Summary: This message shows how Elijah, Moses and Stephen remained faithful in spite of all that was against them because they could see beyond the things of this world to those things that are invisible to the world.
BIBLE MESSAGES ON EASTER
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Annual Sermons: Vol. 2 Sermon 19
Bob Marcaurelle: 1988 Hebrews 11:27
SEEING THE INVISIBLE
One thing sadly lacking in our day is a sense of optimism and joy. In this age of material extravagance most people view life as a prison sentence. Like convicts they mark off one weary day after another. One nineteen year old girl, before taking her life, left a suicide note which said, “I am tired of trying to find ways to fill up empty days.”
The great men and women of the Bible went beyond existing to living. Like us they faced problems. They carried burdens. They lived with broken hearts and broken dreams and impossible tasks and unanswered questions. Hebrews eleven pictures people who were tortured and murdered but refused release because they looked for a better resurrection (Heb. 11:35-38). Like Moses “they endured BY SEEING HIM WHO IS INVISIBLE” (Heb. 11:27).
Today we look at some Bible characters who saw God in the midst of their trials or tests and seeing Him, found the strength to overcome.
I. MOSES: THE TEST OF DISCIPLINE (11:23-28)
Our first example is Moses. By seeing the invisible he met and passed the test of discipline, what the Bible calls chastisement. We must all, somewhere along life’s road, drink the cup of sorrow. We all encounter the cutting edge of pain, the wear and tear of tasks beyond our strength, the burden of trouble, the crumbling of dreams, the intrusion of fierce temptations.
Such was the life of Moses. See him first as he faces the discipline of waiting. The people of God, under the lash and heel of Egypt, cried to God for deliverance. But no answer came. The mighty young warrior Moses, trained in the house of Pharaoh, but with Hebrew blood in his veins, longed to lead his people to freedom. He killed an Egyptian slavedriver with his bare hands. Such was the stuff of which this young Hercules was made. The all consuming passion of his soul was - “I must set my people free!” And what did God say to him - “Moses, you must wait! This is not my time!”
Moses responded with obedience and spent forty years waiting in the desert for God’s time to come. How easy it would have been for him to shake his fist in the face of God and accuse Him of not really caring. How easy for him, in the impulsiveness of youth, to strike out on his own and leave God behind. How easy it is for us to be impatient and like Habakkuk accuse God of not caring (1:2).
How long will God allow Isis to keep on trampling the innocent? How long will He listen to our prayers and allow pornography and crime to strangle our nation? How long will He let the church play her silly little games and go unrevived? How long will He make me carry this personal burden and seem insensitive to my cries? We all know the harsh discipline of waiting.
Moses also had to face the discipline of active temptation. The text says he “chose to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, esteeming the riches of Christ greater than the treasures in Egypt.” He was tempted, like us, to snatch what little pleasure he could from life, and ignore the sufferings of others. Haven’t we done just that? We preach and practice non-involvement? We watch our color TV’s and forget those people who make less money than we spend on car payments.
The world has made no angry cries of protest over the two million helpless people who have been slaughtered by the Communists in Cambodia. Like the German people, who closed their eyes to what Hitler was doing to the Jews, we act like nothing has happened. We have chosen not to suffer the affliction that comes from involvement. We feed ourselves from the hog trough of Egypt, on fine clothes, expensive cars, superb homes and lavish lives.
One of England’s selfish, spoiled Queens, when she was told her subjects were starving, responded, “Let them eat cake.” This is the spirit of our day.
But, thank God, it was not the spirit of Moses. He passed the two tests of discipline. He waited upon God’s time. He wielded God’s power and spent a total of eighty years in that desert, the last forty as the leader of Israel. He turned his back on the color TV’s, the brick homes and the good life of Egypt. He paid the price but he won the prize. He delivered his people. He walked with God. He went to his grave a champion.