“What the swarming locust has left, the great locust has eaten. What the great locust has left, the grasshopper has eaten. What the grasshopper has left, the caterpillar has eaten.”
This catastrophic event that Joel cites for us here, takes the form of a massive and uncountable number of destroying locusts that have come upon the land and stripped it bare. The Lord has been thorough. Each succeeding wave of attack strips away what the last one overlooked. There are so many – billions of them, they cannot be counted. They are merciless and ruthless as they strip the earth of all growing things and leave barrenness and destitution behind them. Nothing stops them. Locust are notorious for destroying all plants and green life in the environment. They are relentless and did great damage to the Egyptians at the time of the Exodus. Here they are again but in greater numbers. They are sent by the Lord to do His work in the lives of His people.
We say, “it is too much Lord… why?”
This is the constant and universal cry of God’s people when trouble arises and we are sorely oppressed. We see the hand of God as being against us, and we complain and think that it is unjust treatment from the Lord. Our cry is “its not fair!” God does not deal with His people in judgment but in mercy. If we received justice, we would be in utter darkness and punishment forever. God is merciful and deals with us as He sees fit and that is right for us. Those who are trusting in Him will see that and remain faithful, whereas the impenitent will blame the Lord and fall away. Only when we remember that all that is sent to us, is sent in mercy, do we bring our troubles to Him, examine ourselves and seek the Lord.
When we are young in the faith, we all go through this thought process and have to learn our lesson from the Lord. No matter how oppressive the trial is, He gives us the strength to face it and will shoulder even blame, so that we can sort out out thinking and our crisis of faith.
There are many reasons why God sends trouble. This huge oppression was to test the people of God and to warn them against turning away from God. It was a precursor to worse judgment should they not return to their God. It was to bring home to them the reality of the coming Day of the Lord and imprint on their mind the holiness of the Lord in His intolerance of evil.
Beloved, let us listen to the voice of the Lord, so that trouble will not come and may we learn from the Word of the Lord, rather than receive chastisement and pains. God loves His people and will not permit us to be taken away by temptation, sin and this world, but will train us to trust and obey Him and serve Him only.
If you are not yet found by Christ, you must seek the Lord, for the Day of the Lord will surely come and you must be ready to meet Him.