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The resources that made Canaan a land flowing with milk and honey for Israel, also made it attractive to others. As a result, Israel in the Bible, fought many wars with their neighbors. They were wealthy but life was never a bed of roses, never an unending paradise for the common people.
Life was much worse for the common people of Israel when they had corrupt wicked rulers. However, in the midst of their hardships, God sent them prophets – men and women who reminded the leaders to be humble towards God, to be kind, loving, and fair to the common people. The prophets, like John the Baptist, also reminded the common people to repent of their evil ways.
One such period of hardship in Israel was when a mighty swarm of locust destroyed all their crops, in the days of the prophet Joel. The Bible states that such a level of destruction had never happened to Israel before (Joel 1:1-4) – people and animals starved. What were the people to do to turns things around? Joel called on the priests, the leaders, and common people to fast and pray (Joel 2:12-17).
Joel 2:25-27 (NIV) shows that God responded to the nation’s prayers: “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten… You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you… Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed.”
When nations sincerely pray, heaven answers; may our leaders have the humility to pray with the people in these hard times, Amen!