When you find yourself in a situation where you feel trapped, overwhelmed or perhaps very unhappy it can be easy to develop tunnel vision. From the moment you decide you have to get out of the situation, that there must be something more, something better on the other side, you will do anything to reach it.
It is a very human feeling often represented well in novels and TV. Anyone who has seen the excellent series ‘Deutschland 83’ will remember the moment our main character, undercover on the other side of the Berlin Wall, feels he simply must tell the girl he cares for who he really is. He imagines a loving, honest and idealistic state of life which can be reached if only he takes this giant step. It becomes an overwhelming urge, one that robs him of a sense of caution or reality. Like many of us may have done he succumbs to the feeling of desperation piling up in his head. But of course when he reveals himself to her and she does not share his tunnel visioned view there are horrendous consequences.
When we look at today's passage of the Israelites escaping years of slavery and torture in Egypt it doesn’t really compare to young love even in very dangerous times. Though it does perhaps share an element of tunnel vision.
“Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.” (v30) Their freedom has already had unpleasant consequences, the death of many people. Will this new life in the desert be worth it?
We have the luxury of knowing what comes next when the tunnel vision dissipates. They roam the desert, they complain, they even suggest that it was better to be a slave. But in time their world moves on and they come into a new place with new hopes.
Although this tunnel vision can have unintended consequences, it is so very human. Just think what would happen if people never risked things to change their situation. TV plots would not move forward, people would not grow, and the Israelites might still be in Egypt.
Help us to keep you in our vision of the future,
please help us to grow and find your path,
to take risks with you,
and please care for those around us as we do it.
19 The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. 20 It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night.
21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. 22 The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. 23 The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. 24 At the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. 25 He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, ‘Let us flee from the Israelites, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.’
26 Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.’ 27 So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea. 28 The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. 29 But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.
30 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.