The word of the Lord that came to Joel, the son of Pethuel. Joel 1:1
We don’t know much about Joel, except for his father’s name. What matters is that the Word of the Lord came to him.
God spoke through Joel because an unprecedented disaster had come on the Promised Land (1:2). It was such a calamity that Joel says people will tell it to their children and grandchildren (1:3).
In these first 18 verses, Joel describes a locust epidemic: “What the cutting locust left, the swarming locust has eaten. What the swarming locust left, the hopping locust has eaten, and what the hopping locust left, the destroying locust has eaten” (1:4).
Picture a cornfield with broad green leaves and swelling cobs. A vast army of insects advances over the field. When they’re finished with a stalk of corn, nothing remains but a dead stub in the ground. These insects are advancing at such a speed that you can see the field disappearing before your eyes. The next day, the locust army advances to the next field.
Where the earth is exposed they dig holes and lay their eggs. And after a few weeks another 60,000 locusts rise up from every hole.
Now imagine this epidemic coming to our country before the advance of pesticides. Think about the cornfields of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, and beyond. Mile upon mile of healthy crops. Now picture a map showing the “locust line” moving forward across each state. Behind the line, the crops are completely gone.
What is the greatest disaster you have seen in your lifetime?