The eagle in flight is a sight to behold! Its wings can be 2 metres across and it has been found flying 10,000 feet up in the sky. When hunting, an eagle can fly up to 120 mph and when diving for prey this can reach 200mph!
The speed of eagles is mentioned many times In the Bible. Saul and Jonathan were described as being “swifter than eagles.” (2 Sam. 1 v 23). Was this on foot or on horses? Pursuers were described as be-ing as fast as eagles in Lamentations 4 v 19 and Jeremiah 4 v 13. Proverbs 23 v 5 says: “Cast but a glance at riches and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.” Job used eagles to describe the speed at which time flies (Job 9 v 26).
The eagle is used to signify the Lord’s judgement through an enemy nation. “Their horse-men come from afar. They fly like an eagle swooping to devour the young of your live-stock.” (Habakkuk 1 v 8).
Job 39 vs 27-30 talks about God’s authority over nature; “Does the eagle soar at your command and build its nest on high? It dwells on a cliff and stays there at night; a rocky crag is its stronghold. From there it looks for food; its eyes detect it from afar.” Eagle-eyed indeed!
Moses expands on this theme, in a song that is recorded just before he died in Deut. 32 vs 10-1. In this, he recognises God’s care. “He (God) shielded him (Moses) and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft.”
In order to teach her eaglets to fly, the mother eagle makes what was previously a warm, cosy nest, uncomfortable. She stirs it up. She hovers, flapping her huge wings over the nest looking down on her young. Once the young are ready to fly, with strong affection, yet knowing what is best, she encourages her offspring to leave the nest. She teaches by example, showing them how to flap their wings and coaxes them, nudges them to jump from the nest. Then the eaglets make the leap of faith into the unknown and find that they can fly!
For what reasons might God make something uncomfortable for you? Is he nudging you towards something where he wants you to spread your wings and fly?
Moses’ song implies that the mother eagle, flying below the eaglet is present in case the youngster tires or finds it too hard to continue flying. If needed, she rescues it by catch-ing it on her back. She is the reassurance, the safety net. She will keep it from falling.
The eagle is used as a sign of God’s rescue, care and deliverance for the people of Israel.
Moses relayed God’s message to them in Exodus 19 v 4; “You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.’ The rescue of God’s people from slavery and persecution in Egypt uses the picture of the strength, speed and protection of eagles. The same concept has been used in films such as Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” when the heroes, having fulfilled their quest, were trapped on a burning volcano with no way of escape. Two eagles were sent to bear them away on their backs. Similarly, eagles remind us of Jesus, who rescues his followers from certain death and carries them heavenward at the end of their earthly lives. “I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself”.
Is there anything you need God to rescue you from?
Isaiah 40 vs 29-31 says this: “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
The soaring eagle shows great energy and strength as it beats its powerful wings to take it upwards to catch the air currents. The eagle encourages us that we can rely on God’s strength when we are weak and powerless, “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” We can carry on and keep going when we need to, knowing that at our time of weakness, when our wings tire of flapping and we feel spent, the promise is that God will give us strength. God’s grace will help us to soar upwards towards God – he will “lift up our souls.” (Ps 25 v 1)
So, the eagle, one of the most powerful of birds, is speedy and strong. It rears, protects and teaches its young, nudging them to leave the nest, carrying them on its back, sup-porting them in their weakness. The mother eagle knows that the eaglets need to fly to nest, to mature, fend for themselves, stand on their own two feet, be independent and reach their potential. We have much to learn from eagles – whatever stage we are at in life, we can trust God.
Be reassured that God will strengthen you when you need it – simply ask for His help.