I am an eagle? Whatever happened to Scripture which depicts me as a sheep being under the supreme guidance of God my shepherd? Whatever happened to the essence of Psalm 23 and Jesus telling Peter to feed his sheep and flock in John 21:15-17?
This message about being an eagle was given at an inter-denominational gathering of Christians known as Kingdom Revival which held earlier this year in Lekki, Lagos. It is an annual gathering which I look forward to each year to rekindle my Spirit and connect me to the Revival where God’s spirit is being poured out upon the world. The speaker opened his message with a quote from Winston Churchill – “When the eagles are quiet, the parrots begin to jabber.” This left me wondering as to why on earth, he was now bringing parrots into this matter. As if I did not have enough confusion with the addition of eagles to my initial conception of we being sheep!
NATURE OF AN EAGLE
Then, what did he do? He introduced vultures to the matter. He explained the difference between vultures and eagles, stressing that vultures are critical birds which like to eat dead things. Images of vultures encircling carcasses sprung to mind, as did that award winning photograph by Kevin Carter of a vulture encircling a starving Sudanese child during the 1994 famine and waiting for the child to die.
The speaker stated that we should feed like eagles and not vultures. We should feed with fresh and not dead revelation. He also pointed out that the eyes of an eagle can see the almost invisible, being able to see fish in the waters at a two kilometer distance. He urged us to seek to gain the vision of an eagle in our daily lives.
Then he referenced Isaiah 40:31 which strikes a cord within me each time I read it: “…but those who hope in Yahweh, will renew their strength. They will soar as with eagle’s wings; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and never tire.”
What is it about Isaiah 40:31 that is so comforting? Is it because it connects with our identity as actually being an eagle? I settled down to listen further as he explained that eagles are environment changers. He mentioned that God creates eagles’ nests and “kingdom families” and pointed out the three things which are needed to change the environment and which drive all of us – pleasure, power and passion.
He tied these three things by stating that they represent what we must have to operate as a “kingdom family.” As a Christian, we must have wine which gives us pleasure. This is not to be confused with the wine leading us to stupor, but that of the Eucharist which also gives us pleasure, but more specifically, pleasure in Christ. And if indeed, we must be drunk, let it be by a filling of the Holy Spirit as advised by Paul in Ephesians 5:18. As a Christian, we must also have wind in the form of the breath of God upon us, which represents power and which revives us. Lastly, as a Christian, we must have fire which represents passion and propels us to go forth to evangelize and to create “kingdom families.” He then pointed out that eagles operate on the principles of pleasure, power and passion to the extent that a bald eagle needs the power of wind to soar and has 7000 feathers on its wings to achieve this.
The speaker then referred us to Psalm 103:5 which invites us to bless the Lord who “renews your youth like the eagle’s” and explained that God uses eagles as symbols in 32 scripture verses such as in Exodus 19:4 where God tells Moses to remind the Jews that he carried them on eagle’s wings and brought them to Himself. He also referred to Deuteronomy 32:11 where Moses recounts the protection of God who “like an eagle watching its nest, hovering over its young, supporting them on its spread wings and carrying them on its pinions.”
Indeed, when I read further to Deuteronomy 34:7, it describes Moses before he died at 120 years old as one who “did not lose his vigor and his eyes still saw clearly.” This clear vision reminds me of that of an eagle which we are called to emulate.
The speaker then explained deeper what it means to be an eagle by stressing the golden and imperial nature of an eagle. I recently had a discussion about the distinction between being a child of God and being a son of God. A sister shared that being a son of God means that you move, think and act exactly like your father which means that we must do likewise by trying to emulate God if we are to be called his sons or daughters.
Being a son or daughter of God requires a greater level of spiritual maturity than being a mere child of God. We need to hunger and thirst more to take on the identity of our Heavenly Father to be called his son or daughter. When we do so, we become His heir, and we are able to live in God’s kingdom in heaven. However, this is only possible if God’s kingdom lives in us as His sons while we are here on earth.
In explaining our kingdom identity, he stressed our bold nature in his reference to 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God did not confer on us a spirit of bashfulness, but of strength, love and good judgment.”
This strength and boldness is seen in the nature of eagles which test each other at two and a half years old. In the manoeuvres, the male eagle is tested and this test is repeated over and over again until the female eager is satisfied of the male’s commitment to her. This reminds me of how God relates with us, as he tests us in our faithfulness and commitment to Him. This may be done to purify us in order for us to attain the next spiritual level. When we pass the test, we have a testimony which allows us to inspire others and to focus on our flight ahead.
I use the word “flight” here instead of “journey” because we must be mindful of God’s purpose for us which is to soar. We must be mindful of the need to be conscious of time, as we are given a finite period to achieve our God-given purpose in life. We must also be mindful of our need to be detached from the things of this world, in order for us to be light enough to soar and be guided by the wind of the Holy Spirit.
The speaker then went back to explain his earlier statement on God creating eagles’ nests and having kingdom families. He stated that eagles build their homes on a rock or a cliff just like Jesus did with His Church by using Peter and just like Jesus does with us when we are rooted in Him. He pointed out the need to build our families and the next generations on high places like the eagles do on a cliff.
He stated that the eagle’s nest can weigh as much as two tons, being the weight of a car, which testifies to the solid foundation that an eagle makes for its future ones.
He stressed that as a Christian, you must know your foundation which means, you must know who you are and whose you are. He further stated that eagles allow themselves to rest when the wind carries them and pointed out the need to be carried by God’s wind and rely on fresh revelation when we tire or are attacked by the serpent. He said that the serpent is the only enemy after the eagle and it attacks sick eagles and goes after its eggs, just like satan attacks the spiritually weak and seeks to prevent the hatching and birth of children of God. When we know who and whose we are, we would recognize that whatever storm we encounter is meant to take us higher; just like the eagle which actually welcomes the storms and uses the storm to soar higher.
The speaker concluded by pointing out a peculiarity of what an eagle does at a particular point in time. The mother eagle actually starts to throw away the very things that it gathered to make the nest comfortable. She does this in order for the eaglet to leave the comfort of the nest and attain the next level and she actually pushes the eaglet out of the nest and continues to make the nest uncomfortable until it learns how to fly. As in, this is like a mother waking up her son who is all snuggled up in his sleeping bag on a camping trip and then dragging him up suddenly to the top of a cliff and dropping him!!
Now what is amazing is that the Father eagle is by the nest to rescue the eaglet and when it falls, it takes it back to the nest which is more uncomfortable than the last time it was there. It is pushed out again and each time it falls, the father eagle rescues it. He stressed that the father eagle rescues the eagle because he can fly faster than the eaglet can fall. This is what Deuteronomy 32:11 speaks of when it describes the “eagle watching its nest, hovering over its young, supporting them on its spread wings and carrying them on its pinions.”
Indeed, God is the eagle and as sons of God, we are eaglets whose destiny is to fly! He catches us whenever we fall just like the eagle does! We need to be convinced of this. We need to live in this kingdom foundation of bring rooted in Christ and relying on Him. We need to know who we are and whose we are. We need to be like the eagle who soars and thrives in the storms to attain the next level.
Ironically we have an eagle on the Nigerian national emblem. What exactly does that symbolize for us as Nigerians? What does it symbolize as sons and daughters of the Most High God? My family emblem is also actually an eagle and the motto on it is “UGOBUEZE” which means in Igbo (my native language) – EAGLE IS KING!
So, here I am now stepping into my true nature – my nature as a daughter of the Most High God who is the supreme eagle of Deuteronomy 32:11. He is indeed king of all and Lord of all and in Him and by Him, we realize our true identity; our Kingdom identity.
O Lord God, we fly to your patronage. We come to you with open wings eager to be bore up by your wind. Empower us with your Holy Spirit to be the environment changers we are called to be and keep us ever faithful to our calling as you renew us every step of the way. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.