God promises to deliver and the fact that He yearns to deliver, and the greater fact that He is able to deliver, should make us rejoice greatly.
In this scripture God is showing us that we can’t depend upon man to deliver us but that we need to depend upon the Lord for help and strength to live the Christian life.
"They that wait upon the Lord..." (instead of on others or on ourselves) "...shall renew there strength and mount up with wings like eagles."
He gives strength and power to His people and helps them by enabling them to help themselves. He will help the willing, those who, in humble dependance upon him, help themselves, and those who do their best.
This morning I want us to look at God’s method of developing eagle type of Christians.
I have been fascinated by eagles all my life. Every time I run across anything that has to do with eagles I read it. My office has eagle things in it. This is not my first message about this mighty bird.
In the scriptures, God has likened His people to many things. For example, they are described as being like branches on a vine, trees by a river, lights on a hill, sheep, salt, runners in a race, wrestlers, soldiers, and as our text in Isaiah implies - eagles.
In this teaching we are going to focus our attention on some facts that I've gathered about the eagle's way of life, and from them, discover some spiritual truths that will aid us in becoming "God's Eagle Christians."
Before we get into God’ s Eagles we need to realize the frailty of the human life.
He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youth shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: Isaiah 40:29-30
A time to be born, and a time to die. Ecclesiastes 3:2
From the time you took your first breath you began to die. The older I get it seems the faster time is going by.
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. James 4:14
Man is only on a stage of life and the play is over before he knows it.
We are called upon to live but one day at a time. The only absolutely sure prediction we can make is that most of our predications will be wrong. We do not know what the future holds but we do know who holds the future. As we live through this life that has been given to us by Almighty God we find that we are unable in our own selves to find strength to make it day after day. If we learn to wait on the Lord, He will give us power to make one day at a time.
But they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.
God chose an eagle as the bird to symbolize the Christian. I'm really glad that it's the eagle and not one of the other birds that God chose to identify us with. He could have likened us to a variety of other birds if He had so desired, and rightly so, because we display many of their characteristics.
Take the chicken for example. I know something about chickens. As a child, I remember the time when we had chickens. I'm glad God said we are to become like eagles and not chickens.
Let me give you some chicken facts to show you why.
- Chickens are crowd followers. If a chicken sees a bunch of chickens running across the chicken yard, he will take off after them. It doesn't matter that he doesn't know where they are going or why they are going there. He follows along because he doesn't want to miss out on anything the majority is doing.
- Chickens just naturally "squabble and fight" over things in the chicken yard. If one finds a nice juicy bug to eat, suddenly they all want it. They will chase each other all over the chicken yard, trying to take it away from another. They are funny that way. They can walk all around a bug or a grasshopper and not pay any attention to it, but the moment one decides he wants it, at that moment, they all decide they want it and the chase is on.
- Chickens go through what is called molting time (losing their feathers). Many times when this happens other chickens peck them until they are all bloody. (Reminds me of some church folks.)
- They have no interest in the heavenlies. They are content to live in the chicken yard, walking around with their eyes on the ground, scratching in the dirt looking for something to eat. Most of them will never try to fly. They are earthbound birds. Oh, they will act like they want to fly but at the best they can only fly a little ways.
I think you can see now why I'm convinced that living the chicken life can never compare to living the eagle life. Chicken living is so limited - so confining - so predictable and so boring. However, living the eagle life - that's another story.
When we hear the word "eagle", our minds envision an eagle soaring in the atmosphere, effortlessly riding the wind currents high above the earth; majestic in appearance. He is king of the sky, master of his domain. With keenness of eye, he spies his prey and swooping down to earth with tremendous speed, and sharp strong talons set, it snatches up its meal and soars back to its nest to feast.
- Reach speeds of over 150 miles per hour
- Soar to heights of 1/2 miles
- Dive at speeds of 200 miles per hour
- Glide at altitudes of over 2,500 feet
- 7 foot wing span
- 12 pounds in weight
- Keen eye sight - can spot a rabbit at 2 miles
- 270 degree peripheral vision
- Acute depth perception
- It's strength enables it to carry well over it’s own body weight.
For centuries the eagle has been recognized as the king of the birds. It's image has been reproduced on coins, seals, emblems and flags. God, in His Word, tells us that of all the birds of the air, it is the eagle that His people are to be identified with. He is calling us to be "spiritual eagles."
With this in mind, I want to share some eagle facts you may not be aware of. As we examine the eagle's way of life, let us think of ourselves as being the eaglets of the Father Eagle, that is God, and that He desires to accomplish in our lives what the eagle parents are trying to accomplish in their offspring's lives.
Facts about the eagle family:
- The female eagle is bigger and stronger than the male.
- Eagles mate for life till death parts them.
- Both parents sit on the eggs, guard the nest, feed and also train the young.
- To the eagle, raising a family is a responsibility that belongs to both parents.
Now, I have a question I need us to think about. Does God expect less from His family? I don't think so.
A description of a newborn eaglet is almost like describing a newborn Christian: born with its eyes and mouth wide open. It sort of looks like a mouth that's been attached to a bunch of fuzzy feathers. The parents are kept busy keeping that mouth filled because the eaglet has an insatiable desire for food. The eaglet knows when it opens its mouth, Dad and Mom Eagle are going to fill it with good things.
Now Jehovah Father Eagle is like those eagle parents with His eaglets. He tells His eaglets in Psalms 81:10, "I am the Lord thy God which brought you out of the land of bondage. Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it."
Folks, I've spent most of my Christian life going around with my mouth wide open, and I like what God the Father Eagle puts into it.
Just as Mother and Father Eagle know what baby eagles need to eat to grow, much more does God the Father Eagle know what His eaglets need to grow on.
If ye then being evil know how to give good things to your children, how much more shall your Father in heaven give good things to them that ask Him. Matthew 7:11
The word "eagle" means "one feeding with the beak."
What a wonderful type of God feeding His own by the words from His mouth. Just as the natural eaglets depend and live on the food received from the parent eagle's mouth, so likewise, God's eaglets depend and live on the food from His mouth.
Man shall not live by bread alone, buy by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4
Our Heavenly Father is Jehovah Father Eagle who feeds His eaglets from the food of a heavenly menu.
In the eagle world it's a fact that eaglets subsist only on eagle food. Nothing else will take the place of eagle food. It enables them to grow, mature and become strong. Without the proper diet, the eaglets will grow weak and sickly and eventually die. So it is in the world of God's eaglets. You and I are to feast on God's eagle food if we are to grow and become strong mature eagles of God. Anything else - anything less and we too will grow weak and die spiritually. We must have the eagle diet of God's Word.
Why do you spend money on that which is not bread [eagles food]? Hearken diligently unto me and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Isaiah 55:2
Sometimes, as God's eaglets, we do not practice the eating of the Word of God. We become very "picky" about our food. I know some people, and no doubt you do too, that have put together their own revised version of the Bible. It is comprised of only their own favorite verses that contains positive confessions and positive promises. It's void of any verses that confront, condemn, or challenge their private theology.
The ones I know like this have never grown or matured in their Christian walk. They are still diaper Christians who have refused to be weaned from the milk of the Word even though some are forty years old in the Lord. The meat of the Word chokes them.
Now I love babies. I think they are all beautiful. I love little toddlers too. It's great to watch them crawl and waddle around at 6 to 18 months of age, exploring their world. I think we all enjoy that time of their lives. (But it is so nice to be able to send them home when they get fussy.)
Nobody thinks it's cute when a person remains a baby for too long. If a child never learns how to walk or talk; if he never figures out how to feed himself; if he never outgrows his need for diapers - that's a sign something is terribly wrong. I had a cousin who lived to be in her fifties who never got out of her playpen. She never became an adult mentally, only physically. If your baby stops growing to maturity, you would call it a tragedy. If your teenagers were still acting as immature as they did before turning five, you'd be on the phone looking for professional help. Why? Because although we love babies, we expect them to eventually grow up.
God is no different. He doesn't want any of His children to remain baby-like forever. He wants His children to grow-up.
Let me take you back to the newborn eaglet. What a life the newborn eaglet has been born into. The parent eagles have built a comfortable nest high up on the rocky crags; safe from all enemies. Snuggled under the parent's protecting wings, every move of the young ones are watched. Every need is supplied.
Psalm 91 speaks of this scene with these words; "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the almighty. He shall cover thee with His feathers and under His wings shalt thou trust."
Life in the nest to the young eaglet is so wonderful. It's mouth opens and is filled at it's request. The nest is so cozy and so comfortable. "This is the life," thinks the eaglet. "I could stay here forever."
Ah! but there's something important that the young eaglet is soon going to discover. And that is this: Eagles are born to fly! They are meant to soar to heavenly heights; to breath a heavenly atmosphere. It's inherent in them. Their very nature demands it. It has been placed there by God. The eagle tendency is to mount up.
I witnessed an example of this a number of years ago while visiting the eagle habitat here in Arkansas. One of the exhibits was an eagle that had been confined in a cage of closely positioned wire. Someone had shot at him and broken one of his wings. By his actions you knew he wasn't happy about being caged and didn't want to be there. He was putting up quite a fuss about it. Time and time again he would fiercely flap his wings and throw himself against the sides of the cage seeking to free himself. It was a pathetic, pitiful sight to behold. I watched him walk proudly back and forth in the cage. He seemed to be saying. "I don't belong here. Up there is where I belong." Deep inside him was the urge to mount up and soar into the heights above. The sky was beckoning to him and he wanted to respond, but he couldn't. He wanted to do what eagles were meant to do. He knew he wasn't meant to be earthbound but was made to soar the heavenlies.
Just as it is with earthly eagles, so it is with God's spiritual eagles. We too were made to experience heavenly heights in the spirit. To spread our wings of faith and ride the heavenly winds of the Holy Ghost. It's inherent in us. Our new nature, as believers, demands it. It's placed within us by Father God. As eaglets of God, there is an inborn tendency in us to mount up and soar to spiritual levels we've never experienced before.
If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above. Set your affection on things above. Colossians 3:1-2
He hath made us sit [soar?] together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2: 6
Have you soared lately? That's what eagles do and God is calling us to be His spiritual eagles. It's true that chickens and eagles are both birds, but a chicken is an earth bound creature. It can flop and fly a little, but it can scarcely get its feet off the ground. This is not true of the eagle.
I'm reminded of the story told of the farmer who while walking one day, found an eagle egg. He took it to the hen house and placed it under a setting hen who had several eggs under her. In time, all the eggs hatched and out of the shell of that eagle egg came, to her way of thinking, the oddest looking chicken she had ever seen, with the oddest voice she had ever heard. When the other chicks chirped, this one would screech. When the mother hen clucked, all but this ugly one would come running. There simply seemed to be no understanding between them. They spoke two different languages. So, because he was odd, all the others picked and pecked at him. Of course, he was odd. He was an eagle who was trying to live the chicken life.
One day while he was in the barnyard, a huge shadow passed over him. It was Father Eagle soaring high above. Father Eagle looked down and saw the little eaglet. Seeing it was one of his own kind, Father Eagle swooped down giving a loud screech. The young eaglet looked up. Father Eagle said to the eaglet, "What are you doing down there? You're not a chicken, you're an eagle. Eagles aren't made for barnyard living. The heavens are your domain. Come up here."
Now the little fellow wondered what to do. Up to now the barnyard had been home to him, but he really hadn't been happy there. He just didn't seem to fit in with barnyard living. All of a sudden the truth of who he was hit him. He discovered his true identity. Father Eagle had given it to him. He wasn't a chicken. He was an eagle. Down deep inside him he felt the urge to respond to Father Eagle, but when he tried, he couldn't seem to get off the ground.
Father Eagle screeched again, "Just make a jump and flap your wings. You can fly if you try." The little eaglet made a feeble jump, flapped his wings and landed on top of the barnyard fence post. Father Eagle screeched again, "Child, jump higher, try again. Make the jump and I'll sweep under you and carry you on my wings."
Little Eaglet did what Father Eagle asked him to do, and Father Eagle did what he said he would do. A mighty jump of faith and Little Eaglet was riding on Father Eagle's wings on his first solo flight into the heavenly realm.
Christians we are called to be God's eagle Christians, but many have been content to live the chicken life, confined to barnyard limitation in their spirit.
A barnyard to the believer is any attitude, any mind set, any lifestyle that restricts us from being or accomplishing all that God has purposed for us to be or do in life. Our barnyard is that comfort zone we like to live in because it makes no demands of us that will challenge us to change.
Jehovah Father Eagle calls to us in our barnyard, and challenges us to spread our wings of faith and come up higher. Some respond and get as high as the barnyard post and settle there feeling like they've really accomplished something. But they need to make another jump of faith and set their wings in the promises of God's Word and let the wind of the Holy Ghost lift them up.
As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: Deuteronomy 32:11
Let me briefly share with you the parent eagle's method of training their young to fly. The mother eagle watches until the eaglets in the nest are fully feathered. When she thinks they have matured sufficiently she begins to "stir the nest". With her strong beak she will start tearing out everything in the nest that makes it soft and cozy for her young. She removes all the padding of rabbit fur and animal skins, making the nest so uncomfortable and miserable her little ones don't want to stay in the nest any longer.
She then begins the process of helping them develop strength in their wings. She hovers near the nest and begins flapping her wings furiously. As they watch her do this, the little eaglets will begin to imitate the mother by flapping their wings also. They seem to know that this is what they are supposed to do. Just before she takes her eaglets out on their first solo flight, she will perch on the edge of the nest over her young and inspect them. Noticing that they have loose feathers sticking out all over them, she knows they must first be removed if the little eagles are ever to fly. So she begins to beat her wings, causing a mighty blast of wind to blow upon the eaglets. Soon all the loose feathers have been blown from them and they are ready for their flying lesson.
Let me pause for just a moment and ask you these personal questions. Are you identifying with the little eaglets "stirring of the nest" experience? Lately, have you found yourself experiencing the discomforts of the stirring of your nest? Is there an awareness that something just isn't right, but you're not sure what it is? Is your comfort zone being threatened and are you a person who doesn't like changes? Are you uncomfortable and worried about it? Have you considered that just maybe it's God stirring your nest? That it's His way of telling you that you've stayed in the nest too long and that He doesn't want His eaglets to be nest dwellers all their life. It's too confining - too limited - and too "ho-hum."
God doesn't want His eaglets to be nest sitters. They were meant to fly. Sometimes God has to tear up our nest to get us in the air.
Have you experienced the strong winds of the Holy Spirit's convicting power blowing into your life recently? Has God been dealing with you about the "loose feathers" in your life? Has He been speaking to you about things in your life that affects your spirituality and drags you down? Things that you know you should be taking action on, but are neglecting to do? Look up! Be encouraged! It is your Jehovah Father Eagle working in your life to help you get rid of your "loose feathers." He's getting you ready to mount up with eagle wings. He wants you to quit fluttering around in the nest and to learn how to spread your wings of faith and fly.
Let's return to the story.
When Mother Eagle sees that the loose feathers are blown away, she then spreads her wings out and gives forth a certain scream. Somehow the little eaglet know that it is a command to step out on one the mother's wings and firmly secure itself with its talons, and then with its beak, take hold of one of the big strong feathers. Mother Eagle, making sure little eagle is securely set on her wing - lets out another scream and launches off the edge of the nest into space. She begins to ascend, the little eagle holding on for dear life. The eaglet has never experienced anything like this before. He's going places he's never gone before. He's seeing things he's never seen before. It's thrilling! But just as he's having the time of his life, Mother Eagle suddenly flutters her wings and shakes him loose from her wing - right in the middle of the air - hundreds of feet from the ground. It's solo flight time!
When Mother Eagle shakes the little one loose, she doesn't say, "Well, you're on your own now, see you around," and fly away. No, she doesn't do that, but she slowly begins to circle around the surprised little eaglet keeping a concerned watchful eye on him as he flounders and flutters trying to fly for the first time. Furiously, he flaps his wings, he turns somersaults, he does everything to try to stay aloft, but slowly he starts to lose altitudes. When Mother Eagle sees her little one get dangerously close to the ground, she swiftly swoops down, snares him with a taloned claw, and carries him upward to a great height and starts the process all over again. Each day she repeats this, until finally the little eagles wings have become strong and he is able to stay aloft riding the air currents, soaring as effortlessly as the parent eagles do.
I want to point out several spiritual truths that are suggested to us by the flight training process of the little eagle. Mother Eagle spreads her wings and commanding her eaglets to step out on them and firmly grasp a feather in their beak.
The two wings of the parent eagle can be likened to the Word of God, both the Old and the New Testaments.
The feathers can be thought of as the individual promises found in the Word of God. Father Eagle spreads His Word before us and commands us to step out on it, grasping firmly to the promises of God.
Just as little Eagle experienced an unexpected shaking that caused him to lose his hold on Mother Eagles’ feather, even so, God's eaglets may experience a shaking of their faith life that can cause them to lose their hold on the promises of God they have been clinging to. Don't despair! Don't get frustrated! Don't throw up your hands and quit. This can happen when you're in the process of training to be an eagle believer.
Just as the parent eagle watches over her little ones to make sure they don't fall to the ground when they lose their hold on the feathers while in training; even so God the Father Eagle watches over His own to keep them from falling to the ground when they lose their hold on the promises of God while in training to be an eagle believer. He lifts them up to try again.
Just as the parent eagle continues to work with their young until they are fully trained - even so Father God continues to work with His young.
"He who began a good work in you will carry it onto completion..." Philippians 1:6.
God doesn't want us to settle for a barnyard walk. He's determined that we're going to mount up with wings as an eagle.
I close with this poem by Bill Harvey.
An eaglet in its downy nest surveyed the scene below.
And asked with zest, "Oh Mother, I would know . . .
Will I someday begin to fly as high and far as you?"
The answer came, "Of course you'll fly, for that's what eagles do."
Highborn you are and high you'll stay, and higher still you'll go,
And never know an earthbound day, nor crawling to and fro,
Now dashing down, now soaring high . . . Now floating on the air.
Now flying where you will to fly. Now free to do and dare.
I'll take the down from out the nest and let the thorns protrude.
I'll let the thorns disturb your rest and halt your nesting mood
Then soon you'll climb upon the edge and stretch your pinions out
You'll totter on the eerie ledge and ponder space and doubt,
Then with a wing I'll knock you off to flounder, flap and fly
And with a swoop, I'll pick you up and never mind your cry
I'll put you on the perch again, then knock you off the nest
To see if you will stand the strain and stand the acid test.
I'll give you opportunity to prove that you can fly.
And then a final chance to see if you will fly or die.
I'd rather rugged, jagged rocks would claim you as their own
Then bear the taunts, and jeers, and mocks that say you've never flown.
But fly you must, and fly you will, and conquer gravity.
And know the zephyr's golden thrill and fly for all to see.
My eagle child, this word I give: keep looking to the sky.
For though an eagle flies to live - an eagle lives to fly.