24 Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the Lord. 25 Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.
God wants my complete devotion. There is nothing that should be higher in my life than Him. However, is that the case for me? So many times I see my bible sitting in the place I have my quiet time. I know God is calling to me to spend time with him. But I just can’t today, Lord. I got up too late and have to run to get to work. Not tonight, Lord. My favorite TV show is on. What does it hurt to read that book? Everyone else is reading it. I have a really big decision to make. I think I’ll call a friend instead of praying and talking to God about it. I am feeling lonely and unloved. I think I’ll eat anything I can to stuff the feelings and numb the pain.
I may not have Asherah poles and statues of animals sitting around my house, but there are so many other things I can put at a higher priority than God. Yet, the joy and satisfaction that comes from the sweet time with I spend with Him, so outweighs anything else. He will meet my needs, fill the emptiness inside, and direct my decisions. All that and more comes to me when I put Him first, and highest, in my life. Wouldn’t I love to have it said of me, “She turned to the LORD with all her heart and with all her soul and with all her strength?” I am a work in progress.
25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten— the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm[b]— my great army that I sent among you.
The first time I heard the verse, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten” I was at a women’s retreat. It was the first one I had ever attended and I was a very new believer. I was in deep pain at the time. So much had happened in my life due to my brokenness and bad decisions. I needed hope that a better life was possible. Towards the end of the retreat, a woman got up and gave her testimony. One of the verses she quoted was Joel 2:25. I sensed the Spirit whisper to my soul, “that verse is for you!” It was almost as if I could audibly hear the promise of the Lord. He wanted me to know He could restore relationships and rebuild my life.
Looking at the verse now, many years later, I noticed something different. The “locusts” in my life back then were of my own doing. But these “locusts” were referring to a plague that God had sent. God purposefully sent them to get the attention of the nation of Judah. He was calling them to repent. He wanted to be first in their lives.
12“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
God loves us so much and he wants us all to himself. I have learned over my years of walking with him that he will send “locusts” in various forms to draw me back to him. As I’ve heard it stated, God is more interested in my character than my comfort. There have been times he has allowed me to experience the devastation only to build me up even stronger on the other side. Those idols pull at me and promise fulfillment, yet never deliver. Those “locusts” force me to my knees in repentance.
Surely he has done great things! 21 Do not be afraid, land of Judah; be glad and rejoice. Surely the LORD has done great things!
He has done great things in my life. I have every reason to be glad and rejoice. Hallelujah!
Heavenly Father, I ask you to forgive me for the times I do not put you first. My life is so much better when you are in your proper place. No matter what comes at me, I can handle it because I am not alone. There is nothing else that will give me the strength I need; nothing else will fill the emptiness inside. Thank you for never giving up on me.