Ministry Leadership

When God Points His Finger





One of the most peculiar expressions in Scripture is rich with encouragement for every believer.

 


It is a striking fact that "the finger of God" is mentioned several times in the Bible. In titling one of my most recent booklets, I chose those words for the cover because I believe there is marked significance in its usage in God's Word.

In general mention in the Scriptures, human fingers are "anointed" to properly ordain leaders for worship (see Ex. 29:20; Lev. 8:23, 14:14). Fingers are "taught" by God how to successfully engage in warfare (see Ps. 144:1). And they are the means by which the blood of some sacrifices was applied (see Lev. 4:6, 17).

In the Old Testament God directed that His commands be bound upon the fingers (see Prov. 7:3). In the New Testament Jesus invited Thomas to "reach your finger here" and touch the scars remaining from His crucifixion (John 20:27, NKJV).

Any number of ideas come to mind as to why such mention is made, but the most obvious is that fingers (thumbs included) are a distinctive trait of the human anatomy, separating humankind from all other animals. The opposing thumb is what provides a capacity for grip at a dimension beyond even the most anthropoid of creatures. Could it be that this contains yet another message of our having been made "in the image of God?"

THE FINGER OF GOD

Of course, the Bible doesn't seem to indicate that humans were originally created in the physical image of God. But still, there are no less than six, and possibly seven, direct biblical references to God's finger--two of which involve actions of God Incarnate, Jesus Christ. Check out the list with me:

When the magicians of pharaoh's court were unable to match the miracles of God's judgment on Egypt, they stood in stunned amazement at the reality of the Almighty: "'This is the finger of God!'" They were faced with a power exceeding that which they were able to conjure through their consort with demons, and they knew it (see Ex. 8:19).

Two references are made to God's direct action as He personally engraved the Ten Commandments into the stone tablets--with His finger (see Ex. 31:18; Deut. 9:10).

After the first set of tablets were broken, Moses reported God's own willingness to write a second time on the two new tablets, which were hewn for this purpose (see Deut. 10:1).

Belshazzar's unholy feast was interrupted by the phenomenon of "the fingers of a man's hand" (see Dan. 5:5) bringing a message from God (see v. 24). Daniel says the fingers of the hand were "sent from God"but doesn't ascribe them to God Himself. Nonetheless, the entire moment is pregnant with God's pointing to human sin and calling for an accountable response.

When a hearing- and speech-impaired man asked Jesus to "put His hand on him," Jesus ministered healing in a most unique way. He "put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue." The man's ears were "opened" and his tongue "loosed"--interesting verbs, suggesting more than only physical affliction was present in this case (see Mark 7:32-33).

Every heart is moved by the tender and touching story of the temple-grounds encounter between Jesus and the adulterous woman the religious leaders threw before Him. Jesus was faced with the Old Testament laws requiring judgment, and He responded by writing what resulted in an even higher law being applied: grace beyond law (see John 8:6).

Jesus' ministry of delivering people from demons was called into question by critics (a habit that perpetuates itself even today among the religious, who seem more ready to either tolerate or redefine demon activity than to confront it in Jesus' name.) But He affirmed this aspect of His ministry and said that such action of "the finger of God" evidences the presence of God's rule (see Luke 11:20).

The last of the above references occasioned my titling one of my most recent books The Finger of God. My effort at providing insight and help on the subject of ministry in the realm of the demonic was not approached lightly or for reasons of novelty.

All ministry is significant, but I believe there is reason for distinct caution when dealing with devils. I wanted to provide practical truth without invoking fear, but I primarily hoped to point the way past presumption.

By presumption, I am referring to attitudes I have observed in the demeanor or practice of some leaders I have seen begin to function in this very vital and needful arena of ministry. I have witnessed everything from pride and arrogance to recklessness and mockery demonstrated in this regard. So when I was invited to write on the subject of confronting demonic activity, I readily consented.

I am not interested in promoting deliverance ministry above other forms of ministry, but I do believe it is important to see and respond to the fact that this was both a key part of Jesus' ministry and an assigned part of the Great Commission (see Mark 16:17).

WHERE DOES GOD'S FINGER POINT?

It seems as if Jesus' own words show our Father pointing in a direction that offers hope and freedom to tormented souls. In fact, each one of the above references mentioning God's finger have that common denominator: He was pointing toward a pathway to freedom.

1. The Egyptian magicians face a power transcending theirs when consorting with demons, and note the hand of the almighty God pointing at their limits--calling them to humility before Him.

2. The Ten Commandments are not shackles to be borne, but God's "perfect law of liberty" pointing the way toward a life of joy.

3. Belshazzar is dramatically warned and pointed toward repentance and away from death.

4. All three instances in Jesus' ministry point to freedom from physical affliction, guilt and condemnation, and demon power.

THREE SIGNIFICANT PRINCIPLES

It appears to me that there is a clear reason why God's Word uses this expression. The common denominators noted seem to demonstrate at least three significant concepts wrapped up in this term:

1. God is personal. By mention of "His finger" in reference to His workings--of either love, power or warning--He would remind us that He has not relegated earth and its need to other agencies. He is at work Himself on our behalf, reaching to touch, touching to care.

2. God is pointing. The cases referenced above all relate to signs--signposts that direct attention to His sovereignty, His Word, His judgment, His mercy and His kingdom power here for us.

3. God is penetrating. From His pushing aside the prideful opposition of Egypt's pretentious priests, to His pressing onto stone tablets or into human ears, God's power and truth are asserted or inserted exactly where He wishes and when He wishes. Both His love and His mightiness penetrate all resistance, whether human, physical or demonic.

The bottom line is, dear one, take heart: God's finger is pointing your way today. And though I first pursued this word study out of personal curiosity, I now offer it as a source of personal encouragement to you.

Looking into His Word, it becomes clear: His finger is pointed to declare what He has appointed. His truth, His hope, His mercy and His might are underlined by His own hand--for our blessing. Hallelujah!

I think He's made His point!

Editor's note: Pastor Hayford's new booklet release, The Finger of God--a 50-page pastoral resource for clear thinking regarding the ministry of deliverance--can be purchased ($3.00 postpaid) from Living Way Ministries, 14800 Sherman Way, Van Nuys, CA 91405.

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