
the locust ate away by making us fruitful, pouring spiritual refreshment into our lives,
defeating all our enemies, restoring our joy, and taking away our reproach and shame
through the cross.
The prince of preachers, Charles Spurgeon said, “God can restore in a moment more than
what all of us put together could do in a lifetime.” Our God is in the miracle business. He
turns mourning to dancing. He gives beauty for ashes. He turns shame into glory, graves
into gardens, bones into armies, and seas into highways. He is the only one who can.
(lyrics from Graves into Gardens)
Let’s make today the day of restoration believing in the God’s promises. Surrender your life
today and watch Him restore the years the locust ate away.