By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.
I would like to draw your attention this morning to something that is mentioned many times in the Bible, and it is the matter of perseverance or endurance. For example, we are told about Moses in Hebrews 11:27 ‘he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.’ Paul also exhorts Timothy to: ‘endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.’
As we are seeking to live our lives at this very difficult time, we need perseverance to be patient and endure the various discomforts and restrictions we are experiencing. That is easier said than done!
For Christians, the Bible teaches us that it is often in very adverse and disagreeable circumstances that endurance is developed. This seems like a paradox but explains why God sometimes thrusts us into situations when we feel that we are not equipped to meet them. We can find ourselves being thrown in at the deep end and crying out with pain and sometimes even terror: “O God, help me!”
The astonishing thing is that God is strong enough to resist the natural impulse in His heart to take us in His arms and comfort us. This explains why sometimes when we are under pressure, He does not comfort us as we think He should. It is not because He does not care, but because He knows that by not comforting us at that point, He is imparting some granite and steel into us.
The Apostle James by saying ‘knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience (perseverance)’ (James 1:3) is teaching us that the very conditions into which God places us are the very factors which produce perseverance in us. It is this which puts calibre and strength into our faith. Muscles grow strong through hard work and exercise, and trials and tribulations make us durable and enduring. You put ‘temper’ into steel by putting it into the fire, and the fire takes away the brittleness and makes it difficult for the steel to break. That is what we need as Christians.
We are told of Caleb in the Book of Joshua that he wholly followed the Lord and when he was eighty-five years old, he was crying to God: “Give me this mountain!” In a literal sense this was a challenge and a hazard so far as Caleb was concerned, because there were giants there; but the point to be made is our great difficulties can be tackled and overcome when we wholly follow the Lord.
What is the mountain of difficulty that we are facing and what is our attitude to it? We may be looking for ways round it, or we do not know what to do, or perhaps we even feel like beating a retreat. But it is open to us also to say the same as Caleb: “Give me this mountain!” and if we dare to do so, then Caleb’s God will not fail us.
It was said of Mallory and Irving, those climbers who were lost on Everest many years ago – “When they were last seen, they were still climbing!” May the Lord make us the kind of people who will persevere and endure to the very end.
With great expectations,