10 August 2023 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. 5Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” (Exodus 19:4-6; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
There are many Christians who are able to soothe their consciences for lack of courage in claiming that government and faith in God are two separate propositions. This undermines the sovereignty of God and defies the influence of the Church as the ‘salt and light’ of its intended purpose. The Christian does not remove his robe of faith at the door of the magistrate – his responsibility to testify, in life, speech, and character, to the sovereignty and redemptive power of God continues under every banner – government or social.
God has loved us with the greatest sacrificial love that could ever be possible – the gift of His only Begotten Son to be tortured, mutilated, humiliated, and crucified on a cruel cross. Even in the natural world, God has infused this kind of divine love in the hearts of many of His creatures, great and small, at least insofar as the care of their young is concerned. But God sent His Son for us while we were yet strangers and enemies of God.
It was the Triune God that bore the children of Israel out of Pharoah’s slavery in the land of Egypt as if on the wings of an eagle. Some may wonder why God says ‘on eagle’s wings’ instead of simply ‘by the wings of an eagle?’ The answer is simple: the eagle demonstrates an enormous level of love and care for her young. When storms arise, she spreads her wings over the aerie (eyrie) to protect her young from the stormy blasts. Eagles, unlike a great percentage of the modern wonders of humanity, mate for life. But when the mother eagle moves her young to another location, she carries them on her back. There are two main reasons for this approach:
1) the talons of the eagle are very strong – so strong that the mother may not realize she is harming her babies;
2) if the archer launches an arrow at the eagle, it will pierce the mother’s body first.
There is another technique the eagles utilizes, by the way, that protects against the archer’s arrows. “ …. they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.” The eagle has special membranes that come down to cover the eyes so that they can behold the sun directly. They fly toward heaven (the sun) in order to blind the archer’s aim. Should the Christian not do the same in flying to the Sun of Righteousness whose appearance blinds the eye of the enemy? (see Malachi 4:2)
We often frankly reject the protection of the Lord in our trials and tribulations. Yet, He awaits our bleats and prayers beckoning that assistance: “… even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37b) There is no more secure shelter than under those covering wings of God. “Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.” (Psalms 63:7)
A few years ago, there was a lovely dove that labored to build her nest among the shrubs beneath our patio windowsill. She worked many days to build a beautiful nest furnished with soft things she found in the fields. My wife and I watched as all this activity of the mother took place, but we wondered why she built it so near the ground where it could be vulnerable to predators. Finally, she laid her pretty eggs in the nest and sat on them for days, Finally, her young were hatched, and both parents of the chicklets seemed overjoyed. But one morning, I went outside to examine the nest and found it destroyed. The mother’s large feathers were scattered abroad among the fluffy feathers of her babies. A short distance away, I discovered the head of the mother dove badly emaciated and apparently chewed off by a cat. The mother could have taken wing at the approach of the cat, but she remained in place, protecting her babies, until she suffered death at the hands of the cat. That is God’s level of love for us in sending Christ to suffer and die that we may enjoy that same grace of which Abraham and those of his progeny that believed that same promise of a Redeemer given to Abraham.
One other quick example of that winged love in nature: When Mt. St. Helens erupted in tremendous fire and smoke in 1980, the vegetation was scorched for miles around her slopes. A forest ranger, walking through the ashes to assess the extent of damage, came across a quil sitting among the ashes scorched and burnt. He touched the quail with the toe of his boot and the quail fell over – out from under their dead mother ran several tiny babies that she had tried to protect with her very life. How unlike modern man who thinks nothing of murdering an innocent baby in its mother’s womb. “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.” (Isaiah 49:15) Even God finds it beyond strange that a mother could not care for her own child; however, He is not of the same heart: “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” (Isaiah 49:16)