“He continued steadfast as seeing the One who is invisible.”—HEB. 11:27.
1, 2. (a) Explain why Moses appeared to be in danger. (See opening image.) (b) Why did Moses not fear the anger of the king?
PHARAOH was a formidable ruler and a living god to the Egyptians. In their eyes, he “surpassed all mundane creatures in wisdom and power,” states the book When Egypt Ruled the East. To inspire fear in his subjects, Pharaoh wore a crown with the image of a cobra ready to strike—a reminder that the king’s enemies would quickly be annihilated. Imagine, then, how Moses felt when Jehovah told him: “I will send you to Pharaoh, and you will bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”—Ex. 3:10.
2 Moses went to Egypt, proclaimed God’s message, and incurred Pharaoh’s wrath. After nine plagues struck the land, Pharaoh warned Moses: “Make sure that you do not try to see my face again, for on the day you see my face, you will die.” (Ex. 10:28) Before Moses left Pharaoh’s presence, he prophesied that the king’s firstborn son would die. (Ex. 11:4-8) Finally, Moses instructed every Israelite family to slaughter a goat or a ram—an animal sacred to the Egyptian god Ra—and to splash its blood on their doorways. (Ex. 12:5-7) How would Pharaoh react? Moses was not afraid. Why not? In faith he obeyed Jehovah, “not fearing the anger of the king, for he continued steadfast as seeing the One who is invisible.”—Read Hebrews 11:27, 28.
3. What will we examine about Moses’ faith in “the One who is invisible”?
3 Is your faith so strong that it is as if you could “see God”? (Matt. 5:8) To help us sharpen our spiritual vision so that we can see “the One who is invisible,” let us consider Moses. How did his faith in Jehovah protect him from fear of man? In what way did he exercise faith in God’s promises? And how did Moses’ ability to see “the One who is invisible” strengthen him when he and his people were in peril?
HE DID NOT FEAR “THE ANGER OF THE KING”
4. To the physical eye, what was Moses’ position before Pharaoh?
4 To the physical eye, Moses was no match for Pharaoh. Moses’ life, welfare, and future seemed to be in Pharaoh’s hands. Moses himself had asked Jehovah: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Ex. 3:11) Some 40 years earlier, Moses had fled from Egypt as a fugitive. He may have wondered, ‘Is it really wise for me to go back to Egypt and risk angering the king?’
5, 6. What helped Moses to fear Jehovah, not Pharaoh?
5 Before Moses returned to Egypt, God taught him a vital principle, the same principle that Moses later recorded in the book of Job: “The fear of Jehovah—that is wisdom.” (Job 28:28) To help Moses to acquire such fear and act wisely, Jehovah drew a contrast between humans and Almighty God. He asked: “Who made a mouth for man, or who makes them speechless, deaf, clear-sighted, or blind? Is it not I, Jehovah?”—Ex. 4:11.
6 What was the lesson? Moses did not need to be afraid. He was sent by Jehovah, who would give Moses whatever he needed to deliver God’s message to Pharaoh. Besides, Pharaoh was no match for Jehovah. After all, this was not the first time God’s servants had been in danger under Egyptian rule. Perhaps Moses meditated on how Jehovah had protected Abraham, Joseph, and even Moses himself during the reigns of past Pharaohs. (Gen. 12:17-19; 41:14, 39-41; Ex. 1:22–2:10) With faith in Jehovah, “the One who is invisible,” Moses courageously appeared before Pharaoh and proclaimed every word that Jehovah commanded Moses to speak.
7. How did faith in Jehovah protect one sister?
7 Faith in Jehovah likewise protected a sister named Ella from succumbing to fear of man. In 1949, Ella was arrested in Estonia by the KGB, stripped naked, and then gawked at by young police officers. “I felt humiliated,” she said. “Yet, after I prayed to Jehovah, peace and calmness of heart came over me.” Next, Ella was placed in solitary confinement for three days. She relates: “The officials shouted: ‘We are going to make it so that even the name Jehovah will not be remembered in Estonia! You are going to a camp, and the others are going to Siberia!’ Tauntingly, they added, ‘Where is your Jehovah?’” Would Ella fear men or trust in Jehovah? When interrogated, she spoke up fearlessly, telling her taunters: “I have given this matter much thought, and I would rather live in prison with my relationship with God intact than be free and lose his approval.” To Ella, Jehovah was just as real as the men standing before her. By means of her faith, she maintained her integrity.
8, 9. (a) What is the antidote to fear of man? (b) If you are tempted to yield to fear of man, on whom should you focus your attention?
8 Faith in Jehovah will help you to conquer your fears. If powerful officials try to restrict your freedom to worship God, it may seem that your life, welfare, and future are in human hands. You might even wonder if it is wise to continue serving Jehovah and angering the authorities. Remember: The antidote to fear of man is faith in God. (Read Proverbs 29:25.) Jehovah asks: “Why should you be afraid of a mortal man who will die and of a son of man who will wither like green grass?”—Isa. 51:12, 13.
9 Focus your attention on your almighty Father. He sees, empathizes with, and acts in behalf of those who suffer under unjust rulers. (Ex. 3:7-10) Even if you must defend your faith before powerful officials, “do not become anxious about how or what you are to speak, for what you are to speak will be given you in that hour.” (Matt. 10:18-20) Human rulers and government officials are no match for Jehovah. By strengthening your faith now, you can come to see Jehovah as a real Person who is eager to help you.
HE EXERCISED FAITH IN GOD’S PROMISES
10. (a) What instructions did Jehovah give the Israelites in the month of Nisan 1513 B.C.E.? (b) Why did Moses obey God’s instructions?
10 In the month of Nisan 1513 B.C.E., Jehovah told Moses and Aaron to convey these unusual instructions to the Israelites: Select a healthy male sheep or goat, slaughter it, and splash its blood on your doorways. (Ex. 12:3-7) How did Moses respond? The apostle Paul later wrote of him: “By faith he observed the Passover and the splashing of the blood, so that the destroyer might not harm their firstborn.” (Heb. 11:28) Moses knew that Jehovah is trustworthy, and he exercised faith in Jehovah’s promise to execute the firstborn sons in Egypt.
11. Why did Moses warn others?
11 Moses’ own sons were apparently in Midian, far away from “the destroyer.” * (Ex. 18:1-6) Yet, he obediently instructed other Israelite families whose firstborn sons were in danger. Lives were at stake, and Moses loved his fellow man. “Promptly,” the Bible states, Moses “called all the elders of Israel and said to them: . . . ‘Slaughter the Passover sacrifice.’”—Ex. 12:21.
12. Jehovah has instructed us to convey what important message?
12 Under angelic direction, Jehovah’s people are conveying an important message: “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of judgment by him has arrived, so worship the One who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and the springs of water.” (Rev. 14:7) Now is the time to declare that message. We must warn our neighbors to get out of Babylon the Great, so that they do not “receive part of her plagues.” (Rev. 18:4) The “other sheep” join anointed Christians in begging those who are alienated from God to “become reconciled” to him.—John 10:16; 2 Cor. 5:20.
13. What will nurture our desire to share the good news?
13 We are convinced that “the hour of judgment” has, indeed, arrived. We also have faith that Jehovah has not exaggerated the urgency of our preaching and disciple-making work. In vision, the apostle John “saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding tight the four winds of the earth.” (Rev. 7:1) By faith, do you see those angels poised to release the destructive winds of the great tribulation on this world? If you see those angels with your eyes of faith, you will be able to share the good news with confidence.
14. What moves us to “warn the wicked one to turn from his wicked course”?
14 True Christians already enjoy a friendship with Jehovah and the hope of eternal life. Yet, we recognize that it is our responsibility to “warn the wicked one to turn from his wicked course so that he may stay alive.” (Read Ezekiel 3:17-19.) Of course, we do not preach merely to avoid bloodguilt. We love Jehovah, and we love our neighbor. Jesus illustrated what love and mercy really mean in his parable of the neighborly Samaritan. We might ask ourselves, ‘Am I, like the Samaritan, “moved with pity” to give a witness?’ After all, we would never want to be like the priest and the Levite in the parable, excusing ourselves and going by “on the opposite side.” (Luke 10:25-37) Faith in God’s promises and love for neighbor will motivate us to have a full share in the preaching work before time runs out.
“THEY PASSED THROUGH THE RED SEA”
15. Why did the Israelites feel trapped?
15 Moses’ faith in “the One who is invisible” helped him when the Israelites were in peril after they left Egypt. The Bible reports: “The Israelites raised their eyes and saw the Egyptians pursuing them. The Israelites became terrified and began to cry out to Jehovah.” (Ex. 14:10-12) Was this predicament unexpected? Not at all. Jehovah had foretold: “I will allow Pharaoh’s heart to become obstinate, and he will chase after them, and I will glorify myself by means of Pharaoh and all his army; and the Egyptians will certainly know that I am Jehovah.” (Ex. 14:4) Nevertheless, the Israelites saw only what appeared to their physical eyes—the impassable Red Sea in front of them, Pharaoh’s swift war chariots behind them, and an 80-year-old shepherd to lead them! They felt trapped.
16. How did faith strengthen Moses at the Red Sea?
16 Yet, Moses did not waver. Why not? Because his eyes of faith saw something far more powerful than a sea or an army. He could “see the salvation of Jehovah,” and he knew that Jehovah would fight for the Israelites. (Read Exodus 14:13, 14.) Moses’ faith inspired God’s people. “By faith they passed through the Red Sea as on dry land,” the Bible says, “but when the Egyptians attempted it, they were swallowed up.” (Heb. 11:29) Thereafter, “the people began to fear Jehovah and to put faith in Jehovah and in his servant Moses.”—Ex. 14:31.
17. What future event will test our faith?
17 Soon, our lives will seem to be in peril. By the climax of the great tribulation, the governments of this world will have devastated and completely destroyed religious organizations that were larger and more numerous than ours. (Rev. 17:16) Jehovah prophetically describes our vulnerable condition as “the land of unprotected settlements . . . , unprotected by walls, bars, or gates.” (Ezek. 38:10-12, 14-16) With our physical eyes, it will appear that we have no chance of survival. How will you react?
18. Explain why we can be steadfast during the great tribulation.
18 We need not waver in fear. Why not? Because Jehovah has foretold that attack on God’s people. He has also foretold the outcome. “‘On that day, the day when Gog invades the land of Israel,’ declares the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, ‘my great rage will flare up. In my zeal, in the fire of my fury, I will speak.’” (Ezek. 38:18-23) God will then destroy all those who want to harm Jehovah’s people. Your faith in the outcome of “the great and awe-inspiring day of Jehovah” will help you to “see the salvation of Jehovah” and to maintain your integrity.—Joel 2:31, 32.
19. (a) How close was the relationship between Jehovah and Moses? (b) If you take notice of Jehovah in all your ways, what blessing will you enjoy?
19 Prepare now for those thrilling events by continuing “steadfast as seeing the One who is invisible”! Strengthen your friendship with Jehovah God through regular study and prayer. Moses had such a close friendship with Jehovah and was used so powerfully by him that the Bible says that Jehovah knew Moses “face-to-face.” (Deut. 34:10) Moses was an extraordinary prophet. By faith, however, you too can know Jehovah as intimately as you would if you could actually see him. If you constantly take notice of him “in all your ways,” as God’s Word encourages you to do, “he will make your paths straight.”—Prov. 3:6.