“He continued steadfast as seeing the One who is invisible.”
1, 2. (a) Explain why Moses seemed to be in danger. (See opening picture.) (b) Why did Moses not fear the anger of the king?
PHARAOH was a powerful ruler, and the Egyptians worshipped him as a god. The book When Egypt Ruled the East says that to the Egyptians, he was greater than any other earthly creature “in wisdom and power.” Pharaoh wanted the Egyptians to fear him, so he wore a crown with the image of a cobra ready to attack. This image was a reminder that the king’s enemies would quickly be destroyed. So imagine how Moses felt when Jehovah told him: “I will send you to Pharaoh, and you will bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
2 Moses went to Egypt and told Pharaoh about God’s message. That made Pharaoh very angry. After Egypt was punished with nine plagues, Pharaoh was so angry that he 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.” (Exodus 10:28) Moses left, but before that, he prophesied that the king’s firstborn son would die. (Exodus 11:4-8) Moses then told every Israelite family to slaughter a goat or a male sheep and to splash its blood on their doorways. The male sheep was a sacred animal to the Egyptian god Ra. (Exodus 12:5-7) How would Pharaoh react? Moses was not afraid of Pharaoh’s reaction. Why not? Because he had faith and obeyed Jehovah, “not fearing the anger of the king, for he continued steadfast as seeing the One who is invisible.”
Is your faith so strong that it is as if you could “see God”?
3. What questions about Moses’ faith in “the One who is invisible” will we discuss?
3 Is your faith so strong that it is as if you could “see God”? (Matthew 5:8) To strengthen our faith so that we can see “the One who is invisible” as a real Person, let us discuss the example of Moses. How did his faith in Jehovah protect him from fear of man? How did he show that he really believed God’s promises? And how did seeing “the One who is invisible” strengthen Moses when he and his people were in danger?
HE WAS NOT AFRAID OF “THE ANGER OF THE KING”
4. When Moses appeared before Pharaoh, what may those without faith have thought?
4 Those without faith may have thought that Moses was powerless against mighty Pharaoh. Moses’ life and future were in Pharaoh’s hands. Even Moses himself asked Jehovah: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11) About 40 years earlier, Moses had run from Egypt as a fugitive. He may have wondered, ‘Is it really a good idea for me to go back to Egypt and risk making the king angry?’
5, 6. What helped Moses to fear Jehovah, not Pharaoh?
5 God taught Moses an important lesson before he returned to Egypt. Moses later wrote about that lesson in the book of Job: “The fear of Jehovah
Pharaoh was powerless against Jehovah
6 What was the lesson? Moses was sent by Jehovah, so he did not need to be afraid. God would give Moses the power to tell God’s message to Pharaoh. And this was not the first time God’s servants had been in danger in Egypt. Perhaps Moses remembered how Jehovah had protected Abraham, Joseph, and even Moses himself from other Pharaohs who ruled in the past. Pharaoh was powerless against Jehovah. (Genesis 12:17-19; 41:14, 39-41; Exodus 1:22–2:10) Because Moses saw “the One who is invisible,” he courageously went to Pharaoh and told him every word of Jehovah’s message.
7. How did faith in Jehovah protect one sister?
7 Faith in Jehovah also protected a sister named Ella from giving in to fear of man. In 1949 she was arrested in Estonia by the KGB. They took all her clothes off, and then young police officers stared at her. “I felt humiliated,” she said. “Yet, after I prayed to Jehovah, peace and calmness of heart came over me.” Then Ella was left alone in a small, dark cell for three days. She says: “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 was not afraid to tell them: “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.” Jehovah was just as real to Ella as the men standing in front of her. She remained loyal to Jehovah because she had faith in him.
With faith in God, you can overcome fear of man
8, 9. (a) What do you need in order to overcome fear of man? (b) If you are tempted to give in to fear of man, what should you keep clearly in mind?
8 If you have faith in Jehovah, you can overcome your fears. If the authorities try to stop you from worshipping God, it may seem that your life and future are in their hands. You might even ask yourself: ‘Is it really a good idea for me to continue serving Jehovah and to make the authorities angry?’ Remember: With faith in God, you can overcome fear of man. (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?”
9 Keep your almighty Father clearly in mind. He sees all those who suffer because of unfair treatment. He feels compassion for them and helps them. (Exodus 3:7-10) Even if you have to defend your faith to 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,” the Bible says. (Matthew 10:18-20) Human rulers and officials are powerless against Jehovah. If you strengthen your faith now, you can see Jehovah as a real Person who is eager to help you.
HE HAD FAITH IN GOD’S PROMISES
10. (a) What instructions did Jehovah give the Israelites in the month of Nisan 1513 before Christ? (b) Why did Moses obey God’s instructions?
10 In the month of Nisan 1513 before Christ, Jehovah instructed Moses and Aaron to tell the Israelites to take a healthy male sheep or goat, slaughter it, and splash its blood on their doorways. (Exodus 12:3-7) Although the Israelites had never done that before, the apostle Paul later wrote that Moses had faith and “observed the Passover and the splashing of the blood, so that the destroyer might not harm their firstborn.” (Hebrews 11:28) Moses knew that Jehovah’s promises would come true, and he had faith that all firstborn sons in Egypt would die.
11. Why did Moses warn others?
11 Moses obediently warned other Israelite families whose firstborn sons were in danger, even though his own sons were apparently in Midian, safe and far away from “the destroyer.” (Exodus 18:1-6) * (See footnote.) Because Moses loved his fellow man, he quickly “called all the elders of Israel and said to them: . . . ‘Slaughter the Passover sacrifice.’”
12. What message has Jehovah told us to preach?
12 With the help of the angels, Jehovah’s people are announcing this 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.” (Revelation 14:7) We must preach that message now. We must warn our neighbors to get out of Babylon the Great, that is, false religion, so that they do not “receive part of her plagues.” (Revelation 18:4) Anointed Christians, with the help of the “other sheep,” beg people to become friends of God.
13. What will help increase your desire to preach the good news?
13 We are convinced that “the hour of judgment” has arrived. We are also convinced that the preaching work is just as urgent as Jehovah says it is. In a vision, the apostle John “saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding tight the four winds of the earth.” (Revelation 7:1) Do you see those angels ready to release the destructive winds of the great tribulation on this world? If you see those angels with your eyes of faith, you will feel confident about preaching the good news to others.
14. Why do we want to “warn the wicked one to turn from his wicked course”?
14 We already have a friendship with Jehovah and the hope of eternal life, but we also understand 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, this is not the only reason why we preach. We preach because we love Jehovah and because we love our neighbor. In his illustration of the Samaritan, Jesus taught us to understand what it really means to show love and mercy. We might ask ourselves: ‘Am I like the Samaritan, or am I like the priest and the Levite? Am I always willing to give a witness, or do I make excuses not to preach to others?’ (Luke 10:25-37) If we have faith in God’s promises and love for our neighbor, we will want to do our best in the preaching work before it is too late.
THE ISRAELITES “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 danger after they left Egypt. The Bible says: “The Israelites raised their eyes and saw the Egyptians pursuing them. The Israelites became terrified and began to cry out to Jehovah.” (Exodus 14:10-12) The Israelites should have expected this situation. 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.” (Exodus 14:4) Despite Jehovah’s warning, the Israelites had no faith. They could see only the Red Sea blocking the way in front of them, Pharaoh’s war chariots approaching quickly behind them, and an 80-year-old shepherd leading them. They felt trapped.
16. How did faith strengthen Moses at the Red Sea?
16 Moses was not afraid. His eyes of faith saw something much 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 strengthened and encouraged God’s people. The Bible says: “By faith they passed through the Red Sea as on dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted it, they were swallowed up.” (Hebrews 11:29) After that, “the people began to fear Jehovah and to put faith in Jehovah and in his servant Moses.”
17. What future event will test our faith?
17 Soon, our lives will seem to be in danger. By the time Armageddon begins, the governments of this world will have destroyed religious organizations that were much more powerful than ours. (Revelation 17:16) In a prophecy, Jehovah says that we will be defenseless, like a “land of unprotected settlements . . . , unprotected by walls, bars, or gates.” (Ezekiel 38:10-12, 14-16) Those who do not have faith in Jehovah may think that we have no chance of survival. How will you react?
18. Explain why we can remain strong during the great tribulation.
18 We do not need to be afraid. Why? Because Jehovah has foretold not only that his people will be attacked but also that he will save them. “‘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.’” (Ezekiel 38:18-23) God will destroy all those who want to harm Jehovah’s people. If you have faith that Jehovah will protect you during his “great and awe-inspiring day,” you will be able to “see the salvation of Jehovah” and remain strong.
19. (a) How close was the relationship between Jehovah and Moses? (b) If you obey Jehovah “in all your ways,” what blessings will you have?
19 Prepare now for those thrilling events by continuing “steadfast as seeing the One who is invisible”! Become a closer friend of Jehovah by studying and praying regularly. Moses had a close friendship with Jehovah and was used so powerfully by him that the Bible says that Jehovah knew Moses “face-to-face.” (Deuteronomy 34:10) Moses was an extraordinary prophet. If you have faith, you too can have such a close friendship with Jehovah that it will be as if you could actually see him. If you obey him “in all your ways,” as God’s Word tells us to do, “he will make your paths straight.”