Eagles’ Wings

“When the dragon realised that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But she was given two wings like those of a great eagle so she could fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness. There she would be cared for and protected from the dragon for a time, times, and half a time. Then the dragon tried to drown the woman with a flood of water that flowed from his mouth. But the earth helped her by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that gushed out from the mouth of the dragon. And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus.” 
Revelation 12:13-17

The woman in John’s vision could fly. She needed to, so that she could escape the devil’s malignant intentions. And we are told through John’s vision, that she had two wings “like those of a great eagle”. The eagle is a special bird. The bald eagle is the US national bird. And throughout history, the eagle has come to represent strength, with a freedom as it soars through the skies; truly a majestic bird.  So it is of no surprise that John sees in his vision eagle wings transporting the woman into the safe place prepared for her in the wilderness. The devil couldn’t keep up with her.

We read in Isaiah 40:31, “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint“. We concluded previously that the woman represents the Church, so in that context this verse in Isaiah has a special and important meaning and message. It’s all about trusting God. So the converse is true, that a church that does not trust in God will inevitably be as described in the previous verse in Isaiah 40. “Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion“. A church that doesn’t trust God will quickly become weak, tired and exhausted. The implication in these verses from Revelation is that the “woman” received care and protection because she trusted in God.

The protection and care continued for a period of “a time, times, and half a time“. I believe that this is currently the season, the period in mankind’s timeline, that we pilgrims are enjoying God’s care and protection. There is a wonderful picture of God’s care, including a reference to an eagle, in Deuteronomy 32. we read, “He found them in a desert land, in an empty, howling wasteland. He surrounded them and watched over them; he guarded them as he would guard his own eyes. Like an eagle that rouses her chicks and hovers over her young, so he spread his wings to take them up and carried them safely on his pinions. The Lord alone guided them; they followed no foreign gods. He let them ride over the highlands and feast on the crops of the fields. He nourished them with honey from the rock and olive oil from the stony ground. He fed them yogurt from the herd and milk from the flock, together with the fat of lambs. He gave them choice rams from Bashan, and goats, together with the choicest wheat. You drank the finest wine, made from the juice of grapes“. (Deuteronomy 32:10-14). 

We pilgrims have access to the very best of provisions, all supplied by our wonderful Heavenly Father. But the key thought here is that although God’s care is accessible, we have to do something to enjoy it. What God has for us will not just fall into our laps, like manna from Heaven. We have to – back to that word again – trust God for our nourishment, spiritual or otherwise. The picture of wine, finest wine, representing the Holy Spirit. The nourishment from rock honey and milk and yoghurt, all generating the impression of a place of abundance, of plenty, for all we need for life. And all we have to do is trust God. Easy, isn’t it? Well, no it isn’t.  We are living in a society that suggests that it is dangerous to trust anyone. Disappointments with people erode what little trust we have developed over the years. I know someone who, as a small child, was repeatedly let down by a father who broke promises time and time again. And all these life-related disappointments conspire to make it very difficult for such a person to trust our Heavenly Father. There are even those who have lost their trust in God because of their unrealistic or misguided expectations. At times like these we dig into His Word, the Bible, and hang onto verses such as Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding“. And Hebrews 13:5, “Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you“. 

There are times in our pilgrimage through life when we need to trust God. Really trust Him. When a child is sick. A loved one is dying of cancer. An unexpected bill falls through the letterbox. Life can be tough at times. But if God has said that He will never abandon us, we have to believe it and trust Him who said it. I look back over some crises in my own life. Difficult and frightening at the time, but in hindsight, God wove a path through the situations and I came through. Probably a bit battered and bruised, but intact and wiser for the experience. And I can remember in one situation that I had to make a positive declaration that even if God didn’t come through for me, I was still going to praise Him. We read in Habakkuk 3:17-18 – “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord ! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” We trust our loving Heavenly Father regardless of the circumstances.

Dear Lord God. Thank You for Your assurance that you are always there for us, in every circumstance. We truly rejoice in You, the God of our salvation. Amen.

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