The following report on usage of the YouVersion Bible App demonstrates how God uses catastrophes for His purposes. How important it is we seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance so we are in step with His purposes in our sphere of influence.
Searches on the YouVersion Bible app increased by 80% this year, to nearly 600 million, as the pandemic created a sense of uncertainty and turmoil. The verse Isaiah 41:10, which is about God’s promise for strength and help, was the verse that was bookmarked, highlighted, and shared the most.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
With 43.6 billion Bible chapters read, 7.5 billion audio chapters played and 1.4 billion Bible Plan days completed, YouVersion says it “saw its highest levels of global Bible engagement in app history.”
“This has been a challenging year with many people facing devastating loss, loneliness, and fear,” said YouVersion founder Bobby Gruenewald. “While 2020 is a year so many say they’d like to forget, we see it as a year to remember how God used the Bible App to help so many people who are searching for answers. Through every hardship, people continue to seek God and turn to the Bible for strength, peace, and hope.
The results reveal how people are seeking God as they wrestle with the difficult circumstances they’ve faced in 2020, and that’s something we can celebrate.
There are many prophecies in the O.T. where God reveals to His prophets the end of the story for the nation He created. The book of Jeremiah is just one where we learn that God is going to restore both Israel and Judah back to their promised land but only after a period of trouble greater than anything they have experienced in the past.
“For behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the Lord, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it.” These are the words that the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah: “Thus says the Lord: we have heard a cry of panic, of terror, and no peace. Ask now, and see, can a man bear a child? Why then do I see every man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor? Why has every face turned pale? Alas! That day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob, yet he shall be saved out of it.” Jeremiah 30:3-7
Can it be said that any previous times of trouble fulfil the requirements of the prophecy here in Jeremiah 30 and 31 and answer to “the time of Jacob’s trouble”?
It does not seem that they do, for the simple reason that the prophecy before us clearly defines a time of trouble from which Israel is saved by Yahweh. This saving then brings about a spiritual revival. It is because of the saving of the people that they turn to God once again and are acceptable in His sight. This outcome cannot be said to have been accomplished in the past events of Israel’s history.
Could there be a gap in time between the trouble and salvation and the spiritual revival? By simply reading the text it is clear that the troubles from which Israel are saved and the spiritual revival are directly correlated – meaning that they have to occur together.
Consider what the prophecy says about the final outcome of the time of Jacob’s trouble: “For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.” Ezekiel 30:8-9
The two aspects are inextricably linked. Because Yahweh had saved Israel, therefore they serve Him. It is not only Yahweh that is served though – the spiritual revival causes Israel to serve Yahweh and “David their king, whom I will raise up unto them”. This is interesting – who is “David their King”? Is this not a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ? The one who the Lord God shall give “the throne of his father David” (Luke 1:32). The one who will “restore again the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6). “David” means “beloved” and this is a term applied to Jesus in Matthew 3:17 where, after his baptism the Father says “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Therefore, due to these connections it is reasonable to conclude that the outcome of this prophecy is the Kingdom of God being restored again on earth under the rulership of the son of Almighty God, the Lord Jesus Christ.