Sunday: A National Disaster

Read Joel 1:1-12. What is happening to the land of Judah?

Image © David Sorensen from

Image © David Sorensen from

The prophet, who lived in an agricultural society, calls upon the farmers to be dismayed at the loss of their grain and fruit harvests. The ecological destruction could cripple the nation’s economy for years. In addition to the loss of food, shade, and wood, there is a threat of topsoil erosion. Some fruit trees in Palestine take 20 years to grow before they become productive. In fact, agricultural devastation and deforestation were typical tactics of invading armies seeking to punish those they conquered by making impossible any prospect of a short-term recovery.

Read Deuteronomy 28:38. How does that help us to understand what is happening to Judah?

Joel uses four different terms for the locusts (Joel 1:4) in order to express the intensity and the totality of the plague. The destruction caused by the locusts was made even worse by drought. All of the crops that the farmers had expected have withered, and the farmers despair because they have nothing to eat or sell; they do not even have seed for replanting. A calamity of such proportions was unheard of by their ancestors and was something to tell future generations about. The fact that a similar disaster had never happened before heightens the importance of the situation.

The prophet also announces the destruction of the dietary staples in the land of Israel, such as grapes, grain and oil (Deut. 14:2318:4). Wheat and barley are the most important grains in Palestine. Vines and fig trees in the Bible symbolize peaceful living with abundance of God’s blessings in the Promised Land (1 Kings 4:25Mic. 4:4Zech. 3:10). The idyllic image of peace and prosperity is to be able to sit under one’s own vine and fig tree. All this now is threatened by divine judgment brought about because of their sins.

Harvest was a time of rejoicing (Ps. 4:7Isa. 9:3). Although the land in Israel was a gift from the Lord, it still belonged to God. Israel was expected to be a faithful steward of the land. Above all, the people were expected to worship and obey God, because He was the One who had given them the land in the first place.



Sunday: A National Disaster — 15 Comments

  1. The Lord our God is good and merciful. He is always seeking to safe His children. We need to take a lesson from Israel's experience and seek the face of God all the time and also continue to do His will. This should encourage us to draw near to God and we should not let His hands go. We need to keep walking with Him daily,one day at a time

  2. God retains ownership of everything and is ultimately in control. I am glad that He keeps that ultimate authority and ownership. Besides His being in control, He gives us a sense of resposibility and accountability because we must answer to Him for our use of the things that He gives to us.

    • Denise,
      Excellent question! Recall how Americans responded to the 9/11 disaster. Being an unprecedented catastrophic event, many assumed that God's judgement was imminent. Certainly, it got their attention to turn to God. When our circumstances are bigger than we can manage, we have no choice, but to look unto the hills where our help comes from God, who is bigger than all national disasters.
      Lorraine Wilson

  3. Very interesting topic.
    God's blessings are still with Israel.
    Israel has got a beautiful agricaltural system in the desert.
    Israel has got a higher percentage of contribution to the academic world. Talk about science and technology.
    Let's also pray with Israel.

  4. God warned his people and still they did not listen. How can we best prepare ourselves for the coming event?

  5. The disasters that we now experience are preparing us for the time of trouble that will come. "There shall be a time of trouble such as never was"(Daniel 12:1). If we fail now, how shall we stand at that time?

    • I am not sure that I follow that argument. Many are being lost from complacency in a time of relative peace and freedom. Maybe our time of relative peace is in fact our time of trouble and we do not recognize it.

    • While it is true that many are lost through complacency, I also agree with Lorraine that current disasters which may happen to us prepare us for future difficulties -- providing we learn to trust God in such situations.

      Faith grows through exercise -- just like muscles do. 😉

  6. Do you rememba exodus 14:10-14 what happened h ow do we not understand history and it's come again in our lives now? i pray that may the Almighty be with us to open our eyes and ears to what's around us now

  7. Imagine toiling all day but taking nothing home in harvest time. Labouring but no wages, this is what Israel is in danger of. God wants us to have abundance, this is why he gave warning to his people by the Prophets before punishing them. if we could only obey Him.

  8. sometimes I ask God like Israel in desert: am I become Seventh day adventist just to die on the way? why you call me? For this? But I am adventist even bad one.

  9. Rom 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning that 'WE' through the patience and comfort might have hope.
    This Isreal is not Isreal of today of Middle East countries.
    These were God's chosen people for a purpose, but failed to live up to God's standard. These people were called Isreal as a nation and we know from Bible records how this name Isreal was given. I am sure we are aware of the story of Jacob wrestling with a supernatural being at night.
    When Isreal was not faithful, she was driven into the gentile world unto this day.
    But the promise of her acceptance is still there when she shall come to her senses and let go of foreign husbands.
    This mantle was given to you and me as SDAS ( spiritual Isreal ) to finish.
    As a church, we have a duty, but if as individual do not live up to God's requirement, we will be weeded out, meaning we won't be sealed and left out in perfect darkness, no chance any more. Those sealed will carry the gospel message until the world is harvested.
    The ordeal of Isreal should be an eye opener for the people who call themseves SDAS today. Probation closes first to the church before that of the world.
    My earnest prayer is that, we must begin to check our life style and begin to reform if at all we fall short of the starndard the Lord requires from His people.
    Revival and reformation should be our greatest need be foremost in our lives if we are to escape the 'separation' from the church she is purified and go into the 'Loud Cry'
    This is solemn timely warning message that has come to us and we must take it with the seriousness it deserves.
    Lord Help us.

  10. God has so much expressed His sovering power over us, nature and other things around us. Its also in His power to make a fertile land for planting. If we take our minds back to Gen 3, u wil find out that the land was cursed but not as we experience today. The consiquences of our own present sin is also taking effect on the land. So in the midst of all these God expects us to cling to Him for Help for His hands are always open to recieve us


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