Friday, December 16, 2016

Eagle's Wings

The eagle is the symbol of America, soaring high and strong above the forest, lake and mountain. We are excited to see the king of birds watching the water for fish from a towering pine or from hundreds of feet above, circling the rapids. They sit in granite and cement, wood and steel, painted and drawn on walls everywhere. Oh yes, how many times have you seen them etched on a muscular arm, right next to some girl’s name and a heart. How many teams, businesses, cities and parks are named “Eagle?”

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 faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31). I used to have this verse embroidered on a Bible cover that was stolen out of my car after shattering the windows. So much for the strength of eagles to protect me. Exodus 19:4 tells us where this strength originates. “You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles wings and brought you to myself.”  It is God who carries us to safety so we do not perish. “In the desert he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him 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 on its pinions. The Lord alone led him; no foreign god was with him” (Deuteronomy 32:10-12). What an image of an eagle taking care of its young, including gently forcing it out of the nest to fly on its own. Ezekiel spoke of his vision of heaven and the creatures around the throne of God. There were eagle-faced creatures with wings, following the Spirit’s commands.

The eagle symbolizes God; the psalmist in 103 portrays God’s benefits of forgiving sins and healing all our diseases, while filling us with His love and compassion. “Who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:1-5).

In Revelation John describes the creatures around the throne again to be like flying eagles. In Revelation 12 he speaks of how the “woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of…” (Revelation 12:14).  This is speaking of Christ.

When you see the eagle think God.  The Bible often uses metaphor and personification to speak of God so that we can better imagine His strength or power and beauty. The images are everywhere. In fact, several weeks ago as I drove to work I passed a huge landfill. Three eagles were sitting on the limbs of a huge dead tree near the dump waiting for rodents to emerge for their breakfast. They were probably only a few yards away. It reminded me that God is very near and shows up where we don’t expect Him. He is soaring above in our victories and in the garbage dump of our lives with us. But most importantly God can be within our hearts leading and strengthening each of us.  Make the eagle more than a symbol, but the center of your heart.

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