The word of the Lord that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.
2 Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers?
3 Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.
4 That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten.
5 Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine; for it is cut off from your mouth.
6 For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion.
7 He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white.
8 Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.
9 The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the Lord; the priests, the Lord's ministers, mourn.
10 The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth.
11 Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished.
12 The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.
13 Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God.
14 Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, and cry unto the Lord,
15 Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
16 Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God?
17 The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered.
18 How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.
19 O Lord, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field.
20 The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.
Every generation faces its problems. And we live in an age when problems are accumulating. We can have a deadly pandemic, fractured nations and freaky weather patterns all simultaneously.
The prophet Joel spoke to a generation like ours. The devastation from plagues of locusts was unlike anything seen by parents or grandparents.
Interestingly, God said that the plague should be a topic of conversation for generations to come. “Tell your children about it, Let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.” Joel 1:3.
Why so? Do we talk to our children about serious things? Or is their life carefree, pleasure-oriented and oblivious to the suffering around them? God, through Joel, says, “talk to children about the most important things.”
Abraham was chosen because he included his children in talks about important things (Genesis 18:17-19). Moses and Asaph described such sharing with children as a duty with blessed results, “that [the children] might set their hope in God” (Deut.6:5-8; Psalm 78:1-8).
So while we wait for deliverance and help, let’s not deprive our children of meaningful talk. They can understand that we need God. They can understand that things are difficult. They can pray. And God can hear them. Maybe praying in difficulties is how they learn to set their hope where it belongs.
Director, Institute of East Asia Training, Malaysia