Exodus 14:31 “And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.”
The Hebrews had just exited the land of Egypt and trekked across the Sinai desert toward the Promised Land. On their way, they camped at a spot where God told them to do so, and right behind them was the best cavalry of the Egyptian army led by Pharaoh. In an awesome display of power, God created a channel in the sea allowing His people to cross over to the other side and escape being captured by the Egyptians. The army, seeing their quarry passing over to the other side, decided to follow their prey through the middle of the sea only to find the walls of water on both sides of them to come crashing down upon them and drowning them all. Israel had been saved while Egypt sank to the bottom of the sea. Their bodies later washed upon shore and could be seen by all Israel. At this mighty act of God, the Hebrews feared Him and chose to put their trust in Him and His servant, Moses.
This statement of putting their trust in God only after witnessing His delivering power is a very sad statement of the Hebrew people. Why do I say that? Because later on we will learn of how this entire generation of God’s chosen people, those aged 20 years and older, will die off in the wilderness of Sinai and never step foot in the Promised Land, save Caleb and Joshua. This people reportedly placed their faith in God but only after witnessing His power. They based their faith on signs rather than believing in God, as did Moses. They exemplified our modern adage, “I’ll believe it when I see it” or “Seeing really is believing.” There is no faith in these words. Anyone can “see” to “believe.” But, what about those who put their trust in God because they take Him at His Word?
Jesus spoke to Thomas, the doubter, after the resurrection and told him to observe (see) His nail-scarred hands and pierced side. To touch Him and believe. However, Jesus also told him that even more blessed are those that don’t “see” with the natural eye and believe. Thus, there is a hint in Jesus’ words that some people may be saved through a weaker faith that comes from seeing and believing, but there is a greater blessing for those who believe without seeing. Further evidence of such “sightless” faith occurs in Hebrews 11, where the author states, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (v. 2) and again, “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” v. 6). Even in our account of the Exodus from Egypt, the author of Hebrews in chapter 11 tells us, “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.” Moses trusted (put his faith) in the One who is INVISIBLE.
Let us heed the words of the Savior through His servant, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Notice that faith does not come by sight but through hearing. Even the prophet Habakkuk and the apostle Paul said, “the just shall live by faith.” Again, elsewhere, Paul said, “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). Therefore, we can correctly conclude with assurance of good doctrine that faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God by which we live and not by what we see. The ancient Hebrews would have done well to hear the Word of God from Moses and believed rather than having to seek signs, which only perverse people do, as Jesus said. Accordingly, because of their unbelief, they died off in the wilderness.
Father, I can only come to You BY FAITH, for it is by Your grace THROUGH FAITH that I am saved. I have to believe BY FAITH in You, the One who is invisible. I cannot see You because You are Spirit. I can see Your handiwork, but so does the whole world that sees and does not believe. Thank You for giving me the gifts of grace and faith and eternal life, for whosoever believes on Your Son, Jesus, will not perish but have eternal life. I am most grateful that You have bestowed upon me Your love, grace, mercy, and compassion. I thank You for loving me enough to save me. Without faith, I cannot please You. Help me to always place my trust in You and to walk BY FAITH and not by sight, for when I walk BY FAITH I am in the Spirit and will not fulfill the desires of the flesh that come through the lust of the EYES, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.