Summary: This is a sermon for the beginning of a New Year based on the thesis that God is able to renew for each one of us the years "the locusts have eaten."
What the Locusts Have Eaten
--Joel 2:18-27 (Verse 25,
“I will repay you for the years the
Locust have eaten—
The great locust and the young
The other locusts and the locust
My great army that I sent among
They are destroyers and a delicacy. God sent them as the eighth plague of Egypt, but they were the mainstay of John the Baptist’s diet, for they are an excellent source of protein. Locusts are a type of grasshopper. They are the most important insects in the Bible. Nine Hebrew words in the Old Testament and one Greek word in the New Testament are translated by the English noun locust.
Locusts are destructive creatures. A swarm may have a population of billions. Wherever they go they devour and destroy all vegetation. We remember the account of the Plague of Locusts in Exodus 10: “And the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over Egypt so that locusts will swarm over the land and devour everything growing in the fields, everything left by the hail.”
“So Moses stretched out his staff over Egypt, and the LORD made an east wind blow across the land all that day and all that night. By morning the wind had brought the locusts; 14they invaded all Egypt and settled down in every area of the country in great numbers. Never before had there been such a plague of locusts, nor will there ever be again. 15They covered all the ground until it was black. They devoured all that was left after the hail—everything growing in the fields and the fruit on the trees. Nothing green remained on tree or plant in all the land of Egypt (--Exodus 10:12-15).”
They are speedy creatures who appear suddenly and disappear just as quickly. A swarm can travel over long distances and have found as far as 1,200 miles out to sea. One swarm of desert locusts that crossed the Red Sea in 1899 was said to cover an area of over 1,930 square miles. As the Biblical account in Exodus 10 relates swarms are usually brought in by the wind. When the come the literally block out the sun giving the appearance of darkness.
Egypt has not been the only nation to experience the painful results of locusts that “devoured everything growing in the fields and the fruit on the trees so that nothing green remained in all the land of Egypt,” our own country has experience the blight of locusts from time to time in our own history. Crops in New England were destroyed in 1797 and in Minnesota’s Red River Valley in 1818. In 1848 the Mormon pilgrims in Utah were plagued by locusts.
Laura Ingalls Wilder in her book On the Banks of Plum Creek and the chapter entitled “The Glittering Cloud” shows us what it was like to have the swarms of grasshoppers or locusts devour their homestead. This was the greatest plague to attack the United States and devastated the Great Plain States all the way to the Texas Panhandle: “They left the prairies utterly barren, with only holes in the ground where wheat or range grasses had been. . . .One swarm, about 100 miles wide and 300 miles long, was so high and dense that it obscured the sun and darkened the land” (--http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/natbltn/500-599/nb573.htm).