‘You yourselves have seen what I did in Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself’ Exodus 19:4
The bible often refers to examples seen in God’s creation and uses them like a visual aid. Eagles, and especially their wings are often used to illustrate, describe, represent, or to emphasise a point. The wings of an eagle allow it to do many more things that most other birds are unable to do.
When the female is about to lay eggs, the female and male eagle identify a place very high on a cliff where no predators can reach. The building of the nest is carried out to facilitate the future training of the young eaglets. The male flies down to the ground and picks thorns and lays them on the crevice of the cliff, then he flies down again to collect twigs which he lays on top of the thorns. He flies back to earth to picks up more thorns and lays them on top of the twigs.
Again the male flies back to earth and picks soft grass to cover the thorns, and then flies back to pick soft coverings to place over the grass.
When this first layer is complete the male eagle runs back to earth, picks more thorns, lays them on the nest; runs back to get grass and soft coverings and lays them on top of the thorns. Then the male eagle plucks some of his feathers to complete the nest. The thorns on the outside of the nest protect it from possible intruders. Both parents participate in raising their eagle family. She lays the eggs and protects them; he builds the nest and hunts.
When the parents train the young ones to fly, the mother eagle throws the eaglets out of the nest and because they are scared, they jump into the nest again. Then she throws them out and takes off the soft layers of the nest, leaving the thorns bare. When the scared eaglets jump into the nest again, they are pricked by thorns. Shrieking and bleeding they jump out again this time wondering why the mother and father who love them so much are torturing them. Then the mother pushes them off the cliff into the air. As they shriek in fear, father eagle flies out and picks them up on his back before they fall, and takes them back to the cliff. This is repeated several times until they start flapping their wings. They get very excited finding out they can fly a little although still falling but not at such a fast rate. Both father and mother eagles support them with their wings when needed to stop the young ones falling to the ground and injuring themselves.
Each time the parents carry the eaglets back to the nest so that the jump out and have to fly again. This process is repeated until the young are able to fly safely on their own, and able to fly back to the place where the nest is situated.
The verse from Exodus likens the way the eagle parents look after their eaglets, to how God looks after His children. God was always with His children, the Jews, while they were in Egypt. Then He brought them out of Egypt and carried them through the wilderness until they were safe in the promised land, where He still looked over them. In this verse God was giving His children a timely reminder of what he had done for them, and it demonstrates to them that God was still with them, and keeping a parental eye on them. Let us remember that God is: watching over us; caring for us; there for us when he knows we need Him and His intervention in our lives. After all he is our Father.
We might think that the parents building a nest which included thorns was rather cruel, but without them the eaglets wouldn’t want to leave the nest. They needed an incentive! As we look back on our lives, we will realise that we have also had times when things haven’t gone the way we would have hoped or wanted. But God would be there to help us through the problem, and should realise that He was looking out for us, and leading us.
Having problems, or realising things don’t always go the way we want in our lives helps us to learn how to cope with the issues of life. It hones us, and prepares us, for the role that God has for us in this life. Hopefully when we look back through at our life we will realise how much God has influenced what happened to us and how he bore us up with His wings.
The preparation and care of the eagle family teaches us that active participation of both parents leads to successfully rearing the young for life. This includes not making it too comfortable in the nest so that the young will be encourage to live their own life. To do that they need to learn to fly, and many other things that will be taught by the parents. They cannot be lazy and stay in the nest, because they will not live long as no one will feed them. They need to learn to fend for themselves.
To those who ask, ‘Where is God?’ hopefully this illustration will provide the answer. This view of the eagles with the offspring is symbolic of our relationship with God. He lets us get on with life but he is watching over us, and He is there when we want or need Him.
© 2016 Clive Dale