Joel 1:1–12 (NKJV)
1 The word of the Lord that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.
2 Hear this, you elders, And give ear, all you inhabitants of the land! Has anything like this happened in your days, Or even in the days of your fathers?
3 Tell your children about it, Let your children tell their children, And their children another generation.
4 What the chewing locust left, the swarming locust has eaten; What the swarming locust left, the crawling locust has eaten; And what the crawling locust left, the consuming locust has eaten.
This prophecy begins with an announcement of how extreme the prophesied destruction will be to Israel. It will have historical significance, worse than perhaps any other event in Israel’s time, so much so that they will be telling their children about it for generations. The locusts are coming! While this may be a metaphorical grouping of locusts, this prophecy still speaks to the devastation that will come through the land. One group will eat the fruit, the next the foliage, the next the branches, and finally the trees and vines will be destroyed down to a stump.
5 Awake, you drunkards, and weep; And wail, all you drinkers of wine, Because of the new wine, For it has been cut off from your mouth.
6 For a nation has come up against My land, Strong, and without number; His teeth are the teeth of a lion, And he has the fangs of a fierce lion.
7 He has laid waste My vine, And ruined My fig tree; He has stripped it bare and thrown it away; Its branches are made white.
This passage describes the devastation in detail. The nations will attack like a swarm of locusts, with everything in their path being destroyed. They will devour the land like a lion with fangs.
8 Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth For the husband of her youth.
9 The grain offering and the drink offering Have been cut off from the house of the Lord; The priests mourn, who minister to the Lord.
10 The field is wasted, The land mourns; For the grain is ruined, The new wine is dried up, The oil fails.
11 Be ashamed, you farmers, Wail, you vinedressers, For the wheat and the barley; Because the harvest of the field has perished.
12 The vine has dried up, And the fig tree has withered; The pomegranate tree, The palm tree also, And the apple tree—All the trees of the field are withered; Surely joy has withered away from the sons of men.
The Lord describes the devastation even further, including its effects. The nation should lament and mourn, for even worship has been cut off, as the grain and drink are no longer available for an offering to the Lord. Therefore, they should be ashamed, the no more fruit is growing, and joy has left the nation. When sin enters a nation, a church, a family, or an individual, it welcomes the onslaught of the enemy, and then the spiritual productivity is hampered. Fruit ceases to be produced in the life of a person or people, and then the joy of the Lord is sapped from that life. Don’t allow sin to take away your fruit!