On the Wings of an Eagle

Bible Book: Deuteronomy  32 : 11-12
Subject: Christian Living

On the Wings of an Eagle

Dr. J. Mike Minnix

Deuteronomy 32:11-12 ...

11 As an eagle stirs up its nest,
Hovers over its young,
Spreading out its wings, taking them up,
Carrying them on its wings,
12 So the Lord alone led him,
And there was no foreign god with him.

Our text appears in the middle of an Old Testament song regarding the people of God. The song is known as The Song of Moses. The portion we are considering is an illustration that the Lord gives us revealing something of His divine nature and how He deals with those who trust Him.

You remember, I am sure, that Moses and God’s people were delivered out of Egypt by the supernatural power of God. Then they traveled through the Wilderness for some time. God led them to the entrance of the Promised Land, but a lack of faith caused them to turn back and spend a period of 40 years wandering in the vast Wilderness. This happened because of their rebellion and lack of faith in God. However, through it all, God never left His people and He blessed their leader Moses in a very special way.

God speaks in this song about the way He cared for Moses while the people were sojourning in the Wilderness between Egypt and Canaan. The Lord used an illustration with which all the people were very familiar. No doubt many times they had witnessed the event that is used as an example in our text. The picture God drew with words is that of a mother eagle who has baby eaglets securely sheltered in a nest. You might be able to use your imagination this morning to see in your mind’s eye a nest resting on some lofty mountain cliff. The nest is affixed to some small shrubs growing out of the side of a mountain ledge. Hundreds of feet below craggy, sharp rocks jut up. Around the nest the mountain winds howl and whine. Mother and babies snuggle down together and are at peace in their perilous perch.

Just then, the mother does something that seems to make no sense at all. She rises from the nest, picks up one of her little ones up in her beak and throws it over the side toward the rocks below. The little eagle falls helplessly toward those jagged rocks. That is the picture presented to us by the Lord in this passage of scripture. What does it mean?

Remember that I told you that this illustration speaks of God’s nature and that of His people. I want to share four phrases with you today that form a complete representation of the meaning of this story. The phrases I am going to share form a poem that makes the principle of this Bible passage easy to remember.

I. Born Into The Nest

We must begin by looking carefully at the little eaglets in the nest I have described. They are there because they have been born into that nest. They have the nature of an eagle coursing through their bodies. They are eagles, even if they do not fully understand yet what that means.

All of us who have repented and by faith accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, have within us the nature of our God. When a person becomes a Christian, it is not just turning over a new leaf or deciding to be religious, it is an act of faith that produces new birth. You can only become a Christian by being born into the family of God. This birth is not your natural birth, but a new birth that is supernatural - a birth produced by God when you repent and have faith in His redeeming Son.

In John, chapter 3, Jesus told Nicodemus that he had to be born again to be a part of the family of God. Jesus spoke those words to a very religious man. Religion had not saved Nicodemus. Jesus spoke those words to a very moral man, but morality had not saved Nicodemus. Nicodemus needed faith in Jesus Christ in order to be born into the family of God.

Being born again means receiving into our human nature the divine nature of God. That is a supernatural event. Christ in you, the hope of glory, the Bible calls it. So picture yourself in this story. God is the mother eagle and you are the eaglet clinging to the nest into which you have been born.

This brings us to phrase number two.

II. Settled Down To Rest

The eaglet loves the nest. It is warm, safe and friendly. He does not have to hunt for food, for his mother will bring it to him. He does not have to work his wings, for he has not yet flown. He does not have to fend off predators, for his mother will stand guard over the nest. Yes, the nest is a wonderful place and the little eaglet would just as soon keep things exactly as they are.

There is something wrong with this picture. Eagles were not made to snuggle forever in a nest. In fact, it is dangerous for them to settle down too much in a nest environment. Why? Because in time, if they do not learn to fly, they will turn on each other. A pecking order will develop and the eaglets will actually peek each other to death.

There is a great lesson here for the Christian. We are not made for the comfort zones that most of us seek. We are not made to sit in a nest and do nothing while someone else does the work for us. If we sit too much, we will turn on each other. No, friend, God did not birth you into the nest to simply sit around while others minister to you.

Many churches are having problems today because they are too settled - too comfortable with things just as they are. They do not wish to change anything. They resist change and certainly don't want to be told that they have work to do, work which may not be comfortable for them. They are quite happy to simply settle down in a church pew and sit there like a baby eagle in a nest. But such churches often have conflict within. A pecking order begins and they are always upset about something in the nest - the church where they are members. They turn on leaders, each other and argue over things that really don't matter to the Lord. It is dangerous to be settled down in your church like a baby eagle in a nest.

Now we come to the third phrase among the four phrases that describe the illustration God used.

III. Put To The Test

Let’s go back to the early description I gave you of the mother and her baby. The mother eagle rises from her rest, lifts up one of her little ones and dumps him over the side of the nest. The little fellow tumbles through mid-air like a led ball. He is heading for the sharp rocks below. Certain death awaits him. Now listen to me, when God's people refuse to grow and work as God intends, He will sipmly dump you out of your comfortable nest. He will force you to learn to fly.

When the mother eagle tosses the baby eagle out of the nest, the little one tumbles downward with ever increasing momentum. Then, with incredible agility and lightening speed, the mother eagle launches from her nest. She dives like a jet fighter toward her frightened eaglet. Then, suddenly, she accomplishes an amazing feat. The mother eagle dives under her young eaglet, catches it upon her back and turns heavenward. Up she goes with her little one safely upon her back. Wow! What a sight it must be to actually see this happen.

This is a picture of God’s work in us. As a Christian you have divine blood flowing in your veins. You were not made to sit perched upon some safe nest. You are made to fly, but you cannot do that while settled in the nest. Thus, God puts you and me to the test.

Sometimes all of us feel like God has thrown us out of our nest and catapulted us toward the rocks below. We feel that God has abandoned us. We wonder why God would allow us to go through a free-fall toward destruction. Friend, I submit to you that God is putting us to the test. He is shoving us out of our comfort zones. He is pushing us out of security for a purpose and a reason. We may not understand it, but we must undergo it!

At last we are led to the fourth phrase that completes the poem and brings into focus the full picture God was presenting to us in this passage.

IV. Made To Be The Best

The final piece of the puzzle comes together when we understand the full extent of the illustration from our passage. You see, the mother eagle has a purpose and a plan.

The mother eagle takes her little one high up into the sky, even higher than the level of the nest. Then in an unexpected move she flips over and tosses the little eaglet off her back. Down he goes again. This time he is falling even further than before. Once again, in the nick of time, the mother eagle catches her little terrified eaglet upon her back. Up she goes again. Higher and higher she soars. Once again, she flings the little one off her back.

The little eaglet is falling toward the ground when suddenly something wonderful happens. The eaglet senses what and who he is. In a flash, he realizes that he is made to fly. He turns his head downward, uses his mighty pinions to open his beautiful wings, and then it happens. In a moment, in a second, the wind catches beneath his wings and he turns upward. He soars on wings that until now had meant nothing to him. He is flying! He is fulfilling the purpose for which he was created. He is acting like an eagle.

Every Christian has deep within the nature of Christ. We are made to be like Him. The sudden calamities that come upon us can be seen as wind tests. God is teaching us to open the wings of faith and fly.

Let me share with you three things every eaglet learns from the experience of learning to fly. These are three lessons every believer should learn through the difficult times of life.

1. The Likeness of the Mother Eagle

The eaglet learns that he is made like the eagle that gave him birth. Look at 2 Corinthians 3:18. We are made to reflect the glory of the One who birthed us. We are born again in Christ and His glorious, divine, eternal nature is in us. We are to be Christlike - we are made to fly.

2. The Love of being an Eagle

The mother eagle is teaching her little one to love being what he was made to be. I am told that once the little eagle is flying, the mother eagle will lead him up, up, up and even higher up into the heavens until the little eagle is far above the earth and far above lesser birds. She is teaching him that he is made for higher ground. He is not a chicken pecking in the dirt, but an eagle soaring above the clouds.

Child of God, you were made to fly. You were redeemed to soar above the life you had before you received God's nature through redemption and new birth. You will never be happy crawling around like a worm in this world. Rise up and be the one God make you to be.

3. The Lifting of other Eagles

An eagle that has been taught to fly, can help others fly. One who has been dropped and caught, can catch others. We were made to lift others on the wings of love and the wings of prayer. You can't take others where you have not been, but once you soar with God, you can help others find their way into the places that only Christians can go.


This new life in Christ is a new nature – the nature of God in us. We must learn to trust God, and to allow the divine nature in us to provide us with strength, spiritual gifts and abilities that are ours because of His power working in us.

Many of us need to arise in the strength of the Lord and serve Him as we were meant to serve. We must fly as we were created to fly. We sometimes complain about society, the government, and the terrible morals of the young generation. The early disciples of Christ did not whine and moan. Instead, they went out into the world to change the world. Let us rise up and be those people God redeemed us to be.