EXODUS 19: "I CARRIED YOU ON EAGLES' WINGS"
Larry Mullen Jr. in a posture of protection of his 18-year-old son on the album cover of "Songs of Innocence."
Preparing to read Exodus 19
I'll tell you why I'm posting a picture of U2's Larry Mullen Jr. after I tell you what's happening in Exodus 19.
Israel is camping in the Desert of Sinai at the foot of Mt. Sinai, where God is choosing to appear powerfully to Moses and all of Israel. The first thing God communicates to Moses on the mountain is a word picture that I want to make you aware of as you read.
The word picture is this: "You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself."
As you read, watch for this and other word pictures God uses to instill love and devotion in Israel. Watch for repeated warnings as well. What is God warning Israel not to do and why?
The word picture of God carrying Israel on eagles' wings reveals God's compassion. A mother eagle forces the baby eagle out of the nest before it can fly well. With great skill the mother eagle swoops under the falling baby eagle to catch it and carry it back to the nest. The practice and rescue is repeated until the young eagle learns to fly independently.
The reason I posted the photo of Larry Mullen Jr. is because U2 wanted to communicate deep intimacy in their album, "Songs of Innocence," so this image shows Mullen in a protective posture in front of his 18-year-old son.
The week I wrote this post, my wife Jill and I left our son, our third and last born child, at university. For the last twenty-four years, since the birth of our first born child, Ashley, then with the birth of Anna then Jacob, we have been in the posture of protection. We have at times swooped down and caught them before they fell to the ground as they went through difficult times in middle school and high school. We didn't do those things to try and insulate them from life but to protect their fragile hearts. We didn't always do it with great skill but we always did it with love and compassion in our hearts, however it came out.
My heart and body aches to no longer have the continued presence of all my children in our home, but that will pass I know as I more greatly long to see them fly independently. The time of "protection" and swooping down has come to an end, the posture of grabbing them and putting ourselves in front of them as in the picture of Mullen is over. Now we must give them tips on flying, fishing (I don't really know how to fish), nest-making, and other things eagles' do, like looking cool.
Back to God. The image of the eagle is for His protection and compassion. Dwell on this.
God of Eagle Wings of Protection, whether we are aware of your protection and compassion, ignore it, or are keenly aware, we now acknowledge that you have caught us time and time again as we careen toward the ground. Show us how you carried us on wings of eagles! Even as we were too young to be aware we were falling to certain death, you caught us.
As you made your covenant people your treasure, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, so you must desire a people today to carry on your life to the world. Teach us to be your treasured young eagles!
I love birdwatching and have binoculars for watching in my backyard or in parks or wilderness. On a recent family trip to Yellowstone National Park, I took the binoculars all the way to Yellowstone but kept forgetting to bring them on our game drives and hikes! Get your binoculars or with "the naked eye" do some bird watching. Observe a bird making a nest. Thank God for loving us, compassionately swooping to rescue us before we could fly, and actively teaching us to obey and fly.
Greg Taylor preaches for The Journey. Greg's wife, Jill, teaches math at Broken Arrow High School and Tulsa Community College. Greg and Jill have three adult children, Ashley, Anna, and Jacob. Greg is the author of many books, including his latest co-authored with Randy Harris, Daring Faith: Meeting Jesus in the Book of John.