A Sermon Manuscript by Robert L. Cobb
Editor, NewsForChristians Dot Com
“As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.” Deut. 32:11-1
Introduction: My first child was born in November of 1980. My wife and I had been married for 2 1/2 years before we became parents. I thought I knew her as well as a husband could know a wife. But when she became a mother, I learned that there was much more to her than I had known. She automatically assumed new responsibilities and duties without complaint. Our son required her constant attention and a certain amount of expertise, yet she met every challenge. She didn’t read a book or take a course at the local college; motherhood was inside her all along, just waiting for the proper time to be revealed.
Motherhood has always been sacred in American society. It has been a symbol of all that is good and right in our culture. When I was growing up, you could joke with your friends about many things. But ‘mother” was off limits. Women’s liberation and the Equal Rights Amendment have dulled the luster of motherhood for many modern day women, but motherhood remains the chief blessing that God grants to women.
In our present passage we find a strange occurrence. God compares Himself to a mother eagle. Our God is an incomparable God. It is difficult for man to understand His greatness and His wonder. God declares Himself in scripture by comparing His previously unknown attributes with other attributes that are known to mankind. He uses many pictures and types in scripture to help us understand His personage.
This verse is found in a passage known as the Song of Moses. In this song, Moses recaps for the children of Israel their short history and magnifies God’s perfections and holiness. An outline of the passage might be:
I. God’s Promise To His People v. 7-9
2. God’s Perfecting of His People v. 10-12
3. God’s Provisions For His People v. 13-14
In these verses we also see how God sought them (v. 7-8); He saved them (v. 9); He schooled them (v. 10 …he instructed him…); He shielded them (v. 10 …he kept him as the apple of his eye… ); He stablished them (v. 11 ); and He separated them (v. 12 ). Let us narrow our focus to verse 11. In this great song of Moses, why does God compares Himself to a mother eagle? Ibelieve that we can learn some great truths by studying this comparison: truths about God and His people, and truths about mothers.
I. The Mother Eagle Speaks of the Nature of Our God
Moses compares the work of his God in removing Israel from Egypt to the mother eagle’s stirring over its young. Bondage in Egypt had been an incubation period for the Jewish people, but God, like the mother eagle, had plans for His young. All other nations are on their own, subject to the universal laws of god and nature. Some had many decades of power and prominence, and others passed quickly off the scene. But the nation of Israel had a God Who was both Mother and Father to it. How is the nature of God like that of the mother eagle?
1. The Mother Eagle’s Sight (God’s Omniscience) It is said that eagles have such extraordinary sight that they can see an object as small as a rabbit from hundreds of feet in the air! In its sight, he eagle typifies God’s omniscience. He sees and knows all. Isaiah 40:28 says “…there is no searching of God’s understanding…”
2. The Mother Eagle’s Swiftness (God’s Omnipresence) The eagle can fly at speeds over 100 miles per hour, and can reach 180 MPH in an extended dive. God does not need to travel at high speeds because he is everywhere present. Never in the Hebrews’ wandering in the desert did they escape God’s watchful eye. Jonah the prophet tried to escape Him, but ended up at the bottom of the sea, still in view of his God!
3. The Mother Eagle’s Strength (God’s Omnipotence) The adult eagle weighs around 25 pounds but can pick up and carry animals that weigh between 50-75 pounds. Eagle handlers must wear protective gear to keep the birds from crushing their arms. The eagle’s strength reminds us of God’s omnipotence. Job said, “I know that thou canst doest anything.” Psalm 139:8 “If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.”
4. The Mother Eagle’s Soaring (God’s Holiness) Eagles can fly higher than any other birds. They have been accidentally hit by jets in flight. This shows us God’s holiness, which is far above all. No one can approach God’s holiness. Psalm 30:4 “Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.”
5. The Mother Eagle’s Sons (God’s Children) Mother eagles are very protective and supportive of their young. Many animals ignore their young and some even devour them. But eagles train and teach the little eaglets. Likewise, God does not leave His children to themselves. Think of the children of Israel in the wilderness. God fed them, gave them water, kept them warm at night and shaded in the day.
II. The Mother Eagle Speaks of the Nurturing of Our God
God is perfect in His attributes. All that is good and righteous in women and mothers have their foundation in God. Our Lord has the attributes of both the perfect father and perfect mother. We see women as supportive and nurturing, while men are seen as strong and direct. Though God is depicted as male in scripture, He is actually the perfect representation of both males and females. That is why scripture uses the mother eagle as an illustration of God’s greatness.
1. God Has a Concern for Our Welfare. We see throughout scripture how God deals in special ways with His children. It is hard for us to understand that a holy and righteous God loves us, desires fellowship with us, and is grieved when we break fellowship with Him. Like both the human mother and the mother eagle, God has a motherly concern for his children.
Is. 40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his
arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
Heb 13:5 …be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never
leave thee, nor forsake thee.
He wants to meet our spiritual, emotional and physical needs. Think of how He met the needs of Israel in the wilderness wandering. He does not change and is no respecter of persons; He will meet our needs as well.
2. God Has a Call for Our Lives. The baby eaglets in the nest do not know it yet, but they are eagles! They are different! Eagles have different kinds of lives than other birds, there’s no other birds like them. Likewise, we are God’s kings and priests on this earth. We may not know it when we get saved, but we are different!
2 Tim. 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our
works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus
before the world began.
1 Cor. 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in
your spirit, which are God’s.
We have a call from God to worship, witness, work and withstand.
3. God Has Convictions for Our Acceptance. The mother eagle has a job before her. It is her duty to teach her eaglets to fly. Unlike some other birds, eaglets don’t just jump from the nest and begin flying. The mother bears them up on her wings, takes them high into the air, and drops them, swooping underneath them to save them from crashing to the ground. She does this again and again, until the young eagles learn to fly. It is unacceptable for the young eagles to never learn to fly. Likewise, God has
convictions for His people, and He will not stop until His children have learned those lessons. God takes us on a path of progressive sanctification as he smoothes the rough edges in our lives. There is no reason for us to fight against Him, we must submit to His leadership.
III. The Mother Eagle Speaks of the Necessity of God’s Dealings
Sometimes it is hard for us as God’s children to learn. We seek our own interests and will over God’s. Likewise, in the mother eagle’s world, she sometimes must deal harshly with her young. The eagle’s nest is huge, sometimes weighing as much as 1000 lb.. The nest is comfortable for the young eagles, filled with leaves and soft animal fur. As the young eagles grow, they spend more and more time away from the nest. To make sure the nest becomes less comfortable, the mother eagle takes away some of the soft coverings to the interior. Whereas once the nest was comfortable, it becomes painful to stay there. Sticks and briars are exposed to the young eagles.
God does not save us to put us in a vacuum and store us until we get to heaven. Our lives are learning experiences and sometimes we find ourselves in difficult circumstances. It may look to the world that our God has forsaken us or left us to our own devices. But He is merely stirring up the nest, training us and preparing us to be more like Him.
1. A Stirring Pressure The word in our text is “stirreth.” It means “to rouse, to incite or awaken.” God stirs His people in many ways. Sometimes we are called on to endure sickness or suffering, other times we must wade through difficult storms in our lives. Job never totally understood why he was called on to suffer, but we know today that God used his life as a testimony to others.
Job 10:15 If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my
head. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction;
Job 23:16 For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me:
2. A Strengthening Presence Another word in out text worth examining is “fluttereth.” It means “to hover over, to brood as a hen broods over it’s eggs.” It is the same word translated “moved” in Genesis 1:2, “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” The mother eagle is always near the young eagles in their training period. It may seem to them that she has abandoned them, but she is always watchful. Likewise, God is our Protector, our Comforter, our Companion, our Guide. He is our strengthening Presence.
Psalm 71:20-21 Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken
me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth. Thou shalt
increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.
Psalm 138:3 In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me
with strength in my soul.
3. A Sustaining Power The Christian must not live merely within his own means. God bears him up on His wings, sustaining us and enabling us. We are nothing without Him! The eagles have no natural enemies. but the young eagles are vulnerable in many ways. Predators that would never be able to harm the adult eagle, could prey on the young ones. But the mother eagle protects her young from those potential predators. God has no enemies that can stand against Him, but His children are vulnerable to the world, the flesh, and the Devil. But we do not stand alone against them! God, our Mother Eagle stands ready to protect us from the predators that would destroy our testimony.
I’m glad I don’t have to depend on my own efforts and my own skill to keep me on the right path. He sustains me! If I one day walk away from God and His people, it will not be because He did not help and sustain me. It will be because of my own sinful heart. No Christian has ever lacked the protection of God! No Christian can say, “God forsook me. He left me in my hour of need.”
Ps 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never
suffer the righteous to be moved.
1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and
even for evermore.
Conclusion: God reveals Himself throughout His Word. Sometimes He shows Himself powerful and mighty. Other times He is a still small voice. But one of the most beautiful and revealing pictures of our Lord is that of the Mother Eagle. If we could only live moment by moment in the assurance that God is our Protector and Sustainer, our Power and Strength. Like the mother eagle, God teaches us of His ways. Like the mother eagle, God protects us from all enemies. Like the mother eagle, God nurtures and loves us. May we be always mindful of that love and nurturing.