“With Wings of a Great Eagle”
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Last week while teaching from Revelation 12:13-17 I made reference to:
"...the woman was given two wings of a great eagle..." (Vs. 14)
This is Old Testament symbology speaking of God's loving care and protection for His people.
On further reflection, there is much more teaching from the Bible on "eagles" and how we should understand them from God's Word, and lessons we can apply to our lives as believers.
Many of us have received peace and strength during difficult times from this familiar verse:
But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
Eagles are a biblical symbol of strength:
"Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits....who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles."
(Ps. 103:2, 5)
Let us now see how eagles reflect on our spiritual walk, and how we can "soar with eagles."
I. The Eagles Nest
"Does the eagle mount up at your command, and make its nest on high? On the rock it dwells and resides, on the crag of the rock and the stronghold. From there it spies out the prey; Its eyes observe from afar. Its young ones suck up blood; And where the slain are, there it is."
The eagles nest exemplifies how we grow into spiritual maturity.
For the eagles, their nest is not only a nursery, but their school also.
- The nest's location.
- Eagles build their nests in the most secure location -- on the face of cliffs.
2. The nests construction.
- Large branches, tightly woven, extremely strong.
- Big (up to 1,000 lbs.), comfortable, lined with leaves and feathers.
3. Feeding in the nest.
- The mother hunts and feeds the eaglets.
- The father "baby-sits."
4. Teaching in the nest.
This is a beautiful scene from nature about how the Lord cares for the birds of the air, as well as us.
Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
The example of the eagle’s nest should be a picture of our Christian lives initially, but not forever.
Remember the nest is a place of feeding and schooling only, not a lifelong home for eaglets or baby Christians.
There are parallels between the eaglets in the nest and believers in Christ.
Once the eaglets reach a certain size and maturity, the mother returns to the nest without food and just "hovers" over the nest.
She is demonstrating to her young that those appendages on their backs have a purpose - to fly.
Eaglets were meant to fly, but they don't yet know it.
Unfortunately, many Christians don't know it either!
If an eaglet is separated from its parents, it will never learn to fly, it will just grovel around in the dirt like a turkey or chicken.
Eagles have to be taught, as do children, by their parents.
So, the next teaching the eaglets receive is how to fly by being pushed out of the nest!
Of course, they can't, so the mother swoops down and catches them on her wings and deposits them back in the nest.
This process happens again and again until the eaglet learns to fly.
Is the mother cruel? No, she pushes them out, but they never hit the ground. Tough love at its finest.
Next, the mother eagle tears out the middle of the nest so the eaglets must leave home.
She knows they will never truly fly as long as they stay home in the nest.
Once again, the Bible tells us all about the process:
As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings,
So is the Lord God like an eagle to His children.
God's plan is to mature us, we were meant to fly. He often stirs up our "nest," our world.
He didn't make us to languish in comfort.
We're created in God's image:
Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
We were made to fly, and train our children to do the same.
It seems at times we forget we're made to fly, so God reeducates us by pushing us out of the nest!
Maybe in your Christian experience, you've felt you were falling, your life is heading for disaster.
If you've walked with the Lord for a while, He's probably had to push you out of the nest many times.....
It's our nature to be complacent, not wanting "to fly" or grow in Him.
Often, we blame trials and tribulations on Satan. Often it is his doing, he is a predator after all.
But remember, Satan tempts you to sin and destruction, but God tests you for growth.
There are times when God will destroy "the nest" when we put our confidence in the securities we've built.
I've experienced this in my life, many times God had to throw me out of the nest so I would fly. And when I failed, He swooped down at the last minute to save me, usually after I finally learned the lesson.
God knows our comfortable lives can be an anchor, keeping us from growth, from flying, even from feeding ourselves in Him.
When we become so dependent on our possessions, financial resources and pride, God is prepared to destroy "our nest."
When this happens, we may think God has abandoned us, we wonder where He is, we feel ourselves falling and think maybe He doesn't care for us anymore.
The Lord simply wants us to discover underneath His wings are His everlasting arms!
Other times, however, He wants us to learn that He is our protection and provision --
- Not our bank accounts.
- Not our jobs.
- Not our home or possessions.
- Not our nation.
- Not our health.
But in the Lord God alone!
Israel learned this lesson in the wilderness. After God brought them out of Egypt, He fed and clothed them.
They complained about the care He provided and He reminded them at Mt. Sinai:
'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself.
Soon after, He "kicked them out of the nest" and wanted them to fly.
But they refused "to fly" and as a result wandered in the desert 40 years until they learned "to fly" (obedience).
I pray we will learn from Israel's example, but I fear we won't and will also wander in the wilderness.
II. The Eagles Flight
The example of the eagle’s flight should teach us how to soar and not just fly. How to catch the wind of the Spirit so we can have the strength to soar.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
Actually, eagles don't fly like other birds with the flapping of their wings.
Eagles have an inborn ability to sense the wind. When the wind comes, he just lets go and is taken aloft on the wings of the wind.
Most birds don't fly during storms, but an eagle loves to fly in a storm. The wind takes them higher and higher.
Eagles have been seen at 15,000'. They have the ability to lock their wings in position and ride the wind effortlessly.
It seems this is what the Lord wants for us also. Not to be afraid to soar in the storms of life.
"...those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will SOAR on wings of eagles..."
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for wind is "rawach," the same word is used for "spirit."
The Spirit of God is called the "rawach" of God.
In the New Testament, "pneuma" is the Greek word for wind and also for spirit.
In Latin, "spiritus" is translated as "wind" or "breath" or "spirit."
Soaring in the Spirit is the most mature type of Christian life.
These folks are the type of believers who serve God joyously.
They are ready "in season and out of season" (2 Tim. 4:2)
They understand the Lord's command:
Love God, love others.
Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
The difficulty for us in learning to be "eagle Christians" is learning to wait on the Lord:
"Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him..."
Learn to wait until we catch the wind of His Spirit, and then soar in Him.
Find out what God is doing and follow Him.
"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
The Lord Jesus did this, He never acted on His own, but only in the Father's will.
Then Jesus answered and said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.
The Lord Jesus never acted independently, never on His own. Christ saw what God was doing and moved in His Spirit.
To be "eagle Christians" we must develop the ability to sense the motion of the Spirit and refuse to move without His leading.
When we try to move in ministry, or even in life, without the Spirit, we are easily exhausted, our health can even fail, we just don't have the strength required, but:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Wait on the Lord and the wind of the Spirit will renew our strength so we can "....soar on wings of eagles."
It's interesting, the eagle is the symbol and spirit of America, or at least it used to be. Now maybe we should change it to the chicken or the turkey as the nation now grovels in the dirt!
III. The Eagles Eyes
The eagle sees things that others cannot, even other birds.
An eagle can see a field mouse from 1,000', or even fish under water, and then dives and gets its prey.
Does the eagle mount up at your command, and make its nest on high? On the rock it dwells and resides, on the crag of the rock and the stronghold. From there it spies out the prey; Its eyes observe from afar.
If we "soar with the eagles" and have eagle like vision, seeing truth from afar, we will not be blinded by the lies of the world or its prince.
Truly, our lives will be a challenge to the values of the society around us, and people won't understand our decisions and life.
Have you ever heard:
"You mean, you really like to go to church, and read your Bible?" etc.
Especially if they knew you before you knew the Lord Jesus.
Things that preoccupied you before, and were so important to you, aren't anymore.
"Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full into His wonderful face..."
"And the things of this world will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."
Helen Hawarth Lemmel, 1922
The "Hall of Faith" in Hebrews describes a peculiar people who had this vision:
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
IV. The Eagles Death
The eagle reminds us in his method of dying to be ready to face the Son in death.
Eagles have a premonition when it comes time for them to die.
They leave their nest and fly to a rock, fasten their talons on the rock and face directly into the rising or setting sun, and die looking straight into the sun.
I've seen a couple of Christian eagles die; Brother Marty, whom you know and Dick Slater, some of you know.
There was no fear, only joy and peace, as they looked into the face of the Son, their feet firmly planted on The Rock, Jesus Christ, their Lord and Savior.
V. The Eagles Birth
To be an eagle, you have to be born an eagle.
To be a Christian, we have to be "born again," it's as simple as receiving Christ as Lord:
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Jesus told Nicodemus:
"...most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
The word of God is clear, we have to receive the freely given gift of God, our salvation.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We must simply receive it, it is never forced on us, God is a "Gentleman."
If you have not received this gift by your own free will, today is the day:
For He says: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
(2 Cor. 6:2)
Introduction to Part II Chapter thirteen continues the interlude between the sounding of the seven trumpets and the outpouring of the seven bowl judgments of God's wrath on unrepentant mankind. In chapter fourteen John's vision will show us the time of the end, where...
Introduction Chapter thirteen continues the interlude between the sounding of the seven trumpets and the outpouring of the seven bowl judgments of God's wrath on unrepentant mankind. In chapter fourteen John's vision will show us the time of the end, where God pours...