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Before Eagles Fly

'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and
how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself.
Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and
keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure
to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.
And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.'
These are the words which
you shall speak to the children of Israel.
Exodus 19:4-6

Eagles are named among the unclean birds (Lev. 11:13). Despite being an abomination among the birds, they are admired as majestic creatures. Eagles can live 20 to 30 years in the wild.

Among the largest species is the golden eagle. Its wings spread about eight feet wide. Most eagles have sharp eyesight, seeing miles ahead. They can spot their prey while soaring hundreds of feet in the air. With a speed of 100 miles per hour, they dash down to snatch their victims, killing them instantly with great impact by their powerful claws. They will then return to their nests to rip the meats apart and feed their young.

The nest of an eagle is called an aerie. A pair of eagles will return to the same nest, year after year. When they die, other eagle pairs will take over the empty nest. Some of the aeries are hundreds of years old! One aerie is reported to weigh two tons! One American bald eagle nest is being measured, having a floor area of 86 square feet, approximately the size of a bedroom.

Eagles build their nests in high places, such as treetops and lofty rocky cliffs, far away from predators and poachers. These aeries are being enlarged and expanded yearly, making room for new eaglets. The female eagle will hatch two eggs each time. Very often, only one eaglet will survive to adulthood. Eaglets take a long time to grow up. Until they are fully-grown, they will be in the custody of their parents and in the safety of their nests.

Branches, bones, straws and leaves are some of the building materials of aeries. The base structure is formed using rough branches. Leaves, straws and fur are then woven in to make a soft cushion against the sharp pointed surfaces. The mother eagle will then lovingly shed some of her feathers to furnish the final touch adding more comfort to the nest. A mother eagle will feed her young and bear them on her wings until they learn the art of flying.

The day the eaglet has his first flying lesson is the day the Lord has made for him. The little bird cautiously opens his eyes as the sun wakes up. The mountain breeze is gentle and cool. As he warms himself with the blankets of feathers and fur, he chirps a new song. With words and melodies beyond man, the air is filled with the sound of his music.

In the midst of the song, the young eaglet waves goodbye to his mum as she takes off. He wonders what his breakfast will be this day – fish or meat. The eagle soars into the skies, higher and higher until her child loses the sight of her. She then dives spirally downwards, encircling the nest. As she approaches the aerie, she flaps her wings violently until a strong wind is created to shake the foundation. All the leaves, straws, fur and feathers are blown away, exposing the painful branches. The nest is now no longer comfortable.

For the very first time, his innocent heart is terrified - has mum gone bonkers? He tries to balance himself as he stands within the shaking aerie. As the eagle completes her descent and perches on the side of the nest, peace is finally restored.

Without giving any prior warning, the eagle again flaps her wings powerfully, creating a mighty whirlwind. This new force overcomes the young one. He loses his balance as he is being rocked off his nest. His heart pounds and beats with increasing acceleration as he undergoes the gravitational pull of the earth. Aimlessly descending, he does not know what to do or how to fly. His wings are locked, scared stiff. This is it -the final chapter of his life. The rocks below are merciless and hard. Just a few feet before he hits the bottom, his mum comes to his rescue, snatches him and brings him back to the nest.

As soon as they are back in the nest, round two commences. This process is repeated over and over until the eaglet begins to spread his wings and fly!

For the LORD'S portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance. He found him in a desert land and in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye. As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, so the LORD alone led him, and there was no foreign god with him. He made him ride in the heights of the earth, that he might eat the produce of the fields; He made him to draw honey from the rock, and oil from the flinty rock; curds from the cattle, and milk of the flock, with fat of lambs; and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the choicest wheat; and you drank wine, the blood of the grapes. Deut 32:9-14

We once were sinners, unclean. God cleanses us and makes us to become His people - glorious saints! He bears us on His wings and teaches us how to fly!

At our appointed times, God will nudge us out of our comfort zones – out of our nests where daily routines and familiarity reign. When things go beyond our control, God is still in full control. To fly with Him, we need to trust Him and obey His every instruction as given in His Word. Even helpless at times, we are never alone. He is always there with us! His hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear (Isaiah 59:1).

Some eaglets never get to fly, some sinners never become saints, and some Christians never grow better. They get bitter.

If the flying lessons are great, wait till we have the soaring lessons. They are coming up next.

Note: Please also read When Eagles Soar.

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary