"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. 32:11,12
ELDER Williams of Decatur, Mississippi, has requested views on this scripture. May God bless us with light of thought and liberty of expression to comfort God's little children with some thoughts on the wonderful care God exercises upon His own. We enter into the discussion of this Scripture with a deep felt sense of inability. We fully realize our dependence upon God to stir us up at this time to properly meditate upon this Scripture.
Jacob, who is the "lot of his inheritance" is the object of these expressions. As God dealt with Jacob, He deals with each and every one of His children. Read the context and you will find that Jacob was passive in the hands of a merciful God. It was God who found him; it was God who led him about; it was God who instructed him; it was God who kept him; and it was God who made him ride on the high places of the earth. Jacob could not claim any credit for anything, but must bow to God and realize that it was by God's mercies that he was so wonderfully delivered.
In this text God is likened to an eagle in some of His dealings. The kings of Assyria, Egypt and Babylon were likened unto eagles for their power and dominion. The Chaldean armies were likened unto eagles because of their swiftness. The Edomites exalted themselves and made their nests high as the eagles. It is said that the eagle builds its nest in high places in the tops of the rocks – in the highest rocks which no man can reach. Of course the outer part of the nest is constructed with rough, jagged, course and thorny material. The innermost part is lined with smooth, soft matter that affords the eaglets a place of sweet repose. This is certainly a comfortable place of refuge until the nest is stirred up. The soft down that interlines the eagle's nest typifies the seeming righteousness of the flesh and the confidence that the unregenerated child of God has in his own cleanness and ability. He is content with himself and with his place of abode. He is at ease and does not care to venture from this sweet place of self- righteousness and carnal affections. "All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes."
As the eagle stirs up this soft nest and makes it a bed of thorns to the eaglets, so the Lord stirs up the souls of His people, and makes bare the thorn in the flesh so that their place of sweet repose becomes a miserable place of abode. When God begins His work there is a stirring in the soul that nothing can still, silence, quench or quell. When this begins with you, you become very greatly alarmed and anxious. This anxiety becomes so miserable that you try to rid yourself of this condition by your own activity. You become just as restless as the eaglets with the same results – the thorns prick you more every turn you make. You are pricked in the heart as those spoken of in Acts 2 :37. As the God of Israel stirred up the spirits of the kings of Assyria and prompted them to action, He awakens and disturbs you and causes you to become much concerned over your miserable condition.
Have you ever been awakened to the fact that you are a sinner? Have you made resolutions to better that condition? Have you tried to deliver yourself and found that all your trials availed nothing? Have you been shown that all your righteousness is as filthy rags in God's sight? Have you lost confidence in your own self? Has there been a time that your soul fainted in you and you had no hope in this world or that to come? If you can answer the above questions in the affirmative, (I am persuaded) God has stirred up your nest and has fluttered over you. You have been shaken from that nest and you are falling toward the abyss below. What a fear accompanies this fall! You have nothing to rely upon! You fear the consequences of the jagged rocks and the abyss below which surely means sudden destruction to you! I experienced this falling for many miserable months. I could see nothing before me but this blackness of darkness forever. I was afraid to live and afraid to die. I cried in anguish of soul, "Woe is me! for I am undone!" As the eagle watches the young eaglet as it falls toward the abyss below, I trust that God was watching me. As the eagle swoops down beneath the falling eaglet, "Spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings," I feel that God so dealt with me. What a glad surprise when He came to my rescue!
The thought that God watches us and protects us before regeneration brings to mind that He was the God of Jacob. Jacob is the unregenerate name of Israel. Who is this God of Jacob? The God that gave him the blessing of the birthright though he was a junior; the God that delivered him from the murderous hand of his brother in the day of trouble; the God that protected him and manifested Himself to him; his covenant God. God sometimes says, I am the God of Jacob. This means I am your God before regeneration, as well as after when you attempt to supplant me with proud free will and blunt my sovereignty with your rebellion; when you took my covenant name in a covenant character, I am your God still.
Yes, it was a day of rejoicing when God came to your rescue to prevent you from being utterly destroyed by the jagged rocks and the abyss beneath. He rescued you on His wings of love. He whispered to you, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee." He informed you that He was a merciful and gracious God. He restored your soul. Jesus informed you that He had fulfilled the law to a jot and tittle for you. He told .you that He had taken your sins upon His own shoulder and had paid the penalty, satisfied justice by shedding His own blood for the remission of sins and had died in your stead. He spoke sweet peace to your soul that He had wrought out eternal salvation for you. He put a new song in your mouth that praised God and confessed Jesus as your Savior. You are resting in the sweet embrace of His love. Your soul is absorbed in this experience. You are blessed to exclaim, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." You can say with one of old, "I know that my Redeemer liveth." You feel that your worries and fears are in the past and that you will ride forever upon His wings. You can see the Father, Son and Holy Ghost enacting, determining and covenanting for, and mutually swearing each to each for the accomplishment of your salvation. Did this sweet experience continue? No, if your experience coincides with my experience, it did not continue. It was of short duration.
After the eagle rescues the young and bears them comfortably upon her wings for awhile, she tilts her wings and permits them to fall again toward the abyss below. Did God deal with you as the eagle deals with her young? While you were riding joyfully, upon His everlasting love and sweet promises, all was well with your soul. You said, "my God reigneth," and "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Then, all at once, you realized that you were again falling toward destruction. The sweet embrace of that love was gone. Your former experience taught you that there was One who did rescue you, but, would He rescue again? You looked for Him but you could not find Him. You sincerely asked, "Will the Lord cast off forever? and will He be favorable no more? Is His mercy clean gone forever? Doth His promise fail forevermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? Hath He in anger shut up His tender mercies? (Psalms 77:7-9.) You are falling down, down, down! You yet have a faint hope that almost vanishes away. Just before you would die in despair, God rescues you again from destruction. The wings of God's mercy and love comes underneath you and raises you up, and soars high above the cares and troubles of this world, and you again rejoice because of His amazing grace that can descend low enough to prevent you from dashing your head against a stone. It is our lot to be shaken many times from the wings of God's manifest love and mercy, but He yet cares for us and carefully watches over us.
It is necessary that we be taught again and again of our infirmities and weakness in the flesh and our total dependence upon Him. We are made to cry out so often to Him to be merciful to our unrighteousness. We shall have tribulations and suffer trials and afflictions here in this world, and to realize that, "here have we no continuing city." These joyful experiences are not continuous but are mixtures of joy and sorrow.
We trust that the grace of God enables us to "Press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3 :14). At the time when He shall take us upon His wings it will be forever. All will be joyful forevermore. No more trials and tribulations. No more heartaches nor fear of falling into utter destruction. When He takes us upon His wings and carries us into the Holiest of Holies where Jesus dwells we shall forever be satisfied.
Elder E. J. Lambert
"Tried in the Furnace" Pgs 122 – 126