“What do we do? There’s nowhere to hide! They’re getting closer!”
The former slaves’ taste of freedom was so new they didn’t dare trust it. They had spent generations enslaved in Egypt, and though it was dreadful, it was familiar. They felt more comfortable with the predictable Egyptian taskmasters than with the God who led them into the wilderness.
Freedom was too good to be true, too wonderful to be believed. Though it was right in front of them, they couldn’t see it. They only saw the threat from their former oppressors and responded in fear.
“When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord” (Ex. 14:10).
When faced with the unknowns ahead, the Israelites complained to Moses that they wished he would have left them in slavery, “for it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness” (Ex. 14:12).
What the Egyptians saw shaped their beliefs. The same is often true for us. What we see influences what we believe. Our field of vision matters greatly.
FIELD OF VISION
Our field of vision is the entire area we’re able to see when our eyes are fixed in one position. The terrified Israelites’ field of vision was dominated by the charging army of Pharaoh, leaving no room for them to see anything else.
My field of vision is often dominated by sights I’d rather not see. My enemy taunts me with distracting sights. Unpleasant sights. Scary sights.
I envision myself trapped in sin, unable to break free from its hold. I watch my friend become saturated in success while my own work remains overlooked. I receive the news that God has taken a beloved from me, crushing my vision of life with her.
My enemy seeks my destruction by trying to consume me with visions of my life playing out in undesirable ways.
What I see has the power to influence what I believe. If my eyes are fixed on the scenes that play before me, I am an easy target for temptation. I am prone to panic. Like the Israelites, I am capable of great fear. It’s difficult to believe that God is good and that He’s my deliverer when my view doesn’t include him.
What we see matters.
A better vision awaits all who have the courage to seek the gaze of our heavenly father. When our vision is obstructed by the distracting sights before us, we need to change our field of vision. We must fix our eyes on Christ, and as we gaze on him, he will dominate our field of vision and we will be strengthened by what we see.
Our unbelief will be transformed into belief as we behold him.
Another man was on the shore of the Red Sea that day next to the fearing Israelites, watching the same events unfold. Moses wasn’t blind. He saw the same great army coming for him, but he was able to see something more. Something better. Something greater.
He saw the salvation of the Lord and challenged the Israelites to see it for themselves: “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again” (Ex. 14:13).
Moses saw the same thing the petrified Israelites saw, but the size of the army didn’t diminish his faith. Moses’ vision was dominated by the Lord and his salvation. He responded to the threat with faith in the God who held his attention. This stuttering man, who previously argued his weakness before the Lord and begged him to send someone else to lead the people out of Egypt (Ex. 4:1-13), pointed his staff at the magnificent body of water believing that God would somehow rescue them.
Moses obeyed God without fear, hesitation, or doubt. He boldly raised his staff and watched God part the waters for the Israelites to safely cross the dry seabed, surrounded by walls of water lovingly held up for them by their deliverer (Ex. 14:21-22).
Why was Moses able to obey so confidently?
Because he saw something better and believed. God transformed him from a reluctant leader to a man of vision. Moses saw more than an ocean before him and an angry army behind him. He saw the salvation of the Lord and led the people to it. Strengthened by this better vision, they took courage and walked across the dry sea, forever separating themselves from the charging army.
Regardless of the quality of our eyesight, there are times when we don’t see rightly. We only see obstacles and the things we can’t control. We see hopeless circumstances and our own insufficiency. Maybe we even see our enemy coming for us. Fixing our eyes on uncertain and despairing sights rouses our unbelief.
It’s in these times that we need better vision. Thankfully, we have a father who gives us something better to see. He opens our eyes to behold him.
Our father longs for our gaze. He delights to reveal the beauty of his son and display his glory to us. We were made to behold him. And as we behold, we become transformed “into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18).
The beholders are becomers.
The vision of the salvation of the Lord awaits those who behold their God. Fight for it—it’s yours. Tear your eyes away from whatever is dominating your vision today. Look to your beloved Savior who lived and died for you so you could have peace with God. Set your gaze on the incomparable beauty of Christ.
MEN AND WOMEN OF VISION
Moses saw the salvation of the Lord. What he saw shaped his belief. His faith in God’s salvation fueled his obedience. He lifted his rod and parted the Red Sea. Moses encouraged the trapped Israelites to see God’s salvation, and what they saw shaped their beliefs. Their faith gave them the courage to walk across the dry seabed.
What about you? Do you see the salvation of the Lord in your own life? Pray for God to open your eyes so that you may see him (2 Kings 6:17). Beholding God transforms our unbelief into belief. Our vision of him gives us the courage to step out in faith for him.
Anyone can easily become consumed with the sights before them. But as believers, we must be men and women of vision, a people whose gaze is constantly heavenward. Aim your eyes at God. See his rescuing grace today and behold the salvation of the Lord!
When our gaze is steady on our king, we won't fear the enemy's advance. We'll be too busy shouting, “Look, our king is coming for us! See the salvation of the Lord!”
May the beauty and power of Christ flood our field of vision.
Christy Britton is a wife and mom of four boys. She is an orphan advocate for 127 Worldwide and writes curriculum for Docent Research. Her family worships at Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. She writes for several blogs, including her own, http://www.beneedywell.com/. You can follow her on Twitter.