Have you had someone’s finger pointed at you? Was it your mother’s, a teacher or even a policeman? There’s a threat in the pointed finger as well as a warning. As I read the Bible I notice that there are a couple of times where the ‘Finger’ of God is described. When you assemble them there’s an interesting story to tell.
The first mention is found in Exodus. However I’d like to suggest the Psalmist actually points us to the original ‘pointing of God’s finger’. In Psalm 8:3 he tells us his reaction to meditating on the heavens. David considered them the arrangement of God’s fingers. We are told in Genesis 1 that the Lord spoke and creation took place. Was David’s comments inferring that our Creator Lord did some rearranging of the moon and stars?
This brings us back to Exodus 8.16-19. The Egyptian magicians could not counter the third plague God sent as a judgement and testimony of His intentions. They confessed, “This is the finger of God!” I find it interesting and significant that this realisation came on the third judgement. (Do you?) Sad feature of this encounter is seen by their refusal to humble themselves upon their recognition and confession. Sounds familiar for our day and age.
The next mention is at Mount Sinai when Moses receives the Ten Commandments. These are specifically declared to be written in stone by the Finger of God. He doesn’t need a laser beam. This became the framework for their Covenant relationship, which they repeatedly smashed. When the first generation died in the Wilderness, Moses told the second generation the same fact of the importance and inscriber of the Commandments. How distressing it is for Christ’s people today to witness Christendom’s calculated desecration of the work of God’s ‘finger!’ What He wrote for Humanity’s welfare turns into their condemnation.
What none of us would like to experience befell Belshazzar. As the ruler of Babylon (his father being elsewhere) this arrogant man played fast and loose with Yahweh’s temple vessels. God’s patience had reached its end. He would use it to fulfil His promise regarding the return of His captive nation to Jerusalem. In the palace a finger appeared and wrote the Babylonian epithet. ‘Mene,Mene, Tekel, Parsin’ Belshazzar’s kingdom had been weighted, found wanting, and divided by the Medes and Persians.
The penultimate verse is found in Luke 11:20. Jesus was being accused as being in cahoots with Beelzebul, a pseudonym of the Devil. Jesus refutes their assumption by a bold and maybe overlooked assertion. “If it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the Kingdom of God has come to you.” Is this an oblique pointer by our Lord to His deity in human form? Surely, we are confronted again and again by the Scriptures about who Jesus is. I cannot get away from Thomas’s confession to Jesus in John 20:28 “My Lord and my God!”
The climactic reference to the finger of God is found in John 8:1-11. It is in the story of the woman taken in adultery (where was the man?). The Scribes and Pharisees in their self-righteous attitude tried to embarrass Jesus and make Him break the law. We will never know what the finger of Jesus wrote in the dirt. Whatever it was ended up scattering the ‘would be stone throwers’. Jesus was the only one who could condemn but he forgave her with a warning not to continue in sin.
As I assemble these accounts I find myself imbedded in them. I too stand in awe of creation yet took the creator for granted. (Did you too?) I’ve seen and heard of His power but was left unmoved. (What about you?) I’ve broken His Commandments and I’ve had His ‘finger’ condemn me. What a wonderful day it was when I heard my Lord say to me “You’re forgiven!” How? Because the ‘finger’ on the hand of Jesus was nailed to the cross and He took my unbelief, my rebellion, my condemnation (and yours) upon Himself. His nailed pierced hand then reached out to me (and you) with a ‘no condemnation' offer. By faith I grasped it (as you did) and in the words of Thomas I bow and say, “My Lord and my God!”
©Ray Hawkins Oct 7th 2016.
The theme of this devotional: What the Bible reveals about itself. This is the sixth in his series of Biblically Themed Devotionals. Chech his blog to view the others.