By the Finger of God

Everyday life has its own unexpected events. With our God-given intelligence we are able to anticipate, weigh the pros and cons to the best of our ability, and try to do what is right in His sight. At times we are at crossroads, left wondering if where we are heading is according to His holy will while the world and those around us may only see our motives through their own prisms and condemn us.
The third Sunday in Lent offers us the gospel where Jesus casts out a demon – This is proof of His divine mission to destroy the works of the devil and deliver His people from sin. And yet his critics accuse him of acting in collusion with Beelzebub the prince of the devil. And Jesus responds, “If it’s by the finger of God that I cast out the demon, know that the kingdom of God is here.”
The finger of God reminds us of that famous fresco of Michaelangelo on the Sistine Chapel. God, the Father breathes life into Adam with his right hand outstretched to impart a spark of life from His own finger into that of Adam. Adam’s left arm is extended in a similar pose as though reaching out for God only separated by a slight distance. God can, with His finger accomplish a lot, because He is God.
In Matthew, the same verse, “the finger of God,” reads as by the “Spirit of God.” This shows how easily God can conquer Satan. If the heavens and earth were made with the finger of God (When I consider the heavens, even the work of thy fingers; the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained…Psalm 8:3), to vanquish Satan was not a big deal for God. In this Gospel, Jesus takes the occasion to speak of the dynamics of the devil and cautions us about his deceitful ways.
Matthew Henry comments on the work of the devil juxtaposed to the soul of a sinner.
“The miserable condition of an unconverted sinner. In his heart, which was fitted to be a habitation of God, the devil has his palace; and all the powers and the faculties of the soul, being employed by him in the service of sin, are his good The heart of every unconverted sinner is the devil’s palace, where he resides and where he rules; he works in the children of disobedience. The heart is a palace, a noble dwelling; but the unsanctified heart is the devil’s palace. His will is obeyed, his interests are served, and the militia is in his hands; he usurps the throne in the soul. [2.] The devil, as a strong man armed, keeps this palace, does all he can to secure it to himself, and to fortify it against Christ. All the prejudices with which he hardens men’s hearts against truth and holiness are the strong-holds which he erects for the keeping of his palace; this palace is his garrison. [3.] There is a kind of peace in the palace of an unconverted soul, while the devil, as a strong man armed, keeps it. The sinner has a good opinion of himself, is very secure and merry, has no doubt concerning the goodness of his state nor any dread of the judgment to come; he flatters himself in his own eyes, and cries peace to himself. Before Christ appeared, all was quiet, because all went one way; but the preaching of the gospel disturbed the peace of the devil’s palace.”
How vulnerable we are, to be deceived by the father of lies! It is necessary that therefore to examine ourselves in the light of His divine will.
Human as we are, we could only look at things in retrospect and see God’s hand leading us through all our vicissitudes. Only when we have traveled the road and climb on the mountain, we can look back at the trail that we have traversed. Otherwise, everything for the moment is a walk of faith in God.
How could we tell if it’s through the finger of God, that these things have happened? In Christian parlance, we call it the discernment, the ability to sift through things by the grace of the Holy Spirit. We prayerfully submit everything to the Lord, listen to our conscience and examine if it is in concordance with the Scripture. Seek counsel of the wise and experienced people around you and make your decision.
In the epistle in the third Sunday in Lent, Paul the apostle calls us to walk in the light and he gives us the foundation for our soul searching in terms of the fruit of the spirit which is all goodness, righteousness and truth. Being lead by the finger of God means that we walk in His light. It means that we say no to sin and yes to His saving grace.
Psalm 91 gives us the reassurance:
9 If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

St. Paul in his letter to the Romans reiterates the same: If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? (Romans 8:31-35)
Also remember what Gamaliel, Paul’s teacher told the Sanhedrin when they were ought to destroy the works of the Apostles, “And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:39: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God (Acts 5:38-39).
Any venture or enterprise sought for one’s own glory will die, unless it is for the greater glory of God and salvation of souls that are so dear to Him. Isn’t it, then, better to be led by the Finger of God than by the devices of men?