Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5 (NIV) Evangelical Christians need to listen to the criticisms of those who do not like us, and one of these criticisms is that we are arrogant. That is a...
“Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’” Joel 2:17
These people are bringing an argument to God. They’re making a case. This is a powerful way to pray, by the way.
In response to this prayer, God gives them the promise: “I will restore the years that the locust has eaten.” This promise is given to people who are concerned for God’s name, his honor, his reputation.
Do you see the point of the prayer? “Lord, your name is at stake here! Unbelievers are watching, and when they see trouble come to one of your children, they will use it as an opportunity to speak against your name.”
Many younger Christians, when they are learning to pray, are taught to end their prayers with the words: “For Jesus’ sake. Amen.” Perhaps you learned to do the same. Like an attorney who makes his (or her) case before a judge on behalf of a client, you are saying: “Lord, I am asking these things for the sake of your Son! He gave his blood to redeem a people. I am one of those people. Now hear my prayer, not because of me, but because of him.”
The promise of restored years is given to people who want God’s name to be honored. If you feel your need for God’s help and mercy, and in your heart you want to honor his name, then this promise is for you. These people had been on their knees. They’d been asking God for his mercy, and God answered: “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (2:25).
Perhaps you are mourning some “lost” years of your own, but have you ever really considered how these years have impacted the way other people look at God? Take some time to consider this, and talk to God about it.