Friday, April 22, 2011

Fly like an Eagle and Soar for Your Savior

Background: The eagle in scripture is an unclean bird (Lev. 11:13). It also is listed as a bird of prey in Job 9:26. The Lord Jesus Himself said in Matthew 24:28 that the eagle is an unclean bird. So the eagle as such is not a symbol of God. But certain characteristics and certain parts of the eagle are used as a reference to Deity. The prophet Ezekiel refers to the face of an eagle in his vision of God (Ezk. 1:10). The apostle John also refers to an eagle in his vision in Revelation 4:11.

Jeremiah speaks of the eagles wings as being swift (Jer. 4:13). In 2 Samuel 1:23 When David heard of the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, he spoke of them as being, “swifter than eagles and stronger than lions.”

The Greek word for eagle is “aetos” which means, “to blow as the wind or to become one with the wind.” It is amazing that out of nearly ten thousand species of bird, God chose the eagle wings as the illustration of deliverance, discipline and dependence. I would like to look at these three things as they are set out for us in three passages.

I. Deliverance (Ex. 19:3-6). We see Salvation by Grace, but Salvation with a Purpose. They were in bondage in Egypt. They were slaves and on a human level there was no hope for their deliverance. God reminds them of how He delivered them. How he first delivered them by blood on that dark night when the death angel pass over Egypt in judgement. Those that had the blood applied to the doorpost were saved. God could say, “When I see the blood I will passover.” When they stood with the Red Sea in front of them and the Egyptians behind them God delivered them by His power. Then He delivered them when there wasn’t any water or food. He carried them on eagle’s wings to salvation. It was out of complete grace. He was not obligated to deliver them. He heard their groaning and saw their situation and reached down in loving mercy. He brought them out on eagle’s wings and would continue to do so if they would cleave to Him. It seems in this passage that they exchange that grace for the Law. Many people do this today as well. This is unfortunate because we live in a day when God saves by grace, not by the law. What a contrast there is between law and grace.

The Law demands--------grace gives.
The Law says, “do”--------grace says “believe.”
The Law exacts---------grace bestows.
The Law says, “work”------grace says, “rest.”
The Law threatens and pronounces a curse----grace entreats, pronounces a blessing.
The Law says “Do and you shall live”----grace says “Live and you shall do.”
The Law condemns the best man----grace saves the worst man.

Just as taking your blood pressure can not cure heart trouble the law can not save anyone. Just as an x-ray doesn’t cure cancer or looking in a mirror doesn’t clean the dirt off your face. These things are diagnosis, not cures. The law is not a cure for sin, it is the diagnosis that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The wages of that sin is death, but the cure is that the gift of God is eternal life!

An old poem says, Run, run and do the law commands, but give me neither feet or hands. Better news the gospel brings. It bids me fly and gives me wings.”

The gospel brings us out on eagle’s wings, its all grace, God’s wonderful, matchless, great grace. Grace that is greater than all our sin!

II. Discipline (Deut. 32:11) This is God Supplying and providing what is needed. This is after the 40 years in the wilderness. An eagle will go to the highest point of a cleft to build its nest. Then it will lay its eggs. The eggs hatch and about 3 ½ weeks they little eagle’s are ready to venture out in the world. But they still don’t know how to fly. To help them learn to fly the mother eagle does some thing that seems cruel. First, it stirs up the nest, stirs up the little eagles. Then it destroys the nest and then the hardest thing to under stand; they push those little eagles off the cleft. This is to teach them to fly. The little eagle starts to plummet down to its sure death. But the mother eagle will swoop down and lift the little eagle up on its wings and carry it. They repeat this training process until the little eagle learns to soar in the air.

God disciplines those He saves. Discipline means, “to train.” God in His grace disciplines us. As Christians we are called to live above the valleys of this world. We are called to live above the mountain peaks of human effort. We are to be caged in some religious system of man, we’re called by grace to liberty (Jn. 8:32, 36, 2 Cor. 3:17). Have you ever seen an eagle in a cage at a zoo? It just doesn’t seem natural, an eagle is meant to fly high above the earth. The Christian is called by grace to soar high above this earth and anything man made. According to Titus 2:11-12 we are to live higher than the law could ever have taken us.

Just as the eagle breaks up the nest, from time to time our nest will have to broken up when we become too comfortable. Adam & Eve after they sinned, Abraham’s nest was broken up in Hur of the Caldeas. Moses’s nest in Egypt and David’s nest in the fields as a shepherd boy had to be broken up. James and John had a successful fishing business and Saul of Tarus had a religious nest that had to be broken up. Whether we have a family nest, a business nest or even a religious nest they may have to be broken up in order for us to move out of our comfort zone to be able to truly fly for the Lord.

The eagle would also push the young right off the cleft in order to help it fly. The Lord does this at times in order to train us (Mt. 14 is a good example of this). The eagle will soar down and lift the little up until it learns to fly on it’s own. The eagle really doesn’t fly on it’s own at all. What happens is it that it relies on the wind currents to carry it. It becomes one with the wind. This is a picture of the Christian who is empty of self, detached from this world, living on a higher plain. Soaring high of every thing, becoming one with the wind. The wind in scripture is often a picture of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4, Jn. 3:8). Just as the eagle really doesn’t fly on it’s own ability neither can the Christian fly on his or her own strength or abilities! We must depend on the guiding and strengthen power of the Holy Spirit to fill us and lead us to heights above. We are instructed to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18) and this should impact every area of our lives. It will effect the way we fly for Christ! It will determine whether we sink or soar!

III. Dependence (Is. 40:29-31). This is our Soaring with Patience & Confidence. There are at least four things that seem to characterize the eagle:

1. Soaring or quick flight, the way it soars high up in the heavens.
2. Sight or keen vision. The human being has some two hundred thousand visual receptors per square centimeter in our eyes; eagles have 1.6 million receptors per square centimeter. Eagles could read three inch high letters on a billboard one mile away, or the could see a small fish jumping out of the water five miles out to sea!
3. Powerful Scent.
4. Incredible Strength, an eagle weighing about 20 pounds would have enough strength in its talons or claws to break both of the bones in a man’s forearm by merely grasping it firmly. Surgical needles were modeled after the eagle’s claws. They are specially designed to piece flesh and not tear it.

I would like to suggest from these verses that the Lord is looking these in our lives. These four things will happen when we wait on the Lord. But before we look at the four things it might be good to ask ourselves what does it mean to wait on the Lord? The word wait here mean to “entwine ones self around.” This is when we are occupied with Him, enjoying Him, learning from and of Him. This will refresh and renewal ours lives and result in four things:

1. We will gain a New Power. We not only get refreshed, but we gain new strength. This really connects back to verse 29.
2. We get a New Perspective. They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They are able to see things they never could from down here. This might speak of a believer enjoying all that the Lord has for him!
3. We receive New Provided Energy. They shall run and not be weary, This emphasizes two things:
a) The laying aside of anything and everything that would slow us down (Heb. 12:2).
b) Running not in our own energy, but in the energy of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5).
4. We will gain New Perseverance. Our determination to persevere will deepen. They shall walk and not faint. This has the idea of a constant and consistent walk for Christ. This is one who keeps on keeping on. It is those who are walking in the power of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5). Those who are walking in the unity, purity, love, light and wisdom of Ephesians 4-5. It is those who are walking worthy of the calling in which they have been called (Eph 4:1) and who desire to walk worthy of the Lord fulling pleasing Him (Col. 1:10).

These four things are the result of waiting on Him. It is His desire for each of us to fly like an eagle, to soar high in the heavens as believers. It has often been said, “that it is hard to fly like an eagle when your floundering with the turkeys.” May the Lord help us to look back; remembering how carried us on eagle’s wings, our deliverance and salvation. May we not resist His discipline and training when He stirs up our nests. And may we be found waiting in dependence on Him in order to fly like an eagle.

I would like to leave us with one last verse found in Proverbs 30:18-19. The sight of an eagle soaring high up in the air is too wonderful, to amazing. This mystery is as beautiful and wonderful as the Lord’s way with each of us. May He help us to fly like an eagle and to soar for our Savior for His glory.

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