November 6, 2022

The Fingerprints of God

Passage: Exodus 8:16-32

I don’t know about you but I like to watch shows about the solving of crimes – shows like Forensic Files, CSI Miami and Law and Order. One of the oldest methods of trying to link someone to the crime scene is the taking of fingerprints. Whatever the fingerprint experts
could get at the crime scene will be matched with what the police have on file of previous offenders. When the evidence is presented in court by the prosecution, the accused would most likely be convicted of the crime. As we all know, most criminals try to erase any kind of evidence that might be used against them. Therefore there are many cases that will end up in Cold Case Files. I would like us to think this morning of God’s fingerprints. In this world there are many things He touched and we can recognize His fingerprints. It's almost as if God deliberately left His fingerprints for the whole world to see and that people can realize that only He could bring everything into perfect existence. The words from Psalm 19: 1-4
give an affirmation of that – “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”
Other than God's creation there are the blessings that He bestows upon us and we know – only God could do that. He left His fingerprints on the happiness we have in our families or the recovery from a disease that at the time was so serious. The gifts of a home to live in, the food we have to eat and all the other necessities we have are just covered with His prints.

In the passage we read from Exodus 8, there came a confession from the magicians of Pharaoh – people who didn't believe in God, but when the plague of gnats came and they couldn’t do the same miracle, they had to confess, “This is the finger of God.” What made
those magicians say that? Why would they suddenly believe that God had acted in this miracle? After all they had duplicated all the previous miracles. They had turned their staffs into snakes, the waters of the Nile into blood, materialized frogs from dust… But frankly, those were all tricks through their secret arts. But they failed to bring gnats from the dust of the earth like Aaron. After this miracle, and from this time on, the magicians join the voices
warning Pharaoh: "Get rid of Israelites!" The Magicians become troubled... But Pharaoh became hardened. Why was there a difference in how the magicians and the rest of the people responded? The Priests and magicians of Egypt were the scientists of the day. They interpreted why things happened the way they did and they reported their findings as scientific fact. Part of the reason Pharaoh’s heart became hardened, was that if he acknowledged
what these "scientists" were now saying, he would have to admit that he had been wrong – He saw himself as the highest force in the whole of the universe and now there was another being that removed him from his throne above anything else.

Still today the existence of God is a disturbance to some scientist and followers of Darwin’s Evolution Theory. They are in denial of the One that is above all that we can think of. The more we can think outside of God’s existence and His involvement in the world the easier science can be explained. To some its just too good to be true that Almighty God just spoke and everything came into being. Its easier to remove Him from thoughts and theories. The Bible tells us that the result of removing God from our lives and everything else will lead to condemnation. Romans 1:18 and 19 say, "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God
has made it plain to them.”

You see what changed things for Pharaoh’s scientists was that God made Himself known to them. They saw His power and recognized their own weakness. When they declared that the miracle of gnats was the "Finger of God", that was their way of saying that they had
finally seen the direct involvement of God and it scared them. It exposed their own incompetence and underscored their sinfulness in opposing this God. When people encounter the "Finger of God" they are called to account for their sins. The 10 commandments were written by the finger of God. The words: "MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN" were written by the finger of God. In that incident Belshazzar was having a banquet when these words occurred on the walls. We’re told the king watched the hand as it wrote.
His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his knees knocked and his legs gave way. Daniel was summoned and told him, "This is what these words mean: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. You have been weighed on the scales
and found wanting. Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians." Daniel 5:25-28

Then, of course there’s the time Jesus wrote in the sand. When a woman caught in the sin of adultery was brought to Him for judgment, He knelt and wrote something in the sand. Some
scholars say that He wrote a quote from the prophecy of Jeremiah. Others say He wrote, “Where is the man?” But then the most logical interpretation of scholars is that after Jesus said that the one without sin should throw the first stone and He bent down and wrote again, they were afraid there sins would be exposed...and they left. God in Jesus Christ had left His fingerprints of blotting out the sins of every person in the world who would come to Him with
remorse. You see where the world would condemn, God is the One Who offers His grace and forgiveness.

And that brings us to the fingerprints God left in this world for our salvation – His fingerprints at the cross of Golgotha. There He sacrificed His own Son for us so that the penalty of eternal condemnation could be removed against our names. And as difficult as it is for many people to comprehend those were fingerprints of love...that God so loved the world that He gave His Son to be nailed to the cross.

My friends, the thought of God’s fingerprints confronts each one of us with our sins and hidden agendas. But it’s so wonderful to know that God is bringing this message to us not to convict us, but to embrace us in His forgiveness. We don’t have to erase any evidence in His presence, because we can never hide anything from Him. All we have to do is to approach Him with reverence and obedience. Turn to Him with feelings of shame and guilt and know that His hand will erase them from your life. Know that His hand is upon you every moment of your life. Appreciate His guidance and instructions. There is a verse from Psalm 32 that we have to submit to. Verse 8, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” Let's allow God to keep His hand over us.

Rev. Willem H. van de Wall