Question: “How does God restore the years that the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25)?”
Answer: The statement of Joel 2:25—“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten”—is a reference to the produce of food from the years the locusts destroyed the harvest. A closer look at the context and details of this verse offers additional insight into the goodness of God.
Israel’s crops had been destroyed by a locust invasion (Joel 1:4), and the impact lasted more than one year. This could indicate that locusts invaded in consecutive years. However, it is more likely that the damage of one invasion had a multi-year impact. When locusts destroyed a crop, they wiped out the seed saved from the previous year, the harvest of the current year, and the seed that would be used the next year. Locust devastation of grape vines and fruit trees would take years to redevelop (Joel 1:12).
Joel 2:25 complements the preceding verse, which says, “The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.” The restoring of the years the locust had eaten would include an abundant harvest of grain, grapes, and olives.
The Prophet Joel had used the locust invasion as an illustration of God’s judgment. In His promise to “restore” the years lost to the locust, God is pledging to restore His repentant people to a place of blessing after judgment.
The results of this restoration would be both physical and spiritual. Physically, “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied.” Spiritually, they would “praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you” (Joel 2:26).
The conclusion of this section of Joel summarizes God’s intention for the restoration: “And my people shall never again be put to shame. You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame” (Joel 2:26-27).
But what is the condition of this coming restoration?
12 Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
14 Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God?
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call (for) a solemn assembly:
16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.
17 Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?
God must deal with sin, but when His people repent, they find abundant blessing that more than compensates for what was lost in the judgment. His grace abounds.
I am sorry but, I don’t see anything like this being preached at Lakewood Church or most Churches throughout America!