As an eagle

To clarify God’s dealings with Israel, Moses wrote, “He (Almighty God) watches over His nest like an eagle and hovers over His young; He spreads His wings, catches him and lifts him up on His pinions. The Lord alone led him, with no help from a foreign god.” Deuteronomy 32:11-12.

Let’s look at some characteristics of an eagle.

Notice the first action of the eagle. "An eagle watches over her nest." When her young have matured to the point where they are able to learn to fly, the eagle stirs the nest, making it just as uncomfortable as possible and shaking the eaglets loose to force them to accept the challenges of flight more readily.

As the eagle must stir up the nest to dislodge the young who will not of their own accord fling themselves out into space, so the Lord must stir up our nest to free us from the easily acceptable comforts and securities which we enjoy – so that we may see and accept the challenges of a closer fellowship with Him.

However, the eagle does not simply shake the eaglets loose and then leave them to learn the art of flying on their own. She flies over the nest, giving her brood practical examples to follow, and protecting them. "An eagle … hovers over her young."

Is there any better parallel to the Lord's training of us? He never stirs us loose merely to cause grief or ruin, nor does He leave us without example. If the Lord has stirred your nest, dislodged you from your comfortable rut, keep your eyes wide open for His training example.

Thirdly, "an eagle … spreads her wings." This speaks of the eagle's self-sacrificing protection for her brood. Many writers have indicated that if danger seems imminent the mother bird will place herself in a position to receive the enemy's onslaught before her young are attacked.

There are few pictures which reveal more of the Lord's care and protection for us. Certainly we are aware of this care in the physical realm. Everyone can point to at least one particular event in his life when the Lord demonstrated His protection unmistakably.

But beyond this, in the spiritual realm, the Lord has placed Himself again and again between us and our soul's enemy to keep him from destroying our spiritual life. When he attacked at our weakest point, when failure seemed inevitable, the Lord Himself hedged us in under His protection.

Finally, "an eagle … catches them, lifting them up on her wings." It has long been noted that when a young eagle is learning to fly and for some reason, be it lack of strength or lack of confidence, it suddenly flounders in air, the parent will dive under the young one and spread her wings, offering support to the infant bird.

What a peace-giving promise this is! As we can expect the Lord's stirrings, as we can look to Him for a guiding example, so we can trust for His speedy and sufficient support in time of weakness and failure.

We may not always understand all the Lord is doing. He will provide an example, a call, which we cannot follow in ourselves. Yet He will not desert us. Rather He has promised to be our ever-present help. Why then do we hesitate to follow Him?

The Lord dealt with Israel in this eagle-like manner — stirring them loose from the comfortable nest in Egypt, leading them through the vast wilderness, protecting against their numerous enemies, always providing His strength, His support — in order that Israel might follow the Lord alone. None of the attachments of Egypt, none of their own strengths, none of their own abilities, was to be their god; the Lord alone was to be God.

His purpose has not changed. When we would become too attached to the nest of this world He stirs us. When we would wonder how or where to follow, He provides an example. When we would be overcome by the enemy He protects us. When our own strength is insufficient He supplies His — all for one purpose: that Christ alone would be our God.

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