Saturday, April 21, 2012

God’s Hand Writing



When the hand of God wrote in the Old Testament, it was on stone, and in the New Testament, it was on sand. Praise God for the difference!

All of the Bible is the Word of God, divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit and recorded by men God specifically chose for this purpose (2 Timothy 3:16). Many of the words of Jesus, Son of God and God Himself, are recorded in the Scripture, as are words of God speaking as the Trinity (Genesis 1) or as God the Father (Matthew 3:17; 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22; 9:35).

Yet there are special instances in the Bible where the hand of God actually wrote, and these would seem to have unique significance. The first time we are told of God writing, He uses His finger to engrave the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone, not once, but twice, which was necessary because Moses in his anger destroyed the first set of tablets (Exodus 31:18; 32:15-16, 19; 34:1).

The Ten Commandments, or the Law, cannot save anyone, but rather serve as a mirror reflecting man’s sin (James 1:22-25). We are all sinners (Romans 3:23), so no one (except for Jesus Himself; Hebrews 4:15) is capable of keeping these commandments perfectly. We sin not only against God, rebelling against the first four commandments (Exodus 20:1-11), but also against one another, breaking the remaining commandments, which follow in a hierarchy or logical progression.

The fifth commandment is a transitional commandment between loving God and loving our neighbor, as it commands us to honor our parents (Exodus 20:12), who represent our first authority figure and hence become a model of how we will relate to God. The next three commandments prohibit killing, committing adultery, and stealing (Exodus 20:13-15), which are sinful acts against our neighbor. The ninth commandment prohibits lying (Exodus 20:16), which is sinful speech; and the tenth commandment prohibits coveting, or craving something belonging to someone else (Exodus 20:17), which is sinful thought.

Jesus extended this logical progression even further by stating that even looking at a woman with lust is committing adultery in the heart (Matthew 5:28), and that anger is equivalent to murder in the heart (Matthew 5:22). This made it abundantly clear that no one can keep the Ten Commandments, because to keep them perfectly requires controlling not only one’s actions, but one’s words and even one’s thoughts and emotions.

The Law, written by God’s hand on tablets of stone, therefore represents God’s judgment – He judges man by this absolute standard and finds that we are all sinners deserving eternal punishment in hell. Only by the perfect sacrifice of His Son to pay our sin debt in full can sinful man be reconciled to holy God (2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Colossians 1:20-22; Hebrews 2:17).

When God looks at those who put their faith in the death, burial and resurrection of His Son (1 Corinthians 15) as the only way to Heaven (John 14:6), He sees not our sins, but the perfect righteousness of His Son (Romans 4:5-8). In an amazing and mysterious transaction, our sin was credited to Jesus’s account, and His righteousness was credited to our account. God’s judgment no longer will result in our eternal punishment in hell; instead, His grace offers us eternal and abundant life with Him in Heaven (Romans 5:10-21).

The second time we see God’s hand writing, it also delivers a message of judgment, written on the plaster of a stone wall in a royal banquet hall (Daniel 5). Belshazzar, the Chaldean king, was guilty of desecrating the sacred gold and silver vessels of God’s temple, allowing his princes, wives and concubines to drink from them as they toasted their pagan gods (v. 2-4). He was therefore committing idolatry (not to mention adultery and using precious objects his father stole from God’s temple), dishonoring God and honoring his own false gods.

He also committed the sin of pride (v. 22) and rebellion against God, even though he had seen the severe punishment God had given his father Nebuchadnezzar for stealing the sacred vessels, being prideful, and failing to acknowledge that it was God Who gave him all his power and glory (v. 18).

Daniel interprets the written message for Belshazzar: Daniel 5:26 MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. 27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. 28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

Just as the Ten Commandments convey God’s judgment against all sinners, this message reveals God’s judgment against the king for the sins of pride, rebellion and idolatry, and should serve as a sober warning to all rulers who falsely think they obtained their power through their own merit instead of as a gift from God. As predicted, Belshazzar was murdered that very night, and Darius from Medes seized the Chaldean kingdom (v.30-31).

The third time we see God writing, the wording of the message is not revealed, yet the effect was similar: it made those who saw it aware of their sin. A woman caught in adultery is brought to Jesus by angry Pharisees, asking whether He agrees or disagrees that she should be put to death as commanded in the law of Moses (John 8:4-5). He almost seems to ignore them, yet begins writing with His finger in the sand (v. 6). Finally, He says, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her,” then continues to write on the ground. One by one, the accusers leave, convicted by their own guilty conscience (v. 6-9).

Unlike the Old Testament incidents of God writing, this incident shows Jesus writing not indelibly by etching the message into stone, but by tracing the words in the dirt where they could easily be blown away by the wind, covered by footprints, or washed away by the rain. His sacrifice on the cross allowed our judgment to be erased and gone forever. Man in his rebellion cannot escape God’s judgment, any more than Moses breaking the first set of tablets in anger meant that God would revoke the law He commanded His people to keep.

But Jesus’ own words reveal that He came not to judge or to condemn (John 8: 11,15), but to forgive, love, and pay our debt to God the Judge so that all who have faith in Him will have their sins forgiven, their judgment repealed, and their freedom assured for all eternity.

Romans 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.


© 2012 Laurie Collett


38 comments:

  1. Thanks, Denise! Blessings to you,
    Laurie

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  2. Thankfully, while the judgment is set in stone, the record of our sin only hardens into stone if we refuse to ask forgiveness. great picture.

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  3. Excellent point, dfish! Thanks as always for your insightful comment.
    God bless,
    Laurie

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  4. That was an excellent article. Thanks for posting.
    Last week I have written a blog which, I think, is on the same theme as this one. It is called, "Gay Issues - You Were Right, Boris."
    It is about the Law bringing knowledge of sin, just as you described.
    Wishing you God's blessing,
    Frank.

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  5. Reminds me of a song I just heard where the refrain was about God writing his name on our lives

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  6. Jesus told, that He hadn't gone to cancel the Law, but to fill that. He made it on the cross, so we are free - Law was like teacher, who should have shown the Saviour - Jesus Christ. Jews in ancient times made sacrificies from goats and sheeps, but it didn't help them with the problem of sin. Sacrifice of Jesus is ideal and He filled the Law, so we don't need circumcision or make sacrifice in the Temple.
    But this fact doesn't mean, that we can do everything - kill, rape, steal or don't respect our parents. Today we have different perspective - we should be obedient, because God loves us and because we should be thankful.
    I thank my Lord that He is so great.
    Greetings for You :)

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  7. Thanks, Frank, I appreciate your comment! I'll check out your blog post today!
    God bless,
    Laurie

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  8. Hi Court,
    That sounds like a wonderful song! May He write His name on each of our lives for others to read!
    Love in Him,
    Laurie

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  9. Well said, Zim! The liberty we have in Christ does not give us license to sin. We are saved by grace, not works, but once we are saved we are a new creation, turning away from sin and doing good works because we love Him so much and are thankful for Him dying to save us.
    God bless you,
    Laurie

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  10. I agree with some of the other commenters. The focus of Jesus is that, with His love for us and all, doesn't mean there's no consequence of sinful behavior. We must see the Laws from the eyes of our Lord. Period. And that is more and more difficult in our present culture. Back then, WAY back then, adultery was pretty basic. NOW? TV, movies, I-net, songs -- much of it has little immediate revelation or control. For instance, watching the news in the afternoon, a commercial showing evening programs, can be filled with foul language, sexual pictures, violence... and we couldn't change the station quickly enough to not have it dumped in our brains and hearts. I have to be very careful just then. And I rarely watch TV in the evening. However, even on the I-net, checking something that is legitimate, a side show can pop in quickly that is nearly porn. It is tough now. The Lord is the only answer. The ONLY answer, and I need Him to write on my heart when He's giving me a message and I will/can trust Him forever and ever, AMEN.

    Thanks for sharing so carefully and clearly.

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  11. So thankful for the one free Gift! Given by God for the remission of our sis. Oh, my heart sings when I think of it.

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  12. Dear caryjo,

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. Satan is always at work, and as the End Times approaches he has so many more tools at his disposal and is using them to the max in the short time he has left. When sin becomes the norm in the culture, the consequences are minimized by those who set the norms, but we know there are consequences, to the sinner directly, to those whom his sin affects, and to all those he affects directly and even indirectly. Praise God that He always provides an escape from temptation. He alone is completely faithful, true, and trustworthy.
    Love in Him,
    Laurie

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  13. Dear Pamela,
    Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift! That truly is a cause for rejoicing always!
    God bless,
    Laurie

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  14. thank you for this reminder and insight!!

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  15. Thanks, momto8, for your comment!
    God bless,
    Laurie

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  16. I love this. I have never compared the writings of God before and this made Jesus's words of grace all the more meaningful when seen in the light of the new covenant

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  17. Thanks, Shanda! Praise God that Jesus came to forgive, and not to condemn.
    Have a blessed week in Him!
    Laurie

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  18. I can't get past your first sentence. I could chew on that for a month! I am excited about getting to know you better as you are in my small group with SDG!

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  19. Thanks so much, journeytoepiphany, for your visit and encouraging comment! Looking forward to getting to know you too!
    God bless,
    Laurie

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  20. Laurie, I, too, am in your SDG small group. This is my first time to visit and surely will return. God's Truth teaches us ALL we ever need in this life. Thanks for being willing to seek His Truth and teach others that they, too, will know that He has set us free.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

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  21. Hi Laurie - I am just grateful that God has written His love for me on my heart. Great post Laurie, and thank you for your encouraging words on my blog :)
    God bless
    Tracy

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  22. Thank you for sharing this. It is something I really hadn't thought about before.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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  23. Dear Linda,
    Thanks so much for visiting and for your thoughtful comment and encouragement. You are a blessing!
    Praise God that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life!
    Love in Him,
    Laurie

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  24. Well said, Tracy -- Praise God that we can hide His words in our heart! Thanks for your kind words and comment.
    God bless,
    Laurie

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  25. Thanks, Charlotte! Glad you enjoyed the post.
    Hope you are having a blessed week in Him!
    Laurie

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  26. I have always been intrigued by Jesus writing in the sand to the woman caught in adultery. Wouldn't you love to know what He wrote?! Thank you for this insightful, thought-provoking post.

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  27. Hi Becky,
    I've wondered about that too! Thanks so much for visiting and for your encouraging comment.
    Love in Him,
    Laurie

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  28. What an interesting and thought provoking study to be sure. And God spoke and God wrote... Awesome!

    http://theemptynestexpress.com

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  29. Thanks so much, Ms. Kathleen!
    God's blessings to you,
    Laurie

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  30. Beautifully written, Laurie. I am so thankful for His amazing grace.

    Blessings,
    Joan

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  31. Thanks, Joan for always being a blessing! We have so much to be thankful for!
    God bless,
    Laurie

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  32. Wonderful post, wonderful site... what a blessing in the bloggy community!

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  33. Thanks so much, The Faithful Homeschool! Your comment really lifts my spirits!
    God bless,
    Laurie

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  34. I love how you broke down the Ten Commandments into types. Interesting. When we read the Old Testament where they had to build the temple - the kids are always amazed at every minute detail being mentioned. It's a great way to show them how impossible it is to keep every single commandment, and how much we need a Savior. Great post. :)

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  35. Thanks, Audra Marie! Praise God that you are able to develop a love of God's Word in your children!
    May you have a blessed week in Him!
    Laurie

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  36. Thank you for sharing. Blessings.

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