This is the finger of God!
(J.C. Ryle, "This is the Finger of God!" Written during the Great Cattle Plague of England in 1865-1867.)
Look at the words which form the title of this article, and consider them well. They were spoken by heathen men more than three thousand years ago. They fell from the lips of Egyptian magicians when God sent one of the famous plagues on the land of Egypt. "Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh: This is the finger of God!" Exodus 8:19.
It would be well if we all were as wise as these Egyptians!
From WHENCE does the cattle plague come?
I answer, unhesitatingly, that it comes from God! He who orders all things in Heaven and earth, He by whose wise providence everything is directed, and without whom nothing can happen—He it is who has sent this scourge upon us! It is the finger of God!
I shall not spend time in proving this point. I refer anyone who asks for proof, to the whole tenor of God's Word. I ask him to mark how God is always spoken of as the governor and manager of all things, from the very least to the very greatest.
Who sent the flood on the world in the days of Noah? It was God! (Genesis 6:17)
Who sent the famine in the days of Joseph? It was God! (Genesis 41:25)
Who sent the plague on the livestock of Egypt in the reign of Pharaoh It was God! (Exodus 9:3)
Who sent disease on the Philistines when the ark was among them? It was God! (1 Samuel 5:7; 6:3-7)
Who sent the pestilence in the days of David? It was God! (2 Samuel 24:15)
Who sent the famine in the days of Elisha? It was God! (2 Kings 8:1)
Who sent the stormy wind and tempest in the days of Jonah? It was God! (Jonah 1:4)
I cannot understand how anyone can be called a believer of the Bible, who denies God's providence over His world. For my own part, I thoroughly believe that God has not changed. I believe that He is governing all things as much now, as He was in the Old Testament days. I believe that wars, famines, pestilences, and cattle plagues—are all His instruments for carrying on the government of this world. And therefore when I see a scourge like the cattle plague, I have no doubt as to the hand that sends it. It is the finger of God!
Can anyone give a better account of the cattle plague? I believe that the only cause that we must come to as last is: This is the finger of God!
Does anyone regard my assertion as absurd and unreasonable? I have no doubt that many do so. Many, I suspect, think that God never interferes with the affairs of this world, and that pestilences and cattle plagues are only the result of certain natural laws which are always producing certain effects. I pity the man who thinks so.
Is he an atheist? Does he believe that this wonderfully designed world came together by chance, and had no Creator? If so, he is a very gullible person.
But if he does believe that God made the world—where, I ask, is the absurdity of believing that God governs the world? If he allows that God framed the universe—then why not allow that God manages it?
Away with this modern skepticism! It is offensive and revolting to common sense. They are not to be heard, who would shut out the Creator from His own creation. He who made the world at the beginning by the finger of creating wisdom—will never cease to govern the world by the finger of His providence. This cattle plague is the finger of God!
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N.B. It seems like most people forgetting God's role in our present coronavirus issue.
Here are several verses which speak directly to the matter:
Exodus 9:3. the hand of the LORD will bring a terrible plague on your livestock in the field—on your horses and donkeys and camels and on your cattle and sheep and goats
Exodus 32:35. And the LORD struck the people with a plague
Leviticus 26:25. I will send a plague among you, and you will be given into enemy hands
Numbers 11:33. the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague
Numbers 14:12. I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them
Numbers 16:46. Wrath has come out from the LORD; the plague has started
Deuteronomy 28:21. The LORD will plague you with diseases until he has destroyed you from the land
Deuteronomy 28:22. The LORD will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish
Deuteronomy 32:24. I will send wasting famine against them, consuming pestilence and deadly plague; I will send against them the fangs of wild beasts, the venom of vipers that glide in the dust
1 Chronicles 21:14. So the LORD sent a plague on Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell dead
2 Chronicles 7:13. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people
Jeremiah 14:12. I will destroy them with the sword, famine and plague
Jeremiah 21:6. I will strike down those who live in this city, both men and animals—and they will die of a terrible plague
Jeremiah 29:17. yes, this is what the LORD Almighty says: "I will send the sword, famine and plague against them
Jeremiah 44:13. I will punish those who live in Egypt with the sword, famine and plague, as I punished Jerusalem
Ezekiel 14:21. For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: How much worse will it be when I send against Jerusalem my four dreadful judgments—sword and famine and wild beasts and plague—to kill its men and their animals!