The Finger of God
Divine Judgment in the World Trade Center Attack
Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh's heart
was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.
Tornadoes are now classified by wind speed with the first digit of the Fujita-Pearson scale. With six degrees of wind force from F-0 to F-5, an F-5 tornado is almost off the scale with "incredible" destructive force and wind speeds exceeding 260 mph. On average, only one of these devastating funnels is identified each year in the United States. It is these horrific F-5 tornadoes that have the nickname "finger of God" from those who observe and measure tornadoes.
This expression is similarly used twice in the Bible. Pharaoh's magicians, when they could not duplicate the lice produced by Moses and Aaron, told Pharaoh he was witnessing the "finger of God" (Ex 8:16-19). And the Lord Jesus Christ, when confronting the Jews with His superiority to their exorcists, identified His power over devils as the "finger of God" (Luke 11:8-14).
Consider well that neither Pharaoh nor the Jewish leaders humbled themselves before these clear warning signs from God, and they and their nations were severely judged. Egypt was wrecked by further plagues, including the death of the first born, and the drowning of Pharaoh's army in the Red Sea; and Jerusalem was smashed and nearly annihilated by the Romans under Titus in 70 A.D.
Have we now seen the finger of God in America?
On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, four airliners were hijacked by suicide squads and aimed at symbols of American financial, military, and political power, with a death count exceeding 5,500 and a cost approaching $25 billion. For a nation used to the greatest combination of peace, prosperity, protection, and pampered lifestyle ever known on earth, the horrendous event and its destruction of life and property was unprecedented and shocking. It was "incredible," just as F-5 tornadoes are classified.
It was clearly the finger of God.
Is it correct to understand God using such evil events for His purposes?
The prophet Amos rhetorically warned Israel (Amos 3:6), "Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?" The question demands a negative answer, for God does bring both good and evil. To thank God for blessings but think evil is outside His direction is both inconsistent and unscriptural.
God said in Isaiah 45:7, "I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things." And Job, answering his wife for the catastrophes in his life, said (Job 2:10), "Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?"
It is presumed the Muslim terrorist Osama bin Laden directed the attack, but his wrath against America would have failed without the Lord's direction. For Psalm 76:10 states, "Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain." Since Osama's wrath was not restrained, as in previous attempts, God used him as a stooge, in His own divine plan to warn and chasten America.
God used the king of Assyria to punish Israel, and He described him as merely an axe, saw, rod, and staff in His hands (Is 10:5-15). Though the king had his own evil ambitions in the war, he was a mere tool in God's hands for divine judgment. Seeing and feeling similar unrestrained wrath, fifth century Europe named Attila the Hun, the Scourge of God. Not just a mere finger, he was a scourge.
Some will still say that God does not plan, purpose, or direct evil. But if we consider the most evil event in the world's history, the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, we find that God planned, purposed, and directed it right down to the details (Acts 2:23; 4:28; John 19:36-37). It all happened according to His determinate counsel, for He had purposed to make His Son an offering for sin by the hands of wicked men.
Consider two other examples. Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery out of envy, but the Lord used their evil to get him to Egypt for relief from the coming famine (Gen 45:5-8; 50:20). David numbered Israel against God's law, which brought the death of 70,000 Israelites; but it was the Lord Who used David's sin as a reason to judge the nation (2Sam 24:1,10,15). It is plain from these examples and the Bible doctrine already shown that God uses the evil actions of men for His own purposes.
Why Billy Graham, the nation's pastor, admitted at the national prayer service he does not understand evil is beyond belief. It is clearly explained in the Bible. It originated with Satan, was brought into the human race by our first parents, is part of our depraved human nature, is condemned by God, is never the result of God corrupting men, is used by God for His glory and our profit, requires an eternity in hell to punish it, was destroyed by Jesus Christ for His elect, and is not allowed in heaven.
Not a sparrow falls without the plan, permission, and purpose of God; and this includes sparrows at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon (Matt 10:29-31). So much is this the case, we know God selected the targets and determined the damages and losses, which should cause us to reflect very soberly on our nation's condition before God that would warrant such judgment.
Our nation deserves this warning blow, for America has sinned grievously against God. There is every reason for God to judge our nation and show His finger of judgment. Consider a small sample of sins legislated by government, promoted by the media, and/or approved by popular opinion.
|Covetousness||Fornication||Ridicule of authority||Unthankfulness|
We have forgotten God. We have turned our backs on Him. We have chosen our own ways against His Holy Word. We have gorged on sin as if at a banquet.
What will He do to us for our heinous rebellion?
Psalm 9:17 declares, "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." Psalm 50:22 declares, "Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver." This is a different God than the one Billy Graham described at the national prayer service, isn't it? He said God has His loving arms around all of us.
A few dared to suggest September 11 was God's judgment for our sins. Attacked from every direction, they have since retracted or "clarified" their statements to save their positions and influence. As a weatherman refusing to warn of an approaching tornado would be culpable for damages, we would be liable for America's destruction, if we were to compromise and not warn.
The media will not even mention God, sin, self-examination, repentance, or judgment. And though our president called for a day of prayer, the service in Washington was so filled with religious and moral compromise that it was a stench in God's nostrils (Is 1:10-15). The nation's prayers have been for the victims and rescuers rather than confession and repentance for sins and pleas for mercy.
Consider the hypocrisy! Our president publicly speaks of God as our Creator, yet it is a crime to teach creation in the public schools. He calls for a national day of prayer, but it is a crime to pray in school or at football games. They gather the entire government to a religious service, yet any other direct or indirect use of religion by citizens is squelched by officials intimidated by the atheistic ACLU.
How many understand God has the right to dictate our lives? They have a form of godliness without any power, or authority, thus fulfilling Paul's warning of perilous times in the last days (II Tim 3:1-9). They love pleasure far more than they love God, so much is said about noble rescuers, airport security, and military revenge; but very little is said about confession, repentance, and revival.
Instead of proudly talking about our military might, our nation's great spirit, and our ability to punish the perpetrators, we ought to be fasting, praying, and repenting like Nineveh long ago (Jonah 3:5-10). Rather than assembling in comfortable splendor in the national cathedral, our leaders should have been prostrate in sackcloth and ashes begging for God's forgiveness and mercy. Instead of singing, "God Bless America," they should have been praying, "God, be merciful to us sinners."
But such thoughts are ridiculous in our arrogant, irreligious, hypocritical, humanistic, and pleasure-crazed society.
The issue is primarily with the Christians of this nation. Atheists, pagans, and other religions cannot comprehend, so their guilt is far less than ours. The hypocrisy of the present generation is great. We print on our money, "In God we trust," and we say in our pledge, "One nation under God"; but we live like crazed Epicureans in a mad rush to compromise truth, enjoy the world, and satisfy selfish lusts.
The finger of God is over our nation. It is clear to see. Let us not be like Pharaoh or the Jews, who refused to recognize it, hardened their hearts, and saw the destruction of their nations.
Jesus used another collapsing tower to illustrate His warning of judgment in Luke 13:4-5, "Or those eight, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." We are all going to perish under the hand of God's judgment, unless we repent and seek His mercy.
No matter how much intelligence and effort is put into protecting ourselves and destroying the perpetrators, if the Lord is not with us, all will fail miserably and reveal the bankrupt condition of our hearts. Safety is of the Lord, and He only gives it to the righteous (Ps 127:1; Prov 21:31).
Many things are being said with great passion about revenge on Bin Laden and other terrorist suspects. But if the holiness of our lives does not exceed our rhetoric, we are of all men the greatest hypocrites. As Paul warned (II Tim 2:19), "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."
We must repent and seek revival from God. He said to Solomon (II Chron 7:14), "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
He also said (Malachi 2:2), "If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart."
We have seen the finger of God. It is pointing at us. What will we do?
"Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him" (Psalm 2:10-12).