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Sunday: On Eagles’ Wings — 11 Comments

  1. The illustration of the eagle carrying its young to teach them to fly is often quoted in sermons and on Christian sites. There is however very little evidence that this happens. I have always been interested in this illustration and have looked in both the ornithological literature and done some personal observation of my own.

    The only birds that I have personally observed carrying their young on their backs have been grebes and swans. This was when the chicks were quite young, and obviously while swimming.

    Raptors (eagles, hawks, vultures) are in the main quite attentive parents. They often mate for life and both are involved in nest building and in raising the chicks. When the chicks are fledged (develop their flight feathers) they typically stand on or near the nest and exercise their wings until they are strong enough to support them in the air. They will often jump from branch to branch supported by their wings, gradually increasing their confidence. Sometimes they will end up on the ground and if they are unable to fly back to the nest, will often climb as far as they can go.

    The immature birds remain near the nest for some time after they can fly and are fed by the parents. Sometimes the parents will drop the food nearby to encourage the young birds to get it themselves. There is a period where the young birds learn to hunt but continue to be supported by the parents. And I have seen young eagles, long after they have fledged, sitting on a branch calling for their parents to feed them. Parental interaction with their fledgelings can last for a whole season. I have seen adult Sea-eagles and their young engaged in aerial displays where they chase one another and clutch talons as if in combat. I rather think these are training exercises. It should be noted that raptors are often chased by other birds, either to move them on, or in some cases, to try and get them to drop their prey. So learning these skills is an important part of their training. The other day, I saw a pack of five Australian Ravens attack an Osprey in an attempt to get at the fish it was carrying.

    A couple of other facts worth noting. A fully-fledged immature raptor weighs as much as its parents. An eagle can lift about half its weight in flight.

    The Hebrew word nesher, often translated as eagle, is less specific and is probably best translated as raptor - a generic term for birds of prey.

    Much has been made of Deut 32:11

    As an eagle stirs up its nest,
    Hovers over its young,
    Spreading out its wings, taking them up,
    Carrying them on its wings,

    But I think we have to allow the Bible writers to use a metaphorical expression now and then. An eagle is a symbol of power and they are attentive to their young, although not in a human-like way. The idea that the Bible writers are trying to put across in this verse is that God is powerful and looks after us.

    • Interesting Eagles and other birds observation and lesson goes well with what I think the Scripture and lesson is conveying on both GOD'S Role and plan in our complete stages of development and entire life cycle and our role in development and dependent stages from new birth to final stage of fighting the good fight and finishing the course and now there is laid up for me a crown of Righteousness should we choose to hang in there with GOD and stick out. To me this is the essence of what the Sabbath School lesson is trying to convey and most definitely what the entire plan of Salvation and Redemption and Overcoming is. As stated in the verses of a few special songs of mines "They shall soar like Eagles they who wait upon the LORD. When my pilgrimage I close, victor over the last of foes. Till from Mount Pisgah's lofty height I view my home and take my flight. In my immortal flesh I'll rise to seize the everlasting prize. When I soar to worlds unknown and behold HIM on HIS Throne. Is GOD'S ultimate goal for us.

  2. Deut 32 is called the song of Moses, it was his last message to the children of Israel before he died.
    In essence he was saying the LORD who created and established you as a nation really, really cares for you and is able to save you from your enemies, be wise and love Him back with all your hearts, minds and strength because a covenant relationship with the LORD is the best option you have in this world.

    What is my option? To be saved by grace? But why would I want to be saved? Saved from what? How would one explain salvation to an unbeliever?

    • Sadly Ms. Shirley, most people see themselves as a good person. I don't think they are aware they are sinners and in peril because of it. Most modern day preachers I've heard don't point out our sins to us in their sermons any longer and seem more concerned about not offending us. We all need to be told why we have such a great need for His forgiveness and His mercy which He freely wants to extend to us. His message can and should be done with meekness and sincere concern for us.

    • I believe we simply share the truth in a way that reveals our own conviction and faith in it. Beyond this, it is the work of the Holy Spirit to "convict the world of sin..."(John 16:8), which no one will escape, no matter what they say.

      We can only faithfully do our small part, sowing the precious Seed of truth.

  3. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant. Psm 25:14.

    On Eagles’ Wings

    Based on your personal experience.....
    There are never ending example that I can give. It was just last week Friday the Lord brought to my remembrance when I lived in one of the other countries. That neighbor and wife were very kind and gracious to us. They allowed us into their homes and took us to places in their vehicle free when we did not had any form of transportation. Their kindness was too numerous to mentioned what those people did for us. Now I am asking the Lord in addition to those who I do help, who else does he wants me to help and in what manner?

  4. I've read many devotionals about how eagles teach their young to fly. However, after witnessing to many a skeptic, I wanted to see if this is true or just a long-standing myth. Here's what I found:

    "We’ve all heard stories of how mother eagles teach their young to fly. According to common folklore, when her instincts tell her the babies have matured enough, the mother eagle pushes them one by one to the edge of the mountain nest and then out into thin air. As the baby eagle flutters and flaps ineffectively while plummeting to the earth, its mother swoops underneath, catches the desperate eaglet on her back, and then mounts up back to the nest to prepare for the next 'launch.' It’s a wonderful picture of proactive coaching and caring, even if it isn’t exactly true. Turns out, a fledgling eagle, ready to launch from the nest, is already almost full grown. It would be quite a feat for a parent to catch its own weight plummeting to earth and then return it to the nest. The reality is that eagles’ nests tend to be rather large, and the fledglings after a few months of having watched their parents in action, practice by hopping and flapping from end to end, often perching on branches above or right next to the aerie before finally taking the plunge out into 'thin air.' The parents are always nearby observing, but if the fledgling has problems making the transition, it usually ends up on the ground, and if not seriously injured by the fall will still be fed by the parents until it finally gets the hang of flying and is able to 'mount up' to the old nest or a new home. https://mateenelass.wordpress.com/2010/07/28/when-eaglets-fly/#:~:text=We%E2%80%99ve%20all%20heard%20stories%20of%20how%20mother%20eagles,mountain%20nest%20and%20then%20out%20into%20thin%20air.

  5. Before writing my comments, I seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This time it took a little while before I could settle my mind on that which I think to be the most salient point of the lesson – Love.
    ‘On Eagles’ Wings’ speaks to the love of the Creator Father for His children. We are his creation which He loves. He made us in His Image and loves and identifies with us in the way a caring, loving earthly father provides for his own.

    A capable, loving, caring parent cradles the baby in his/her arms to bond with the soul of the newborn to create a bond of love and security between them, nurtures it in any way possible to assure its healthy growth, provides the mind with challenges and learning experiences, and instills in it the character which is capable of loving its fellow man and can be loved by others.

    And this is what I see our heavenly Father doing for his children. They received His spirit when He created them to know Him and be like Him, He nurtured and provided for them, but then came the time of separation and estrangement. He did not hesitate one moment to reach out and start building anew the relationship which once was cherished by both of them.

    His is a labor of love, extremely complicated due to the child’s inability to recognize its Father for himself. His sons and daughters have grown up and find themselves in a state of utter estrangement with no ability to know within themselves who their heavenly father is, or even if He exists.
    Only faintly do they recognize Him; the Father is still present in their heart and mind within their conscience; they seek to understand Truth and their heart longs for assurance in peace and security – 1Cron.28:9KJV; John4:23KJV.

    The Father knocks on the heart's door of His sons and daughters, hoping they will open and let Him come in; and many do. Re-acquaintance takes time, but soon all fear and concerns are left behind as His sons and daughters rejoice in their reunion with their heavenly Father. They have moved back home to live their life again in the Father's heavenly kingdom together with their brothers and sisters in Christ.
    The Father’s assurance that they will never again be separated, that no matter what difficulties they might experience in their life He is faithful to stand with them to see them through, gives their heart and mind the peace and rest they have longed for.
    As their love of the Father grows stronger, as their faith and trust in His watch care increases, they rejoice in their new-found union of Love build by Faith and praise their Father in Heaven.

  6. this commentary is from the teacher's edition of the adult sabbath school quarterly....“When an eagle wants to teach its little ones to fly . . . , it prods one of the little eaglets and with its beak, noses it out of the nest. The eaglet starts to fall, and the great eagle flies underneath, puts its wing out, catches the little one on its back and flies a mile into the air. “When you can hardly see the eagle as a point in the sky, it turns sideways, and down falls the little eaglet, which goes fluttering maybe a thousand feet. “Meanwhile, the eagle circles around the eaglet and underneath it, the eagle catches the eaglet on its wings and carries the eaglet up in the air again. After dishing the eaglet out again and letting it go, the eaglet comes down farther and farther—sometimes within a hundred feet of the ground. “Again the great eagle catches the little one on its back and up they go another mile. Little by little the eaglet will learn how to fly. The eagle knows when the eaglet is tired; it spoons the eaglet into the nest, noses out the next one and starts off again.”—Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations (Dallas, TX: Bible Communications, Inc., 1998), pp. 3050, 3051. ​

    • As mentioned earlier there are a lot of myths out there. Just because it's in a commentary doesn't make it gospel. Commentaries are opinions and not always science.

  7. The life and death of Jesus must be the greatest illustration of God's love for every soul on this earth. Next to this, I would point to the parables of Luke 15 which Jesus taught to illustrate the love of God.

    Personally, the peace Jesus promises is real, though it cannot be understood.


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