By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. (Hebrews 11:27, N.K.J.V.)
Moses was the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter. As such, he was Egyptian royalty. That’s not the kind of societal rank that one casually or logically abandons. No, if he was going to forsake Egypt, his motivation was going to have to come from his faith in the unseen Hebrew God whom his biological family served.
But how did Moses acquire that faith? While it’s true that his mother, Jochebed (Numbers 26:59), served as his nursemaid throughout the days of his weening (Exodus 2:1-10), there is no Biblical record of their relationship continuing once Moses officially became the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. To the contrary, what the Bible says is that Moses was raised as nothing less than Pharaoh’s grandson and that he was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians (Acts 7:21-22). As best we can tell, he didn’t even visit his brethren, the people of Israel, until he was forty years old (Acts 7:23). That was the day that he, for all intents and purposes, ended his life in Egypt by killing an Egyptian who was oppressing an Israelite (Exodus 2:11-15; Acts 7:23-29). Following that murder he was forced to flee to Midian and build a new life for himself there.
Perhaps during the three or so years when Jochebed was weening Moses, she was able to teach him enough about Israel’s God to stick with him in his adult years. Furthermore, it could have been that Moses continued to have some kind of a relationship with her, his father Amram, his sister Miriam, and his brother Aaron during the decades when he was enjoying life as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. We do know that at the age of eighty (Acts 7:30-34) Moses joined forces with his brother Aaron to take on Pharaoh (Exodus 4:10-17, 27-31), and since the Bible doesn’t describe the brothers needing to be formally introduced, that might imply that the family had kept up some type of relationship over the years.
Still, though, the question of what compelled Moses to initially forsake Egypt by killing that Egyptian is a good one. Acts 7:25 says that he supposed that his fellow Israelites would understand that he was attempting to become their deliverer. That fills in some of the gaps about why Moses did what he did, but the actual question of why he felt a burden to deliver the Israelites remains.
One thing that is irrefutable is that Moses met God, in the form of the Angel of the Lord, firsthand at that burning bush on the backside of the Midian desert (Exodus 3:1-6). That was an encounter to which the rest of us simply can’t relate. Whatever the drop was that first launched Moses’ trickle of faith in God, the meeting at the burning bush transformed that trickle into a mighty river. No matter what else would happen to Moses over the remaining forty years of his life (Deuteronomy 34:7), his faith in God would remain firm.
The takeaway for us in all this is that if you want to live victoriously for God, you must learn to see the invisible through eyes of faith. You must become heavenly sighted in order to do the most worldly good. While the masses live by the motto “Seeing is believing,” you must counter with, “No, believing is seeing.”
As the close to this post, I’ll offer an extended quote from Andrew Murray. In The Holiest of All, which is Murray’s commentary on the book of Hebrews, he talks about the indispensable role that faith plays in seeing the invisible God. May Murray’s words find a lodging place in our hearts and serve as a motivation for our deeds. He writes:
Here is the mighty power of faith; it sees what others cannot see. It sees, amid the thousand things others see and are guided by, something infinitely greater — it sees God. No wonder it leads a man to act different from other men. On everything it looks at, the bright light of eternity, of God, is shining. No wonder that under the inspiration of that Vision it can do mighty deeds, for it sees God as its helper and strength.
Let me here say to every believer that just as, in any pursuit, the eye by practice can be trained to see what others cannot see, so the eye of faith can be trained to see God everywhere. Abide in His presence till the heart is filled with it. Recognize Him in every thing that happens. Seek to walk in the light of His countenance. Seeing the Invisible will make it easy to forsake the world and do the will of God.