Word of the Month

The finger of God

May 2010

The Lord wanted to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt through Moses. The Hebrews suffered greatly there. Exploited by the Pharaoh, they were forced to work in the fields, manufacture clay bricks, and build cities and grain reserves for the Egyptians. Despite all their hard work, the Hebrews lacked even the barest of necessities.

But then the Lord intervened. Moses was to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt and away from the Pharaoh’s sphere of influence. But he did not want to let them go. Then God sent ten plagues upon the land. But each time a plague had passed, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he would not let the people go. Many of the plagues could also be replicated by the magicians of the Pharaoh, and perhaps this gave him the impression that they were not particularly difficult feats. But then the plagues became more and more severe, and the magicians could no longer replicate them. They told the Pharaoh that they could do no more, because they recognised the finger of God in these events. In other words: God had intervened, and human beings could do nothing more. We all know the outcome of the story: the day came when Pharaoh had to let the people of Israel go after all (cf. Exodus 1-12).

Let us take a look at ourselves and see what this might mean for our time. Is the finger of God still at work today? I say: “Yes indeed, the Lord still intervenes today!” Any of us can experience this when we approach the Lord with a believing heart. The finger of God still reveals itself today. But there is nothing magical about it, as the magicians of the ancient Egyptians supposed. Rather it is God’s powerful will to save that is at work here!

Following are two examples. Many have been invited to attend divine services in the New Apostolic Church and have thus come into contact with the work of God. Therein I see the finger of God. Later on, one or the other has also been sealed and has thus received the gift of the Holy Spirit. This too is the finger of God. The finger of God is also revealed in our everyday lives in many different ways. All we have to do is open our hearts.

The magicians of old recognised the finger of God by the fact that it restricted their own power. Today we recognise the finger of God when we are together in the divine service. Suddenly we hear something that moves us deeply and we feel that the Lord is trying to touch us. He is speaking to us directly. That is the finger of God in His word. If we recognise the finger of God in this and act in accordance with it, our faith will be acknowledged. We can also discern the finger of God in prayer. When we pray in a truly intensive fashion we can feel just how close the Lord really is, and we can be sure that He hears us. Then the finger of God becomes evident in His presence. If we pray superficially we will not be able to perceive the finger of God. To feel it we need to pray intensively and wrestle for the help of God – then it will indeed touch us and we will find that our prayers are answered. The Lord guides us, and everything He does is for our good and our blessing.

The finger of God is to be found everywhere, even in our time! Imagine the moment when the Lord will complete His work. The finger of God will be manifested again and we will hear His voice that says: “Now come, you blessed of the Lord, and inherit the kingdom that has been prepared for you!”                       

(From a divine service by the Chief Apostle)