07-04-2020 THE FINGER OF GOD - PART ONE
Published 7th of April 2020
By John Aldworth
Luke 11:20: But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.
Luke 5:17: And it came to pass on a certain day that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem, and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.
Exodus 8:19: Then the magicians said unto Pharoah, This is the finger of God: and Pharoah’s heart was hardened and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.
2 Timothy 3:5, 8, 9. Having a form of godliness but lacking the power thereof; from such turn away. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs was also.
What a wonderful thing it is when God does something in your life and you know it’s from God and from no one else and through no one else. It’s a first-hand, not second-hand experience. It is the finger of God at work in and upon you. Importantly, when you are touched by The Lord’s finger you know it is Him and not another; you recognise this by both his presence and his power. I am convinced not only that the finger of God can come to each true believer to cast out fear, evict devils, heal, restore and provide whatever may be lacking but that at certain times it actually does.
The fact is, there is no effective substitute for experiencing God direct. Unless it is He personally that acts, unless it is his finger that writes upon ‘the fleshy tables of our heart’ and his voice that we hear, we are left with the ‘dry bones’ of a second-hand experience passed on by somebody else. And, while the testimony of others may be encouraging it is no substitute for a direct encounter with God Himself. After all, isn’t that how we got saved – by a direct encounter with the living Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ?
It’s the same when we seek help. Unless it is the touch of his hand we feel when prayed for (and not someone else’s) our petitions go mainly unanswered. ‘To get a touch from the Lord is so real’, the old chorus says. But in today’s largely powerless but strongly religious Christendom the song might well have said, ‘To get a touch from the Lord is so rare’.
Today millions cry out for God to make Himself real to them. Some flock to meetings where men and women who claim to able to physically heal folk and deliver them from devils put themselves forward as intermediaries between those seeking deliverance and the Lord Himself. In such emotionally charged atmospheres, few stop to consider 1 Timothy 2:5 which categorically states:
For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
That's right, only Christ Himself can mediate the power of God to heal and bless anyone. Nobody else need apply. Today, faced with joblessness, business bankruptcy and likely world economic collapse, thanks to COVID19, there is more need now to experience that which only God can do than at any previous time in our lifetimes. And I am convinced that ‘our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ’ (Titus 2:13) stands poised once again to write in a new better world with his finger, the finger of God. Let us see why.
In scripture we find that the finger of God appears in times of crisis and dire need. For example, it was when Moses withstood the magicians at Pharoah’s court that the finger of God did something the Egyptian wizards could not do – turn the dust of the earth into lice. Hitherto the magicians had duplicated every miracle through their enchantments, turning rods into snakes and turning water into blood. It seems that only Jesus and the appointed apostles He poured Himself into could cast out devils by the finger of God (Luke 11:20). For when the sons of a Jewish priest tried to do so at Ephesus the demon they tried to evict sent them fleeing naked (Acts 19:14-16).
If scripture is to be believed then real healing and deliverance happen only when God Himself or his appointed representatives (i.e. his apostles) turn up to perform these tasks. Thus, in Luke 5:17 it was only because ‘the power of the Lord was present to heal’ that the man with palsy was restored to health.
Today the big question is: Will the finger of God move for us in this, our time of need in the Coronovirus epidemic? Or will we be left to seek succour from so-called miracle workers who promise much but deliver little? I would suggest, that if scripture is allowed to have a say, that God will indeed expose the claims of those who have ‘a form of godliness but lacking the power thereof’ (2 Timothy 3:5) by pointing his finger at them. In 2 Timothy 3:5, 8 and 9 the Apostle Paul explains how this will happen. Speaking specifically of those who ‘have a form of godliness but lacking the power thereof’, he says:
But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs (that of the Egyptian magicians Jannes and Jambres) was also.
The order of such divine intervention is clear. First those ‘lacking the power thereof’ are shown up for the ‘clouds without water’ (Jude 12) that they really are, then God appears and with his finger does the real miracles they could not perform. However, He does so in his way and in his time.
So, what biblical promise do we have that the Lord will intervene for us with his finger and power, living as we do in ‘this present evil world’ (Galatians 1:4) which is run by the ‘prince of the power of the air’ (Ephesians 2: 2)? After all, miracles of healing ceased even for the Apostle Paul when closed down Pwentecostal dispensation at the end of the Book of Acts. By then he could heal neither Timothy's tummy nor the sickness of Trophimus (1 Timothy 5:23, 2 Timothy 4:20). Why? Because at this time (Acts 28:28) God set aside his ministry through Israel to send salvation to the Gentiles.
The miraculous sign ministry of healing and deliverance that had been given through Israel gave way to the present dispensation of the grace of God (Ephesians 3:1-4) with its promise that 'My grace is sufficient for thee' even when the 'thorn in the flesh' is not removed. Today many try to re-activate the promises of manifest divine power vouchsafed in the time of the gospel accounts and that of Acts. But, almost without exception, attempts today to replicate such Pentecostal miracles of the past meet with failure. Devils ‘cast out in Jesus’ name’ often refuse to depart or return a day or so later. Healings stubbornly do not take place and prayers to see souls saved often see no such result - at least in the short term.
But there is a key that applies in every dispensation. A promise that holds good for all time. It concerns the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of heaven as it is also termed in scripture. Notice that in Luke 11:20 Jesus said that when He cast out devils by the finger of God then the kingdom of God had come upon those witnessing such miracles:
But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.
It is the power brought to bear by this intervention of the kingdom ahead of the actual time for its full prophetic fulfillment that we need. Remember that Jesus told his disciples to ‘seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). I contend that it is this advance ‘earnest’ (or down payment) of this kingdom’s power that Paul was talking about when he said to ‘turn away’ from those lacking it. (2 Timothy 3:5). It is also the ‘exceeding greatness of his (God’s) power’ (Ephesians 1:19) that the apostle prayed for us to know and personally experience.
But, you might ask, how do we tap into such a marvelous resource – a power which is said to be ‘to usward’? I am firmly convinced we can do so by obeying the commandment of the Lord Jesus Christ given through the Apostle through Paul that we should be:
Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Why should we do so? Because in 2 Timothy 4:1 we are told that Christ will ‘… judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom. The two are almost synonymous since it is at his appearing that He will bring in the kingdom of heaven on earth, and this by taking over the government of this world in a blaze of glory.
The result will be the ushering in of the most blessed period of all in human history. Sin, death, sickness and war will be banished. Every eye will be turned to the Lord. His glory will shine 24/7 and peace and prosperity will be the hallmark of his reign. Best of all the finger of God will be at work all the time because where the King (Jesus) is, so is his kingdom, power and glory. And the finger of God will be the ever-present evidence of it.
As scripture teaches (Exodus 8:19 and 2 Timothy 3:9), it is when the forces of darkness seem to triumph – as they seem to be doing right now in this sad and dying world of ours – that our Saviour, the God Almighty, the Lord Jesus Christ reaches out to touch both us and our situation with the very finger of God.
The second study in this series will explore how by faith we can anticipate in our time the healing and deliverance of the kingdom to come.