The eagle is a symbol used many times in Scripture, in fact, it is mentioned 38 times throughout the Bible. We can learn some important lessons from this majestic creation of God. Eagles have a wing span of 2 meters and are around 90 cm. tall. The eagle mates for life and use the same nest for life. This nest is built in a safe place, often on the ledge of a sharp cliff. It is built to last and the largest nest reported is 9 ½ feet wide and 20 feet deep.
When the babies are born, both parents assume responsibility for their care. They are gentle parents, sitting on the eggs for one month. The parents bring food up to the nest and feed them small pieces of meat. Within 45 days they can weigh nearly 40 times their birth weight. At three months they get special feathers for flying and a new learning experience begins. The mother eagle flies into the nest and begins to thrash around causing a great commotion. Eventually one of the babies will fall out of the nest and begin heading for the earth below. Never having used his wings before, he’s not really sure what to do, but does do lots of flapping while heading straight down! Just before the baby hits the ground, the mother eagle flies underneath in order to ‘catch’ the baby on her powerful wings and she flies him safely back to the nest. This continues on day after day until all the babies learn to fly.
There are two verses in scripture that actually mention this routine of the eagle. In Deuteronomy 32:10,11 Moses reminds the children of Israel how God cared for them and guarded them just “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.” Again in Exodus 19:4 God says that “He will carry the children of Israel on eagles’ wings”.
We can get very comfortable in our ‘nest’. Perhaps that could be our way of doing things, our way of thinking, our opinions, our way of living life. Then when God comes and ‘stirs up our nest’ we get upset. We don’t always identify this as a growing experience. Sometimes if we were really honest, we really don’t want to grow. We get very complacent and satisfied with where we are and any interruptions are viewed as negative. But God wants us to fly – to become all that He intends us to become. He never stirs up our nest without good reason!
The eagle can see a rabbit two miles away. It can soar up to two miles above the ground and can fly at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. They have a separate eyelid which slides across the eye sideways in order to keep the eye clean and free from dust as they fly. Their bones are hollow and therefore light of frame. Their frame has cross ribs like steel bars in sky scrapers. The eagle has 7000 feathers. The back feathers are as long as the head feathers. Their beak is black until age of 3 years and then turns golden.
When eagles are about 30 years old they go through a renewal process. They find a secret place high in the mountains and begin to claw at their face and tear out the feathers that have been damaged over the years. As a result, it bleeds badly. But this is necessary for the eagle in order to renew its strength. If it did not do this it would not be able to live to its normal 60 years of age.
Psalms 103:5 says “who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.” A time of renewal is necessary for every child of God. A time when we get rid of what is weighing us down, holding us back, aging us spiritually. A time to give up the sinful habits, to give in to the Holy Spirit in whatever way He is convicting us. We need to do this even to the point of renewal with pain! Some things we hold on to so tightly that to let go, actually causes us pain. But in order to have the long, powerful, useful spiritual life that God plans for us, we need to do that. It will renew our spiritual youthfulness.
When the eagle is free to soar in God’s creation, they are the cleanest of birds. They were created to be free and to soar to great heights. They were not meant to remain close to the earth in the lowlands. They were created to soar. When eagles are held in captivity, they become one of the dirtiest birds.
God has created us to remain pure and holy and conformed to his image. Don’t allow the freedom we are to experience in Him, to be compromised by spending too much time in worldly thinking, activities, mindsets. Remain clean!
Eagles do not fly like other birds, they don’t flap their wings but rather soar. Flapping their wings would use incredible amounts of their own strength and endurance and they would require so much more food as fuel if they didn’t soar. Instead they sit on a high ledge and wait for the right wind currents to come. When the time is right, they take off and soar upward. Effortlessly, because they have waited for the right time. There is a special ‘up going’ wind, that they ride as it circles higher and higher toward the sky.
What a lesson for God’s children to learn. How often do we waste strength by jumping out too soon and ‘flapping our wings’, instead of waiting for God’s timing. Waiting is not a popular concept in these days of instant everything! But when we wait on the Lord – wait for His timing – wait for His answers – wait for His direction, then we can soar to new heights and fly to new places.
“Those who wait on 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.”