(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
This Gem is the second of three concerning the life of Moses. It is based on Hebrews 11:27: “By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.”
This incident in Moses’ life takes place 40 years after he fled Egypt and the wrath of Pharaoh when he killed an Egyptian taskmaster who was beating a Hebrew slave, and hid his body in the sand. Stephen, in recounting the incident in Act 7 tells us in verse 25, “For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand….” But his fellow Hebrews rejected Moses’ first attempt of deliverance! (see Exodus 2:14). He was right in thinking that God was going to use him to free the Israelites from Egyptian bondage, but his timing was just a little off – forty years off!
So he ran! And he ended up along the eastern coast of the Gulf of Aquaba, in Midian (now part of Saudi Arabia and Jordan). There, by a well, he rescued seven daughters of the priest of Midian who were being bullied by some shepherds! Their appreciative father invited Moses to stay with the family, and he ended up marrying Zipporah, one of the seven! For forty years he stayed in Midian, working as a shepherd, caring for his father-in-law’s sheep, the sedentary life of a sheep farmer…..until he “…came to Horeb, the mountain of God…”! (Exodus 3:1 – also known as Mount Sinai).
And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed....So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses! ...I am the God of your father — the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob....I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt....So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land...to a land flowing with milk and honey ....Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:2, 4, 6-8, 10).
Although Moses argued with God that he could no longer be the deliverer of Israel, God finally won out! (see Exodus 3:11-4:17). So Moses went back to Egypt, and through several confrontations with Pharaoh, and ten terrible plagues upon the Egyptians, the Hebrew slaves were finally set free! It was the last plague that tilted the scale in favor of the Israelites:
Then Moses said, “Thus says the LORD: ‘About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt; and all the first- born in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on the throne, even to the firstborn of the maidservant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the beasts. (Exodus 11:4, 5).
But God gave instructions to all the Israelites to kill a lamb and smear its blood on the lintel and two sides of the entrance doors to their houses…
For I will pass through the land of Egypt...and will strike all the firstborn...both man and beast....Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not...destroy you.... (Exodus 12:12, 13).
The Jews have celebrated this Passover event for over three thousand years!
Back to our featured Scripture, Hebrews 11:27: “By faith he [Moses] forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.” Because he was “…not fearing the wrath of the king…,” this cannot refer to the first time he ran from Egypt forty years before. For we are told in Exodus 2:14 and 15, “…Moses feared and…fled from the face of Pharaoh….” This verse refers to the multiple confrontations Moses and Aaron had with Pharaoh concerning the ongoing plagues, and the king became more and more angry as time went on! And when he forsook Egypt this second time, Moses led about two million Israelites out with him!
But what about the second part of Hebrews 11:27? “…for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.” This was the motivation that kept him and his brother going through the (apparently) months long process of administering the ten plagues! How could he see Him who is invisible?
- For God told Moses in Exodus 33:20 – “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me and live.”
- And we are told in I Timothy 6:15 and 16 – God “…is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see….”
While Moses did see God’s back (see Exodus 33:21-23; 34:5-7), he never saw the face of God! But it says in Hebrews 11:27 that he did see Him who is invisible! And the way it is written, “…seeing Him who is invisible…,” it gives the idea that Moses was constantly living with God in view! How? As it says in Hebrews 11:27, “By faith…he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.” It is written in Hebrews 11:1 and 6:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evi- dence of things not seen....for he who comes to God must believe that He is [that He exists], and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
No, we can’t physically see the One who dwells in unapproachable light! But we can see Him by faith! As Jesus said in John 20:29, “Blessed are those who have not seen…Me…and yet have believed.” Blessed indeed!
- Moses kept on going, even in the face of what sometimes seemed like insurmountable odds, because by faith he kept his eyes on the invisible God!
- We also have more means to build our faith than Moses had! He had very few words of God to grow his faith! We have the complete Bible, which reveals our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who “…is the image of the invisible God…” (Colossians 1:15). And remember: “…faith comes…by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17). As Paul wrote in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly….”
So keep on dwelling in the Word of God!
And that will keep your eyes on Jesus!
And keep on serving the Lord!