Lord, You are the hope of Israel;
all who forsake You will be put to shame.
Those who turn away from You will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord,
the Spring of Living Water.
The Word Made Flesh
The beloved disciple John begins his Gospel account of The Master depicting Him as the Word, thus, according to John, The Messiah was preexisting in the very beginning of creation and time as we know it. For him, Jesus from Nazareth was:
“In the beginning was the Word
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was at the beginning with God.”
Brother John in verse 14 boldly testifies that the Word became flesh…which based on his knowledge, personal experience, and spiritual enlightenment, he saw the difference between the legality of the Law of Moses, and the grace and truth that his Master Jesus taught and lived out publicly. [note verse 17]
Not everyone during the first century and throughout the generations to follow is able to see this Palestinian Jewish Rabbi in the same light as John and perhaps the billions of current followers of Christ. As was the case in John’s lifetime, many people continue to misuses and thus misapply the Word of God for selfish if not ungodly rationales.
The Finger of God
Giving meaning to the initial Jeremiah 17:13 opening passage, John later on in his Gospel writes about how some of the secular-religious leaders who had an unhealthy alliance with the Roman government, brought a woman before The Master who was “caught in the act of adultery.” [see John 8:1-11] Our Messiah as being the Light of the World, exposed these men as unworthy and unqualified to condemn or provide salvation to anyone. In the Master’s encounter with them, these were some of the evil darkness within their hearts that was exposed to light:
- They exposed the woman without distinguishing between presumptuous sin or willful sin, in the hope that The Master would agree with the Law of Moses which required that the woman is stoned to death.
- They falsely hoped that if The Master acted accordingly to the Law of Moses, the Scribes and Pharisees would accuse Him to the Roman governor whom they served, for condemning a person to death [by taking the law in His own hands].
- They also wish to have The Master set up by having Him act outside of His forgiving and loving nature toward the sinner, the underclass and the undesirable within the culture.
Perhaps the most interesting if not overlooked two recorded actions of John’s account by The Master is Him “stooping down, and with His finger, He wrote on the ground [verses 6 and 8]. There, of course, is on-going debates as to what exactly did The Master write with His finger in the dust, while the accused and her accusers were present. Of all of the various possibilities, the two that stood out in my observations were noted below:
The first is the Jeremiah 17:13 passage, in that the accusers knew the Old Covenant very well, and that this passage, once The Master wrote it in the sand, they all were convicted in their hearts and left the scene. I would favor this possibility if The Master had just written in the sand just once.
The best possibility is that because of the very act of The Master writing with His finger twice in the dust, suggest that the conviction of the accusers came about because The Master was claiming to be the One who wrote the Ten Commandments with His finger in Exodus 31:18.
And when He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai,
He gave Moses, the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone,
written by the finger of God.
The apostle John omits revealing what The Master wrote in the sand perhaps he assumes that everyone knew that Jesus is the Christ and that it was He who appeared before Moses as the pre-incarnated One on Mount Sinai. It was Jesus the Christ who gave Moses the Law not once but twice, for Moses broke the first tablets. The second was placed in the Ark of the Covenant [see Exodus 25:21, Deuteronomy 10:2,5].
The good news for today’s faithful billion of followers of The Messiah is that during this New Covenant era, the Finger of God has written His Laws now a third time, within and upon the hearts of His Beloved Community of Believers. [see Jeremiah 31:31-33; Hebrew 8:10.]
The Heart of God
The question remains to be answered, how does the Finger of God reveal the Heart of God? Before the formation of what we know as the Holy Scriptures, our Creator developed universal and timeless principles of what is moral and immoral for all humanity. These moral principles were only written by God’s finger. They are the Ten Commandments. To look at them as the moral obligations on our part toward God and humanity, consider the following:
- The greatest obligation is to worship only The Creator.
- The greatest injury to a human being is murder.
- The greatest injury to family bonds is adultery.
- The greatest injury to commerce and law is bearing false witness.
- The greatest inter-generational obligation is to honor one’s parents.
- The greatest obligation to the community is truthfulness.
- The greatest injury to moveable property is theft.
In his book Legends of the Jews, Rabbi Louis Ginzberg contends that the Ten Commandments are entwined, that the breaking of one leads to the breaking of another. There is also a great bond of union between the first five commandments and the last five.
- The first command: “I am the Lord, thy God,” corresponds to the sixth: “Thou shalt not kill,” for the murderer slays the image of God.
- The second: “Thou shalt have no strange gods before me,” corresponds to the seventh: “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” for conjugal faithlessness is as grave a sin as idolatry, which is faithlessness to God.
- The third commandment: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain,” corresponds to the eight: “Thou shalt not steal,” for stealing the result in false oath in God’s name.
- The fourth: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” corresponds to the ninth: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor,” for he who bears false witness against his neighbor commits as grave a sin as if he had borne false witness against God, saying that He had not created the world in six days and rested on the seventh day[holy Sabbath].
- The fifth commandment: “Honor thy father and thy mother,” corresponds to the tenth: “Covet not thy neighbor’s wife,” for one who indulges this lust produces children who will not honor their true father but will consider a stranger their father.
Just who was this woman who was brought before Jesus by the religious leaders in John’s Gospel? It was you and I! If you and I continue to live in this life, we too will be placed in the very same situation that this nameless woman found herself in. Will we be condemned or forgiven? Who will you and I be placing our fate in, the kingdom of this world or the Kingdom of God?
When life’s social; financial, religious, legal, cultural, intellectual and family relationships fail you and me, who is it that we will depend on to advocate our case? Which side will you and me take in our moment(s) of public shaming and humiliation?
I deeply pray and hope that this blog post in somehow has at least created some needful introspective analysis into your heart condition and your understanding of God’s chosen plan for ultimate redemption through Jesus the Messiah.
For those of us who are forgiven by the love and grace that is only found in The Master, permit me to conclude with this practical application of this lesson, How The Finger of God Reveal The Heart of God?
As this world increases in its insanity, I encourage you to move toward seeking the Face of God! As our culture systematically erode if not eliminate human-rights, privacy, and civility, I ask you gravitate toward God’s Mighty Hand and Outstretched Arm. When your everyday living, seemingly weakens your faithfulness, follow the Finger of God which will redirect your inclinations and empower you to overcome the evil within and without.
Grace and Peace