April 8, the Twenty-Seventh Day of Lent

April 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible.

-Hebrews 11.27-

At this point in the chapter, the author of Hebrews begins a transition in the subject matter. While still speaking of Moses, he beings to speak of the events of the Exodus, when Israel left Egypt for the Promised Land. Of course, Moses played a large role in this as God’s handpicked leader for the Israelites. However, here our focus will slowly shift from Moses as an individual to the people of Israel as a whole. In Exodus 6.2-11.9, we can read Moses, Aaron, and the plagues in Egypt as Moses repeatedly asks Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go, and Pharaoh refuses every single time.

Yet, Moses constantly returned to Pharaoh’s throne room after each refusal, after every plague, and reiterated God’s request. How was he able to do this? Pharaoh was powerful; the ruler of the country, the monarch who was oppressing the Israelites. How could Moses remain steadfast against such a powerful figure?

The answer lies in the fact that Moses knew that God, YHWH, was greater and even more powerful. Exodus 3.1-4.20 tells the story of Moses’ calling at the burning bush and the miracles that God worked there. The language used by the author here is interesting; God seems to be invisible, but God and Moses speak as though they are face to face. (Numbers 12.6-8 sheds some light on this.) It is also interesting that in the burning bush experience, Moses did have a profound, life-altering experience with God. YHWH may be invisible, but he certainly was a strong reality for Moses. This is how Moses was able to challenge Pharaoh: he trusted God, whom he knew was greater.

The phrase, “the one who is invisible,” is a clear reference to God. This reference might take on somewhat of a different spin in our contemporary age. Where is God? It would be surely out of the ordinary to run into a burning bush on the way to work, or if you opened the faucet at your sink and blood came out. These things would certainly get our attention! Yet, we don’t have these kinds of experiences. Where is God?

The 18th-century author Novalis said this: “He who seeks God will find him everywhere.” We may not be “seeing” God as we expect, but this quote reminds us that God is waiting to be found. However, at times we will need to change our ways of looking for God and become more comfortable with seeing him in places that we did not expect. Today, think about how the invisible Almighty has shown up in your life. Think about the times that God surprised you with great joy that you didn’t expect; think about the times when he sustained you when you needed it. Remember the Almighty and give thanks.

As we journey through Lent together, may we see God in the invisible.

“Dear Lord, thank you for your actions, both great and small. Please forgive me for not taking the time to recognize you at work in situations and in other people; I ask that you would help me to see you, wherever you are. Help me to see your great works in my past for what they are, that my faith may be built in order that I may expect such things for the future. Amen.”

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