Exterminating the Locusts

Every year during the liturgy of Al Chet I come undone. I am overwhelmed with the sins that I have committed. As it says in one of the statements in the Al Chet, “for the sin which we have committed before you intentionally or unintentionally.” The sadness that I feel for missing the mark is very real, and I see the reality that no matter how hard I try, I still miss the mark. God’s mercy brings us forgiveness, and through the blood of Yeshua we have had our sins atoned for. But, the sadness is still there for me during Yom Kippur, and many times after the breakfast I leave melancholy. Feeling as if something is not finished.

The truth is that it is not finished. As I looked into the haftarah portion for Haazinu, I saw an interesting shift that needs to happen to replace that melancholy with hope! Look at Joel 2:18-19. It says: “Then the Lord will be zealous for His land and will have pity on His people. The Lord will answer and say to His people, ‘Behold, I am going to send you grain, new wine and oil, and you will be satisfied in full with them; and I will never again make you a reproach among the nations.’”  In verse 25-26, the Lord says: “Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust, my great army which I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; then My people will never be put to shame.” I think that so many times we have great shame of what we have done in our lives. We have regret and we have not forgiven ourselves. But, this portion is encouraging us to move forward, and to move on. We have to move forward to what the Lord has promised us. The Lord says that He will not make Israel a reproach among the nations even though they have sinned, and He will also not make us a reproach. Then, in v. 25 He says that He will make up to us the years that the locusts have eaten! Notice that the locusts are involved in different kinds of activity. They are:

  1. Swarming- this is an uncontrollable and enormous infestation, which devours whatever crops are available. 
  2. Creeping- The word here refers to the Hebrew word which means to lick up, a devourer. All moisture is sucked out. Land is dry and desolate.
  3. Stripping- When you think nothing is left to be eaten, the stripping locusts eat every blade of grass and grain. Total devastation.
  4. Gnawing- They chew and feed on the crops that have been planted. The entire harvest is destroyed.

The sins in our lives have been these locusts. We have allowed our sins to swarm all around us, to creep into every area of our lives, to strip away all the good and gnaw away whatever is left. However, our God says that He will make it up to us; He will feed us; we will be satisfied and we will praise His name!

So, the melancholy that I have felt at Yom Kippur, and perhaps many of you have also, drifts away as we see what the word says to us in this portion. In this haftarah portion, Haazinu, which is read as we approach Sukkot, we also read an alternate portion, 2 Samuel 22:1-51. This is David’s Song of Victory (or gratitude) which is full of David’s praise to God for what He has done. One verse which sums it up for me is in v. 20 “He rescued me, because He delighted in me.” The melancholy has to go, because He has forgiven us! It is now time to sit in our sukkah’s and rejoice. As we sit in our sukkah we celebrate the victory that we have in Yeshua, and that one day we will dwell in His kingdom. In Revelation 15:3 it says, “And they sang the song of Moses, the bond servant of God, and the song of the Lamb saying, ‘Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations!’” 

5 thoughts on “Exterminating the Locusts

  1. Thank you! Now I understand what I felt Sunday evening and couldn’t put my finger on it. So much to fully understand and each year I learn more. This year was definitely an eye opener for me as we recited what we had done wrong! You always put things into proper perspective 😊

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