The Swarming of the Locusts – Pastor Stacey Shiflett

The Swarming of the Locusts

2 Chronicles 7:13 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;

Also turn to Exodus 10

Intro: The word locust or locusts (plural) is found in the Bible only 25 times. Yet the truths hidden in these isolated mentions are fascinating.

I. The Curse of the Locusts

Without fail, nearly each time we find locust mentioned in the Scriptures, they are a sign of judgment.

First Mention Principle: Exodus 10

  • 4 Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, to morrow will I bring the locusts into thy coast:
  • 12 And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail hath left.
  • 13 And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.
  • 14 And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such.
  • 15 For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt.

In 2 Chronicles 6, Solomon prayed a prayer to God. In this prayer, he addressed the possibility of locusts.

In 2 Chronicles 7:13, God also acknowledged the possibility of locusts.

Revelation prophesies the devastation of locusts.

  • Revelation 9:3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
  • Revelation 9:7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.

God predicted that if locusts came into the land, it was God’s judgment upon them.

I want to inform the church today – our land is being plagued by THE SWARMING OF THE LOCUSTS.

Notice the passage in Exodus 10:15.

               1. They have a Darkening Effect – they literally block out the sun when they swarm in

Exodus 10:15 is the first time we find the word DARKENED use.

  • Romans 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
  • Ephesians 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

               2. They have a Deafening Effect – the sound they make when they swarm drowns out all other sounds

The noise produced by a single grasshopper is a soft, muffled buzzing sound.

The noise made by THE SWARMING OF THE LOCUSTS sounds like a waterfall.

INTERESTING NOTE: John heard the voice of Jesus in Revelation.

  • Revelation 1:15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

THE SWARMING OF THE LOCUSTS are drowning out the sound of parents and preachers all over this country.

               3. They have a Devastating Effect – they eat all the fruit of the trees; all of the herbs; used for medicine, healing

Just as the locusts devour everything that is healthy and nutritious, the locusts are devouring our land.

  • They are devouring our homes.
  • They are devouring our youth.
  • They are devouring our marriages.
  • They are devouring our churches.
  • They are devouring our cities and nation.

NOTE: We’ve always had sin in this nation; but it is now starting to swarm.


Locusts are the swarming phase of certain species of short-horned grasshoppers. These insects are usually solitary, but under certain circumstances become more abundant and change their behaviour and habits.

No taxonomic distinction is made between locust and grasshopper species; the basis for the definition is whether a species forms swarms under intermittently suitable conditions. In English, the term “locust” is used for grasshopper species that change morphologically and behaviourally on crowding, forming swarms that develop from bands of immature stages called hoppers. The change is referred to in the technical literature as “density-dependent phenotypic plasticity.”

Swarming behaviour is a response to overcrowding. Increased tactile stimulation of the hind legs causes an increase in levels of serotonin. This causes the locust to change colour, eat much more, and breed much more easily. The transformation of the locust to the swarming form is induced by several contacts per minute over a four-hour period. A large swarm can consist of billions of locusts spread out over an area of thousands of square miles, with a population of up to 200 million per square mile. When desert locusts meet, their nervous systems release serotonin, which causes them to become mutually attracted, a prerequisite for swarming.

The initial bands of gregarious hoppers are known as “outbreaks”, and when these join together into larger groups, the event is known as an “upsurge”. Continuing agglomerations of upsurges on a regional level originating from a number of entirely separate breeding locations are known as “plagues”.

One of the greatest differences between the solitary and gregarious phases is behavioural. The gregaria nymphs are attracted to each other, this being seen as early as the second instar. They soon form bands of many thousands of individuals. These groups behave like cohesive units and move across the landscape, mostly downhill, but making their way around barriers and merging with other bands.

The mutual attraction between individual insects continues into adulthood, and they continue to act as a cohesive group. Individuals that get detached from a swarm fly back into the mass. Others that get left behind after feeding take off to rejoin the swarm when it passes overhead. When individuals at the front of the swarm settle to feed, others fly past overhead and settle in their turn, the whole swarm acting like a rolling unit with an ever-changing leading edge. –

               A. They are a Curse to the Food

A locust can eat its own weight in plant matter each day, which is only about 0.07 ounces (2 grams). But the largest locust swarms, called plagues, can number in the billions and together, a plague of locusts can consume so much plant material that they erase several months of growth.

For example, a plague of desert locusts that originated in Western Africa in 2003 and lasted until 2005 affected 22 countries and reportedly wiped out over 80% of crops, according to a report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

One of the punishments that God promised the nation of Israel was the lost of their food.

Deuteronomy 28

  • 37 And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the LORD shall lead thee.
  • 38 Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it.
  • Deuteronomy 28:42 All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume.

God’s people today are starving because the locusts have invaded the land.
The locusts have stripped this country of decent preaching; Bible-preaching and teaching churches.

The locusts have invaded the homes of this country and people no longer read their Bible and pray.

The people of God stay home from church to watch the locusts on TV.

               B. They are a Curse to the Finances

By the time the above-mentioned plague finally declined in early 2005, the total cost of damage control efforts had reached half a billion dollars.

The economic downturn we are seeing now is a direct result of THE SWARMING OF THE LOCUSTS.

We are facing a recession, or worse, a depression because of THE SWARMING OF THE LOCUSTS.

               C. They are a Curse to the Future

In Joel 2:25, God said that he would restore the years that the locust had eaten…

Years of work and labor are gone in a few days.

Children raised in Christian homes and Christian schools are being destroyed in weeks by THE SWARMING OF THE LOCUSTS.

II. The Command of the Locusts

It is important to understand one thing – the Lord God Jehovah is the commander of the locusts.

In Exodus 10:4, God informs us that “…to morrow will I bring the locusts into thy coast…”

In 2 Chronicles 14, God clearly said, “…I command the locusts…”

  • Psalms 105:34 He spake, and the locusts came…
  • Proverbs 30:27 The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;

In 1988 a swarm flew from West Africa to the Caribbean, a journey of more than 3,100 miles in merely 10 days, according to National Geographic. –

One of the key truths that I want to point this morning is simply this: locust are here.

Judgment is being poured out on this nation.

And it is crucially important that you and I understand that God Almighty is in command of the locusts.

God does not only KNOW about the locusts in our land, He sent them; He allowed it; He commands them!

God has watched the people of God turn their backs on Him and His word, and He has a remedy.

III. The Cure of the Locusts

The Bible is clear – The Lord giveth, and He taketh away.

God can cleanse the land of the locust just as quickly as He brought them in.

  • Exodus 10:19 And the LORD turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt.

God can get rid of the locust just as easily as He brought them in.

The problem is not the locusts.

The problem is the sin of God’s people that caused God to bring in the locusts.

What does it take for God to cure the land of the locusts?

               QUOTE: The cure for the locust problem is to repent of the sin problem that brought the locusts on in the first place.

Exodus 10

  • 16 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you.
  • 17 Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and intreat the LORD your God, that he may take away from me this death only.
  • 18 And he went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the LORD.

Notice the cure in 2 Chronicles 7:13, 14

  • 13 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;
  • 14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

GO TO JOEL 2:12-27 for the cure to the damage that the locust has done.

Conclusion: It was God’s plan for the people of God to eat the locusts; not the other way around!

  • Leviticus 11:22 Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind.

I find it fascinating that Jesus called John the Baptist the greatest man born of woman.

And he ate locusts for breakfast.

The very thing that God used to bring judgement was used to sustain the man of God.

  • Matthew 3:4 And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.