Summary: A synposis of those periods throughout Scripture when man bore wtness to the finger of God.
The Finger of God
Text: Exodus 8:16-19
Introduction: We turn now to the third of the ten plagues imposed upon Egypt under Moses, the plague of lice. I suppose there is nothing quite like the though of parasites to make our skin crawl. Recently I watched a documentary entitled “Body Bugs.” It was all about the microscopic creatures that live on our person, and it was a fascinating programme. There are creatures all over us, even down to our very eyelashes. Of course most of these creatures are a help to us, feeding off dead skin, and helping us in many other ways. The beauty of microscopic creatures is that the naked eye cannot see them – but lice, nits, and fleas – now they are a different matter. I will never forget sitting behind a young women in church one night, and being distracted by the movement of hair. Her head was alive! I am not kidding – there was a colony of head lice living in that person’s hair. I can honestly say from that point on I cannot remember a single thing the preacher said – the rest of the night was taken up watching her head, hoping and trying to ensure that none of her pets were dropping on to me!! The very thought of lice is enough to send shivers down our spine, yet these itching, blood sucking creatures were the very tool God was now using to bring Egypt to her knees.
There are two interesting observations about this plague. First of all there was no warning given concerning it. God’s warnings are an act of grace, as Pharaoh hardened his heart God’s grace was slowly being withdrawn. Secondly the magicians could not copy the miracle, though they tried, causing them to declare of it “This is the finger of God.” That is a remarkable statement, especially when we consider its source. Here were these occultists and they saw and recognised the power of God, but Pharaoh could not, again he hardened his heart.
Every day man is confronted by the finger of God. Of course not necessarily are we faced with lice, but lice or no lice, God is operative in the world, and His fingerprint is all around. The finger of God is a finger of challenge. It is a pointer to truth, and as we examine this phrase throughout the Scriptures we see that the finger of God can be witnessed addressing five aspects of our lives.
I. The Finger of God Addresses Our Culture – Exodus 8:16-19
A. The plagues on Egypt was an attack on Egyptian culture.
1. As we saw last week the Egyptians were a scrupulously clean people.
2. They were also ardent idolaters.
3. The plague of lice affected them in both areas.
B. First of all it challenged their passion with cleanliness, particularly the cleanliness of the priests.
1. Lice were extremely repulsive to Egyptian magicians and priests, so much so that they actually shaved their heads to avoid them.
2. Nevertheless they did not escape the plague as the lice were on both man and beast.
3. The fact that the lice were also on the beasts only served to exacerbate their problems.
4. First of all they could not make any sacrifices to their idols, and secondly some of their idols, in particularly their sacred bull was affected.
5. This bull was reverently cleansed and combed every day – how could they now worship a beast deemed as unclean.
6. We can only imagine the harvest of lice they reaped with every sweep of the rake through the bull’s coat.
C. So the plague challenged the worship practices and culture of Egypt in general, but it also challenged one god in particularly – Geb, god of the earth.
1. Whereas the first two plagues involved water, and came from the water, this plague was sourced in the earth – the dust beneath their feet was turned into lice.
2. When you consider how much dust there must be in that sandy land we can begin toi imagine the extent of the problem.
3. In fact the word translated “lice” also means “cover.”
a. Just as the earth is covered in dust, so the Egyptians were covered in lice.
b. How the people must have loathed all thought of Geb.
D. Our culture is no less challenged by the finger of God, and here lies the root of many of the problems we face as a church today.
1. Our nation has its idols – to some it is the idol of science, to others money, sex, drink, drugs, pleasures – whatever.
2. The Word of God is a challenge to our modern gods, and let me tell you these gods shall fall, they are going to go everyone of them until we acknowledge as a nation that the earth is the Lord’s.