By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
I. THE INVISIBILITY OF GOD. This is one of the attributes of the Divine Being; it is usually called, and properly, one of the negative attributes of God. The averment is that He is not something. Unchaage-ableness, unsearchableness, irresistibleness, invisibility, are all negative attributes of God. God is invisible. We have not many Scriptures which teach this expressly and formally, but those which teach it are so clear and strong, and there are so many others which imply and involve it, that there cannot be the doubt of a moment what the doctrine of Scripture is (Job 23:8, 9; Deuteronomy 4:12, 15; 1 Timothy 6:16; John 1:18), The same truth is implied when our Saviour teaches that " God is a Spirit." He could not be a Spirit in the sense meant if He had dwelt from eternity in any material form, or if there were any material form necessary to His existence; and if God were not a Spirit, invisible, He would not be perfect. He is a portion so — He would not be a portion else! What I can see can never be a portion to my immortal soul; a spiritual substance requires a spiritual portion; the child-spirits need the Father of spirits. It is the grand discovery of the Scriptures, and the good message of salvation, that God only is enough for man, Spirit for spirit — Creator for creature — the Invisible for the invisible. We have never seen our own souls, we shall never see their portion. We feel, although we do not see ourselves, and in our best moments rejoice with great joy in our own existence! We feel in our spiritual sense — although we do not see — our God, and in our best moments we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, that He is our all-sufficient, unchanging, everlasting portion.
II. THE SEEING OR THE INVISIBLE GOD. When it is said of Moses that "he endured as seeing," the meaning is, not that he acted as if he could see Him, well knowing all the while that he could not, for that would be a mental fiction. The meaning is that he really did see God by soul sight, or, as we say, by faith. He believed in His actual presence in the world, in human life, in human affairs. In particular, he believed that He would be with him, according to His express promise, to cheer his heart, to guide his way, and to confirm his work to the end. The meaning is not only that he believed in God's presence with him, but that he relied on His strength. God's presence was to him an actual power on which he could lean. Thus he endured to the end. By just such seeing of the invisible God are we to endure through our life, and to triumph at last.
1. We shall endure when all that is visible threatens, None of us, perhaps, is so important as to have to hope for the smiles, or " fear the wrath " of a king; but wrath may be out against us for all that, and it may take many forms. It may take the form of strong injustice, or of petty annoyance; of irritating persecution, or of ungenerous rivalry; of bitterness and evil-speaking, or it may spring from honest misjudgments. When life thus assumes a threatening aspect, it is well to be able to flee to the shadow of this great rock.
2. We shall endure when all that is visible allures. Moses defied the wrath of the king, but I do not know if that was his greatest trial and his greatest triumph. Egypt had its allurements as well as its terrors. Honour! Wealth! Pleasure! Those were the three chief sirens who wished to sing the man away from his best convictions; away from the high, although hard, path of duty. They sang, and he listened — and went away while he listened — from Egypt where they were singing, to the wilderness where he was safe, and where they could be heard no more. Those old sirens are singing still! Like Jezebel they paint their faces so as to seem young. They look out of the windows of palaces, and shops, and pleasure-houses, and sing to the guests, and travellers, and passers-by! Are you listening to the song? Are you running into the net? You will unless you can " endure us seeing Him who is invisible." That will change all! That will reveal something of the haggard misery which lies underneath the paint and glitter of the siren faces! That will make the lust of the flesh — pleasure, the lust of the eyes — wealth, and the pride of life — honour, seem as poor as they are. Then the allurement of evil things is strong sometimes just in proportion to the smallness of the evil that is in them. If the evil were more, the allurement would be less. As of old, the border line between different countries was the scene of frequent strife; the battle raging now here, now there, but never far from the border; so the border line between the right and wrong of actual life is the place where consciences are tested, where wills are put to the strain, where hearts long, and sigh, and tremble; where the battle of the good and evil powers is hottest, and where victory easily sways from side to side! But victory never passes from the soldier who endures and fights as seeing Him who is invisible; and, on the other hand, never sits on the plume of any one who does not see Him.
3. We shall endure when everything visible decays, changes, passes away. With Him if we live, with Him we shall die, and to Him in His fuller presence ascend; for "when flesh and heart fail, God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever."
(A. Raleigh, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.