Like eagles

Isaiah 40_31

The Verse of the Day for June 23, 2016 is found in Isaiah 40:31 in the Amplified Bible:

But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] Will gain new strength and renew their power; They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; They will run and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired.

We find great comfort and assurance, not only in the last verse of Isaiah 40 but the entire passage leading up to it:

Isaiah 40:28-31 (New Living Translation):

28 Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
29 He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.

In addition to the often recited verse from Isaiah 40:31, other places in the Scriptures also make reference to eagles. In fact, among the birds mentioned in the Bible, we find 34 references to eagles in the King James Version. One of my favorite passages connected with eagles speaks of protection and provision in speaking to the Children of Israel when they escaped from the bondage of Egypt:

Exodus 19:4

You have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.

Watching an eagle in flight is awe-inspiring, as Proverbs 30:18-19 proclaims:

There are three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:

 The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.

Lee in his blog “Birds of the Bible” examines “Birdwatching from a Christian Perspective” and provides fascinating commentary on “eagle renewal” with references to Isaiah 40:31 and other scriptures, along with astounding photography of the growth stages of an eagle. Lee notes that the eagle spoken of in Scriptures is actually a golden eagle, indigenous to the Middle East and beyond, rather than the bald eagle which is found throughout North America.

KC Pillai, converted Hindu Bible teacher whose area of expertise is connected to Orientalisms or customs and cultural practices ingrained in the Middle East and beyond, points out some distinctive features of eagles, as recorded in the Bible.  He refers to the birds mentioned in Isaiah 40:31 and elsewhere in the Old Testament as “holy eagles,” which are described in this way:

The holy eagles are likened to heavenly beings; they are the “king of the birds.” Once every five, ten or fifteen years, (people differ on the time interval) the eagles build a nest high in the coconut tree, and then abandon themselves, like advanced swimmers that dive into the water. So these eagles, from the top of the high palm tree, dive down into a lake, or pond or well, or any still water; they don’t fly, but dive headfirst, with their wings folded intact on their backs. They abandon themselves and we see them dropping into the water, and when they come up they have lost every single feather. They are floating on the water, and the eagles are left stranded in the water, unable to swim or fly.

Somehow, they struggle and manage to reach the shore. Then the people come and feed the eagles, because the Eastern people look upon these holy eagles as representatives of God. Nobody will hurt them because they look upon them as heavenly beings. Then in six or seven weeks’ time, their new feathers have grown out and they fly back to the treetops. Nothing can stop them now. That is why “…they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they all mount up with wings as eagles;”

The eagles lose their feathers first; then they wait. They lose all their old feathers of negativism and of limitations…. A Christian loses all his feathers when he comes to Christ, because “…old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” (II Corinthians 5:17). Paul says, “…I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”. (Galatians 2:20).  Pillai goes on to speak of getting rid of “hindering feathers” that keep believers from receiving the fullness of the God’s blessings. As they put off the old and put on the new, followers of Christ are transformed into a new creation in Christ Jesus. They are fortified and undergirded with renewed strength as they wait upon the Lord.

We close with Don Moen, who offers “As Eagles,” a song of encouragement based on the closing passage from Isaiah 40:28-31:

 

 

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