THE MAN WHO SAW THE INVISIBLE
“By faith Moses, after he was born, was hidden by his parents for three months, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they didn’t fear the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and chose to suffer with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasure of sin. For he considered reproach for the sake of Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, since he was looking ahead to the reward. By faith he left Egypt behind, not being afraid of the king’s anger, for Moses persevered as one who sees him who is invisible. By faith he instituted the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn might not touch the Israelites. By faith they crossed the Red Sea as though they were on dry land. When the Egyptians attempted to do this, they were drowned.”
We have been mining the verses of Hebrews 11 looking for nuggets of gold about faith. Our study has not disappointed us. In fact, we have been pulling out ore by the cart-loads. We have learned that those ancient saints we read about in the Old Testament lived by faith. They were justified by faith. They were rescued by faith. They were successful because they learned to trust God, and when they had an opportunity to demonstrate their faith, they took their shot.
Each of these heroes of faith lived up to the definition of faith provided in this chapter. We read in verse 1 that faith is “the proof of what is not seen.” A man or woman of faith sees something that the unbeliever does not see. The something is there, it just cannot be seen by the unaided eye.
Science tells us that there are lots of things that really matter in this world which cannot be seen by the unaided eye. Education, medicine, law enforcement and industry have adopted devices that help us see things too small for our eyes to register, or not visible for other reasons. Consequently, we have more justification now than ever in history to believe what the author of Hebrews tells us about creation. He tells us that “what is seen was made from things that are not visible” (11:3). You would think that our generation would have lots more people of faith since we are all taught to trust in things we cannot see. Sadly, the devil has taught us to ignore that fact, but in every generation there are heroes of faith who grasp it.
Today we are going to look at one of those heroes. We will examine the life of a man who saw the invisible. His name was Moses. His story is told in the first five books of the Bible, which are attributed to him as their primary author. Hebrews summarized Moses story in today’s text, and identifies him as “one who sees him who is invisible” (27).
Moses learned from his parents to trust the God who is invisible (23).
Amram and Jochebed were the parents of Moses, and his story of living by faith began with them. Before Moses could make any decisions for himself, they decided by faith to protect him.
Folks, we need to be parents like that. Our children and grandchildren will face dangerous things in this life, and they will be unaware of the danger. So, we need to step in and be brave enough to shield them from the danger that they do not see.
You know the story. You’ve seen the movies, and I hope you’ve read the book. Moses “was hidden by his parents for three months, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they didn’t fear the king’s edict.” In other words, they were moved to act by two things: their love for their child, and their loyalty to someone higher in rank than the king. They saw two things. They saw a beautiful child who needed to be protected, and they saw an invisible almighty God who they needed to obey.
Jesus told his disciples “do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!” (Luke 12:4-5). Amram and Jochebed’s fear of God was stronger than their fear of Pharaoh’s sword.
Because they trusted God to protect their son, he enabled them to teach their son about that trust. So, Moses’ first lesson in seeing the invisible came from those two faithful parents.
Moses lived his life trusting the God who is invisible (24-27).
Next, the author of Hebrews summarizes the life of Moses by highlighting six decisions that he made because he trusted the God who is invisible.
First, Moses decided who his real mother was. The text tells us that when Moses had grown up, he “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter” (24). He understood that to identify as an Egyptian would be high treason against his king in the sky.
Secondly, Moses decided to endure temporary hardship instead of giving in to temptation. He “chose to suffer with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasure of sin” (25). He could see beyond the temporary to the permanent. He could have lived as an Egyptian and enjoyed a comfortable temporary life. But he saw the God who is invisible and sided with him and his people.
Thirdly, Moses decided where his treasure was. He “considered reproach for the sake of Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, since he was looking ahead to the reward” (26).
I should point out that the author of Hebrews is not slipping us a fast one by inserting the name of Christ in his story of Moses. The earlier chapters of Hebrews makes the point that all of biblical history points to the person and work of Christ.
• In chapter 1, Christ is God’s Son who was with God in the beginning creating the world (1:2).
• In chapter 2, Christ is the captain of our salvation, made perfect through sufferings (2:10).
• In chapter 3, Christ is the apostle and high priest of our profession (3:1).
• In chapter 4, Christ is the great high priest who has passed into the heavens (4:14).
• In chapter 6, Christ has entered the holiest place as our forerunner (6:20).
• In chapter 9, Christ the mediator of a new covenant with a promise of an eternal inheritance (9:15).
Moses had been taught by his parents that the Christ was going to come in the future. Moses decided to be loyal to the future Christ rather than the present Pharaoh.
Jesus told a parable about a treasure a man found in a field. He sold all his possessions to gain that field, so he would have that treasure. Moses faced the same decision. So do we.
Fourthly. Moses decided where his reward was coming from. He could have looked all around himself and focused on enjoying life now in the palaces of Egypt. Instead “he was looking ahead to the reward” (26). He saw an invisible God with a greater reward that what he could experience in Egypt.
Fifthly, Moses decided what he did not need. He “left Egypt behind” (27) because he realized that although life in Egypt was tempting, he could not be in two places at once. He could not please the king without angering the invisible God. So, he chose to anger the king by pleasing God. Of all things, he did not need God’s wrath, so he had to exodus.
Finally, Moses decided to stay true to his faith. He “persevered as one who sees him who is invisible” (27). You see, the life of faith is not just a single choice. It is a million choices where we stay true to our faith commitment. Moses is a hero of the faith because he persevered. We come into the safety of God’s house by faith. We lock the doors and stay inside that house by perseverance.
Moses led the Israelites to trust the God who is invisible (28-29).
Next, the author of Hebrews highlights two incidents in the life of Moses where he led the Israelites to deliverance from death.
He says that by faith Moses “instituted the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn might not touch the Israelites” (28). Inside their homes, the Israelites were enjoying the Passover. Outside was the angel of death. He stayed outside their homes because of the sprinkling of the blood on the doorposts. The Egyptians did not trust in this invisible God, so they did not paint their doors. The death angel came and the eldest child of each family died.
The Israelites followed Moses and “crossed the Red Sea as though they were on dry land. When the Egyptians attempted to do this, they were drowned” (29). What made the difference that day? It wasn’t the Israelite’s confidence or self-determination. Those soldiers were just as confident and determined when they rode their chariots into the path of the parted sea. It was the invisible God who made the difference that day.
These two incidents highlight the role of leadership as the passing on of faith in the invisible God. Our heavenly Father wants us to not only believe in him, but also to lead others to follow him. Moses is a wonderful example of a man of faith who did that.
So, some questions as we reflect on the life story of this hero of faith:
• Do you see the invisible God?
• Do you make choices in this life based on his existence and authority?
• Are you leading others to walk by faith in the invisible God of the Bible?
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