“As An Eagle”
“As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings; so the Lord alone did lead him.” (Deuteronomy 32:1l-12)
Like other creatures of our God, the eagle not only appears to show great affection for her young; but manifests tremendous superiority over other winged creatures in taking care of her brood. She provides for them and protects them, as other birds of the air do. But, in training them, she constantly shelters them from danger, far more than other birds do their young. The Lord our God seems to have created her with such excellence, that she might be illustrative of his affection for, tender care of, and protection of his children.
John Gill wrote, “Of all animals the eagle is most affectionate to its young, and most studiously careful of them. When it sees anyone coming to them, it will not suffer them to go away unpunished, but will beat them with its wings and tear them with its nails.”
“She stirreth up her nest.” — Though they might be naturally inclined to do so, the eagle will not allow her young to be lethargic. She stirs her nest, calling them to life and excitement. As she stirs her nest, she “fluttereth over them,” over her young. The eagle does not go into her nest suddenly. She first makes a noise and awakens her chicks with her wings, striking them against a tree or its branches. Being awakened, they receive her gladly, without fear.
On Her Wings
She “spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings.” — In this way she both teaches them to fly and protects them. Other birds carry their young in their talons. Held in their claws, the young might be easily snatched away and killed by some bird of prey. If someone from the ground should shoot at the bird, her young might be killed and the bird herself unharmed. But the eagle carries her young on her wings, so that no arrow from beneath can touch the young, until it has first pierced the heart of the old bird.
So the Lord
“So the Lord alone did lead them.” — What a precious word this is to us! What a picture this is of our God’s tender mercy toward us in Christ! Our great God, “the God of all grace,” by the irresistible power of his Holy Spirit, stirs up his nest. He will not allow his children, chosen, redeemed sinners, to remain as they are born into this world. He would not allow us to sleep forever in the unawakened state of sin and death. He has brought us out of our unregenerate state of death.
We were at ease and had no desire to be awakened and stirred out of our death slumber. But the Lord our God, because of his great love for us, awakened us, stirred us up, and brought us out, by sending a gospel preacher in the power of his Spirit to arouse us. He sent his law into our consciences, working in us a sense of guilt, wrath, and death. By his Spirit, revealing Christ in us, he convinced us of our sin, of Christ’s righteousness, and of judgment finished. Exerting the omnipotent power of his grace, he plucked us as brands out of the burning. Taking us up on his omnipotent wings of mercy, he teaches us to fly with heart aspirations after him, setting our hearts upon Christ and things above.
He has led us and fed us all the days of our lives. He has, as it were, hovered over us, though we knew it not, from our mother’s wombs. Even now, he causes us to “mount up with wings as eagles,” to soar aloft in the exercise of faith, hope, and love, entering within into the veil, into the holiest of all by the blood of Christ, living in the constant and comfortable expectation of “the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” He lifts us up from our low estate and raises us in sweet communion with himself, bearing us on his heart, in his hands, and on his arm, supporting us in all our temptations and afflictions and carrying us through all our troubles and difficulties, safe to eternal glory and happiness.
The eagle will usually lay three eggs, but normally only hatches and rears one, devoting everything to its chosen. So the Lord our God has chosen One, even our Lord Jesus Christ, as his Elect; and, blessed be his name, he has chosen us in him and as one with him. Though all the rest of Adam’s fallen race are left to themselves, as the unhatched eggs in the eagle’s nest, our great God and Father devotes himself entirely to his chosen!
Let every ransomed sinner rejoice and give thanks for this sweet, comforting word of grace from our God. — “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings; so the Lord alone did lead him.” Christ, our God and Savior, has born and still bears us upon eagles’ wings. He stirred us up and brought us to himself. He will not allow any of his little ones to perish. It is written, “he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.” While on his omnipotent wings of mercy, nothing can touch us until it first touches him. Nothing can harm us, until it first harms him. Nothing can destroy us, until it first destroys him! How safe, how secure we are on his wings!
After commenting on this portion of Scripture, Robert Hawker made the following supplication to our God. Blessed are those whose hearts echo his prayer. “Oh Lord, give me grace rightly to enjoy and use such marvellous blessings. And since, to the wisdom and strength of the eagle, thou hast now added the tenderness and solicitude of the hen, do thou, Lord, gather me under thy wings, and nourish me with thy love and favor, that I may be thine for ever, and live here by faith, as hereafter I hope to live with thee in glory.”