Pastor Ron E. Thompson: The Years the Locusts Have Eaten

Pastor Ron E. Thompson

Another year has passed. 2022 is now history and we can never bring it back. Each day that God gives us is just for today only and it will never be repeated. Money can be restored. Relationships can be restored. Property and possessions can be restored. But one thing that can never be restored is time. Time seems to fly but it never returns. Years pass and we never get them back. But in Joel 2:25 ESV, God promises the impossible: “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten.” How can God do this?

Joel is one of the Bible’s earliest prophets. Extraordinarily little is known about him, except that he was a contemporary of Elijah and Elisha. He brought three messages on a subject entitled “the day of the Lord,” a term that appears nineteen times in Scripture. The first message is for his own day (a plague of locusts). The second message is for a near future day (an Assyrian invasion of Judah). The third message points to the ultimate prophetic day of the Lord, a time when God will pour out His wrath and judgment upon the ungodly. And for those who have repented, it will be a time of blessings and a renewed relationship between the Lord and His people.

At this point we are faced with this amazing promise to restore the years the locusts have eaten. Can God do that for our generation? How can He restore the years the locusts of moral and spiritual destruction have destroyed? Begin by reading this article with your Bible open to Joel 2.

  1. The Tragic Problematic Years. For the people in Judah, all their years of hard labor in planting, and cultivating their crops day after day, only to have the locusts destroy everything only meant fruitless years.

One can work tirelessly but have nothing to show for it. Suppose you made a bad investment resulting in a loss instead of a profit. Or assume you finished a course of study you enjoyed but discovered you were better suited for something else. These years could be painful ones. You entered a selfish, ill-advised marriage relationship that resulted only in antagonism instead of agreement. For those of you who have lost loved ones, you had plans for their future all mapped out, but that loved one was taken from you and you fear that future years will be empty. Then there are Christ-less years. All Christ-less years are locust years, especially if you have never made a personal commitment to Christ. Ask anyone who became a Christian later in life and they will tell you that they wish they had come to the Savior sooner than they did. Do you feel that years have been lost and you cannot get them back? God still says, “I will restore the years that the locusts have eaten.”

  1. The Triumphant Promising Years. To whom is this promise from God given? Joel tells the people of Judah to stop looking at the locusts and start looking at what is coming next, an invasion by Assyria (2:20). Then the prophet gives them three timely directives: First, “blow the trumpet” (2:1-11). Trumpets in those days were used to announce events and prepare people for war. In Joel’s case, it was to call a fast (2:15). Their weapons would not be swords and spears, but repentance and prayer because the Lord would fight for them. Joel 2:1,11 terms this invasion “the day of the Lord,” his second message. In Joel 2;12-17, the prophet urges the people to repent and seek God’s help. Repentance is not just feeling sorrow for sins but to change one’s mind. In those days, people expressed grief by tearing their clothing. But God wanted more than an outward sign; He wanted an inward change. Then we read this wonderful text in Joel 2:25 where God promises to restore the wasted years if His people will come to Him with sincere and broken hearts.

Folks, God is in the restoration business! He can restore a boring life, a dead-end job, a physical illness, or a failing marriage. He can bring light into the darkness of our problems. He can do this because He makes all things new (Rev. 21:5).

Remember the prodigal son who wasted everything in the far country (Luke 15:13-14)?   A turning point came in his life when he repented and returned to his father. That father restored all those wasted years by welcoming him home and giving him the royal treatment as if he had never left home at all. If you are without Christ and have had your way for a season, turn to Him in repentance and faith and He will restore the locus-eaten years. And if you are a spiritually immature Christian, neglecting prayer, Bible study, and a positive witness, God can lift you spiritually to a higher plane. The only condition is repentance.

Does your church have wasted years of carnality, divisiveness, or a stagnant testimony? Do what Christ ordered the church at Ephesus to do that had left its first love. He said, “repent and do your first works” (Rev. 2:5). A church does not have to shrivel up and die. If there is a return to the Lord, God can make those lost years seem like nothing compared to what He could accomplish through a revived congregation. Beloved, we need a revival of interest, enthusiasm, and real concern. And if we decide to turn to the Lord, we can count on his faithfulness in restoring the wasted years – the years the locusts have eaten!

Pastor Ron E Thompson

Ron E. Thompson is a retired pastor/evangelist having had a ministry spanning over sixty years. He served as pastor of churches in Indiana, Virginia, Arizona, and South Carolina. As Director of Brethren Evangelistic Ministries, he held numerous evangelistic and revival crusades in twenty-two states. He led a team that conducted evangelism seminars throughout the United States and in several foreign countries. Ron is author of two books: Hurricane Evangelism and Sermons in Song. He is also a musician, having studied piano under noted composer-conductor, Hubert Tillery. Music has served him well as an avocation in his life and ministry. He currently is a pianist at the Fountain of Life Bible Church in Johnson City, TN. Ron received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Bridgewater College and his Master of Divinity degree from Grace Theological Seminary. He did graduate studies at Wheaton College and the Billy Graham School of Evangelism. He attended the North American Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in1994. Ron’s home is in Limestone, Tennessee. He is the father of two daughters: Evangeline Hales, a musician at Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, VA and violinist with the Lynchburg Symphony; Dr. Melody Archer, Retired Administrator and Principal of Tri-Cities Christian Schools, Blountville, TN.

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