Agriculture is a vital sector in the South African economy. So when it was blighted by a harsh drought in 2015, it seemed that the entire nation mobilized in earnest prayer and drastic action. When ordinary people saw heartbreaking images of starving animals and desperate farmers on TV, they filled water bottles and drove hundreds of kilometers to deliver them to the thirsty. Farmers who had grain and hay bales stocked their trucks and shared with those in need. When calamity struck, the community sought God and rallied for much-needed relief.

Unlike the natural disaster in South Africa, the people of Israel once found themselves suffering the supernatural consequences of their defiance against God—drought and famine brought on by swarms of feasting locusts (Joel 1:4-9). They were unrelenting in their destruction: “The fields are ruined, the land is stripped bare. The grain is destroyed, the grapes have shriveled, and the olive oil is gone” (Joel 1:10). Through Joel, God told His people to “turn to me now, while there is still time. Give me your hearts” (Joel 2:12).

The destruction by the locusts and the call of God pointed the people to repentance. “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts . . . . It was I who sent this great destroying army against you” (Joel 2:25). God also reassures them with a promise: “I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions” (Joel 2:28).

Through the conviction brought by the Holy Spirit, may we seek to confess and repent of our sins. Approaching God in this way leads to the outpouring of His comfort and blessing.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Ephesians 6:10-20