God Seeing Us, and Our Seeing God.

Hebrew 11:27.

1866 78 "For he endured as seeing him who is invisible."

If you compare this with an expression in Genesis 16, I think the force of both is made much more distinct. "And she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also hero looked after him that seeth me?" In the one case Moses sees God; in the other, although Hagar looks after Him, it was God that saw her. We are apt in everything to look at the lower end of the truth, to content ourselves with the scantiest portion that can sustain us.

Now Hagar did not really go beyond this. She was the bondwoman: she knew nothing of the liberty of grace. She might look after God, but what she reached was this, "Thou God seest me." Now the simple consciousness that God sees us, never goes beyond the knowledge either that He is a Judge noticing our ways to deal with them, or, at most, that He is a guardian to protect in the hour of difficulty and danger. But love, liberty, rest, joy in God, are never known through the bare truth that God sees us. No one denies it to be a truth; but what I must maintain is that, as believers, we are entitled to the further and more precious privilege of seeing God, of seeing Him who is invisible. This was, in the principle of it, what sustained the heart of Moses. Hagar did not endure. She ran away; she was protected, she was brought back, she was finally expelled from the house of Abraham and Sarah, and the child of flesh along with her. It was the bondage of the law that was set forth by her. Now the law does bring out this — that is to say, God seeing man, God occupying Himself with man, God dealing with man, God judging man, yet God, it may be, showing mercy to man, as we see in Exodus 34. But communion with God there never is nor can be, till there is the consciousness that grace reigns. Not that the law is weakened, dissolved, or destroyed; not that its authority is touched. It is not so that God brings us into the place of liberty; that would be to set the ways of God against His sovereign grace. But the believer is brought out of the region where law applies — out of the scene of death, and darkness, and bondage, into the place of light: he is brought to God. There is no law in the presence of God. Law deals with flesh in the world. If I am in the place of flesh and of the world, I must be under law or I shall be lawless. The Christian is neither the one nor the other; but he is brought in peace, by the grace of God, unto God. He endures, not because God sees him, but because he sees God. He endures "as seeing Him who is invisible." He endures, he knows God in Christ, he has rest in His presence, for he knows Him whom He has sent, and "herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." This is what He has done and what law could not do, for it has no propitiation to give. It may demand, but it has nothing to give: it waits to receive, and it receives the deeds, alas! of darkness, of fear, of feebleness; it can only receive whatever poor man's conscience may offer, trying to make his peace with God. But grace makes the peace by a gift of His own love, gives the peace that it has made through the blood of Christ's cross, and brings into the consciousness of the love of Him who has suffered all for us. And therefore, instead of our being afraid of Him and avoiding Him, instead of its being a sort of guess-like way of wondering, doubting where it may end, fearing what it may bring, endurance is the word for us.

This is the portion of the Christian, this is what characterizes him. It is enduring "as seeing him who is invisible." We know in whom we have believed; we know that we have eternal life. "We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true; and we are in him that is true, even in his son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life." We endure "as seeing him who is invisible." And so it is all the way through. The new life is fed, nourished and strengthened by faith," while we look not at the things which are seen:" — such are the things which flesh has to do with and law deals with. But we look not at these things, but "at the things that are not seen; for the things that are seen are temporal; but, the things which are not seen are eternal." So, again, to the life itself. The law dealt with a man as long as he lived. We begin with the confession that we are dead; and now we live in an eternal life. "And the life which I now live in the flesh" — not merely in heaven, but in this world — is "by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." There is no uncertainty here: whatever may be the practical testimony we bear to Him, there is no weakness nor failure in Him who is our life. There is endurance, but for us it is as seeing Him who is invisible.

The Lord strengthen our faith!