We first hear about locust in the bible, we see it as being a symbol for judgment in two stories. It happened in the eight plague of Egypt when Moses was wanting to set free the people. This second story is found in Joel when we read of a story of severe famine in the land of the Israelites. So much was destroyed by a plague of locusts. What takes place next in the Bible is something amazing. When we get to the new testament, we are introduced to someone not being bothered by locust, we meet this man who is seen eating locust. Hey when life gives you lemons you make lemonade. Perhaps John the Baptist took this to mean, when the world gives you locust, you crush them and eat them.
Matthew 3:4 tells us, “John himself had a camel-hair garment with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.” (HCSB). Now did John the Baptist actually eat locust? There are two opinions, he ate the actual insect or he ate from the locust tree which would have tasted like chocolate. Some believe that John the Baptist did not eat locust the insect. They believe that he ate the locust bean. It was a pod from the carob tree or a locust tree. I pray this is the correct understanding although I’m not sure. Perhaps when we get to heaven, we can ask John if he brushed his teeth a lot on Earth. He may have been a preacher with a sweet tooth. Many tourists in Israel are brought to the carob tree and told about how this could have been what he ate. I’ll let you decide what you think.
Let’s see what we can learn from the Bible if it was the insect. John the Baptist would be on the cover of the men’s meeting. He was a tough and rough man who was covered in camel hair. I believe the Scriptures put this in to show us his style. I can smell him, and I imagine John would have added a good amount of salt and flavoring to his food. Perhaps the honey balanced it out.
Now locust is a picture of the wrath of God. The wrath is seen because of the law of God. Under the new covenant we do not see the same wrath because it was the law that stirred up the wrath of God. No longer do we have to fear the locust. Instead, we can be like the cousin of Jesus and crush the locust. Jesus on the cross took the wrath and punishment of sin. He became like John the Baptist; He crushed the locust.
Barnes commentary on the Bible says, “Some species of the locust are eaten until this day in Eastern countries, and are even esteemed as a delicacy when properly cooked.” Locust are very high in protein. John’s Father was a priest and would have been allowed to eat the locust according to Leviticus 11:22.
While in the old testament we see locust as something that brings destruction and wrath. In the new testament we see this as protein. To quote Kelly Clarkson, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. God is going to cause your setbacks to be set ups. The Lord is going to set you up for greater things. God spoke to the Prophet Joel and said, “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25) (ESV). What was used to harm the people of God in the old testament is protein in the new testament. God is going to take what the enemy meant for your harm to work out for your good. Begin to worship God today and thank him for His redemption. Remember you are not the victim you are a victor!