Sermons

Summary: When we’re confronted with desperate times, we can’t just do things the way we’ve always been doing them.

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- Have you ever been really desperate about something?

o Maybe you lost your job and didn’t have any way to pay your bills or didn’t have any place to go.

o Maybe you lost your home or your insurance and you didn’t know what you were going to do.

- I think the most helplessly desperate feeling you can have is when you have a spouse or a child who is suffering.

o You desperately want whatever is wrong with them to go away—but you’re absolutely helpless to do anything about it.

- In those desperate times, you’d do anything in your power to make it better.

- When I was studying this passage that we’re looking at this morning, the phrase came to mind—

o “Desperate times call for desperate measures.”

- When we’re confronted with desperate times, we can’t just do things the way we’ve always been doing them, can we?

o When things get really desperate, we need to start acting like it.

- The people in Joel’s day were experiencing some desperate times.

o I doubt that anybody in here has experienced a locust invasion.

o But look at how Joel describes it in verses 1-4:

JOEL 1:1-4

- This kind of devastation hadn’t ever happened in Israel before.

o Joel starts off by saying that this locust invasion was the kind of thing that they were going to tell their great-grandkids about.

o Kind of the way that a Londoner would tell stories about Hitler’s air raids in WWII.

- As Americans, we hear WWII stories of heroism and valor that was on display in Europe and the Pacific.

o Londoners lived through the personal devastation and destruction of nightly bombings.

o They would come out of their shelters to rubble and destruction.

- They tell their stories different than we do.

o And Joel knew that the people of Israel were going to tell their stories about the devastation that had happened around them.

- And those three phrases in verse 4 don’t come close to describing the absolute devastation they experienced.

o Most scholars think Joel is describing four stages of locust growth.

- If you are using an Old King James Bible, it looks like it’s talking about four different kinds of critters.

o It’s not—it’s one critter, in four developmental stages.

- Here’s the terrible thing about locusts—each stage of development destroys crops in a different way.

o The larvae consume differently than “hoppers” or “fliers” do.

- The bottom line is that the destruction is total and complete.

o Locust swarms are estimated to contain up to 120 million insects per square mile.

o And each locust consumes its own body weight every day it’s alive.

- During an unchecked locust invasion, every living plant is completely consumed.

o But not only that, when the swarms finally die, millions of dead locust quickly rot and spread typhus and other diseases which kill the animals.

- Locust plagues are so scary that today, there are international satellites that monitor for them and immediately send out aircraft with pesticides to kill them before they can get started.

- Just imagine living in an agricultural society after a locust invasion.

o They were probably still cleaning locusts out of their houses and sweeping them up in piles on their streets to be burned.

o And nothing green was left in sight.

- Can you imagine? Now what?

o Those were pretty desperate times, weren’t they?

- Well, here where we sit at the start of 2016 in America, we might not feel as desperate as those folks did.

o But we probably should.

o Because, I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but we live in desperate times.

- Take a few minutes to look at this video recap of 2015:

VIDEO [Charlie Hebdo, Paris attacks, San Bernardino, Ferguson, Baltimore, Hands Up Don’t Shoot, Black Lives Matter, Charleston, tornados, floods, earthquakes]

- Folks, we might not be experiencing the aftermath of a locust invasion—but we’re living in far more desperate times than most of us would care to admit.

- In the Western world, we’re in the last stage of the downward spiral of sin that Romans 1 talks about.

o Heterosexual sin is the commonplace norm—to the point that if somebody lets it be known that they plan to stay a virgin until marriage, they’re treated like a freak of nature.

- And now on top of that, homosexual sin is not just accepted and tolerated—it’s celebrated and encouraged.

o And now, as you could see in the video, the seeds of complete and total anarchy are being sown throughout our land.

o When you think about it, the aftermath of Ferguson and Baltimore and San Bernardino probably felt like a locust invasion.

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