Sermon #1635 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: “As An Eagle”
Text: Deuteronomy 32:11-12
Subject: God’s Gracious Oversight of His People
Turn with me to Deuteronomy 32. Moses is giving his last word of instruction to the children of Israel. As he does, he begins his instruction with a song of praise to the Lord God, who had led them through the wilderness, caring for, providing for, and protecting them for forty-years. — According to God’s wise and good purpose, causing them to walk “in a straight way,” the children of Israel made an 11 day trip in 40 years! His purpose is threefold.
1. He wants to exalt and extol the Lord God who redeemed and brought his people out of the land of bondage. — That is my purpose today.
He begins his song, his instructive, doctrinal song, by calling the people of God to “ascribe greatness unto our God” (vv. 1-3).
(Deuteronomy 32:1-3) “Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. (2) My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: (3) Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.”
You will remember that the Lord proclaimed his name to Moses back in Exodus 34:6-7, when he hid him in the cleft of the rock and showed him his glory.
(Exodus 34:6-7) “And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, (7) Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.”
When Moses talks about publishing the name of the Lord, he is talking about our Lord Jesus Christ, Jehovah the Son. (Remember, his NAME is what he is, his character, his atributes!) He is saying, “I will proclaim the glorious attributes of God my Savior, in whom I trust.” There are many names by which the Lord God reveals himself to us in this Book.
· Jehovah-hoseenu — “The Lord our Maker” (Psa. 95:6). — He who is the Lord our Maker, not only made us, he has made us his people (1 Sam. 12:22).
· Jehovah-jireh – “The Lord Will Provide” (Gen. 22:14).
· Jehovah-nissi — The Lord our Banner (Exo. 17:15).
· Jehovah-rapha – “The Lord that Healeth Thee” (Ex 15:26).
· Jehovah-shalom — The Lord Our Peace (Joel 6:22-24).
· Jehovah-raah — The Lord Our Shepherd (Psa. 23:1).
· Jehovah-tsidkenu – “The Lord Our Righteousness” (Jer. 23:6).
· Jehovah-m’kaddesh — “The Lord that doth sanctify you” (Exo. 31:13).
· Jehovah-shammah — The Lord is there (Ezek. 48:35).
· Jehovah-Jesus — The Lord our Savior (Matt 1:21).
As he tells us to publish the name of the Lord, Moses calls for us to do so by ascribing greatness to our God. — “Ascribe ye greatness unto our God” (v. 3). Truly, he who is our God is great. He alone is great!
· Great in His Person!
· Great in His Purpose!
· Great in His Providence!
· Great in His Salvation!
Then, in verse 4, he tells us four specific aspects of the greatness of God our Savior.
· “He is the Rock.” — The Rock — The Rock of Salvation — The Rock of Refuge
· “His work is perfect.” — His work is all one; and it is perfect.
· “All his ways are judgment.” — All his ways are both righteous and wise.
· “A God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” — He who is God our Savior is the God of Truth, the God who is Truth, and the God who performs Truth.
2. The first thing Moses wanted to do was to extol and honor the Lord Jesus Christ, our great God and Savior. His second object was to remind us of God’s great goodness to us, to inscribe upon our hearts and minds the memory of his gracious works for us, with us, and in us, inspiring us with gratitude, love and devotion to our God.
God’s faithful servant begins by reminding us that we are a corrupt, sinful people, altogether undeserving of the least of his favors (vv. 5-6). Then he tells us to “remember the days of old” (vv. 7-8).
· Remember that everything God does in this world is according to his everlasting, immutable electing love and purpose of grace toward his people(v. 8).
(Deuteronomy 32:8) “When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.”
· Remember, children of God, that you are the the Lord’s chosen portion and the lot of his inheritance (v. 9).
(Deuteronomy 32:9) “For the LORD’S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.”
· Remember where you were and what you were when he called you by his grace (v. 10).
(Deuteronomy 32:10) “He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.”
Those words give us a biographical sketch of every saved sinner’s life. He found us. We didn’t find him. He found us in desert land, in a waste and howling wilderness. He has led us about, all the days of our lives. He has instructed us. And he has kept us as the apple of his eye. His providence has been good, only good. It is described in verses 13-14.
(Deuteronomy 32:13-14) “He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock; (14) Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape.”
3. Moses’ third object, in this chapter, if I understand it correctly was to inspire our faith in Christ, our God and Savior. He does this by using a very graphic, tender illustration of our God’s gracious oversight of his people (vv. 11-12).
(Deuteronomy 32:11-12) “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: (12) So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.”
Now, in the time that I have left, I want us to look at this tremendous, instructive picture of the great mercy and grace of our blessed Savior in his dealings with us.
“As the Eagle”
Like other creatures of our God, the eagle not only appears to show great affection for her young; but manifests tremendous superiority over other winged creatures in taking care of her brood. She provides for them and protects them, as other birds of the air do. But, in training them, she constantly shelters them from danger, far more than other birds do their young. The Lord our God seems to have created her with such excellence, that she might be illustrative of his affection for, tender care of, and protection of his children.
John Gill wrote, “Of all animals the eagle is most affectionate to its young, and most studiously careful of them. When it sees anyone coming to them, it will not suffer them to go away unpunished, but will beat them with its wings and tear them with its nails.”
“She stirreth up her nest.” — Though they might be naturally inclined to do so, the eagle will not allow her young to be lethargic. She stirs her nest, calling them to life and excitement. As she stirs her nest, she “fluttereth over them,” over her young. The eagle does not go into her nest suddenly. She first makes a noise and awakens her chicks with her wings, striking them against a tree or its branches. Being awakened, they receive her gladly, without fear.
On Her Wings
She “spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings.” — In this way she both teaches them to fly and protects them. Other birds carry their young in their talons. Held in their claws, the young might be easily snatched away and killed by some bird of prey. If someone from the ground should shoot at the bird, her young might be killed and the bird herself unharmed. But the eagle carries her young on her wings, so that no arrow from beneath can touch the young, until it has first pierced the heart of the old bird.
“So the Lord”
“So the Lord alone did lead them.” — What a precious word this is to us! What a picture this is of our God’s tender mercy toward us in Christ! First, I cannot avoid showing you that there is here a picture, at least it appears so to me, of our blessed Savior’s wondrous work of redemption.
The eagle, you may recall, is declared in the Levitical law to be an unclean bird (Lev. 11:13-16). Yet, our Lord delights to use the unclean eagle as a representation of himself as our Savior. He says, in Exodus 19:4, — “I bare you on eagle’s wings, and brought you unto myself.” Certainly, this speaks of his protection of us. But it also seems to me to be an allusion to the fact that he took our uncleanness (our sins) upon himself, making our sins his own, making himself unclean before the holy Lord God, and bearing his redeemed on eagle’s wings, made us the very righteousness of God in him, that he might bring us to God.
What unspeakable mercy this is! He, who in such infinite love and grace, became both sin and a curse for his us (2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13), compares himself to the unclean eagle, when made sin for us; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him!
But this also portrays the grace and power of our God in in our experience of his great salvation. He who was made sin for us is our omnipotent Savior. His wings, like the eagle’s, are broad enough and strong enough to carry his own. Our great God, “the God of all grace,” by the irresistible power of his Holy Spirit, stirs up his nest. He will not allow his children, chosen, redeemed sinners, to remain as they are born into this world. He would not allow us to sleep forever in the unawakened state of sin and death. He has brought us out of our unregenerate state of death.
We were at ease and had no desire to be awakened and stirred out of our death slumber. But the Lord our God, because of his great love for us, awakened us, stirred us up, and brought us out, by sending a gospel preacher in the power of his Spirit to arouse us. He sent his law into our consciences, working in us a sense of guilt, wrath, and death. By his Spirit, revealing Christ in us, he convinced us of our sin, of Christ’s righteousness, and of judgment finished. Exerting the omnipotent power of his grace, he plucked us as brands out of the burning. Taking us up on his omnipotent wings of mercy, he teaches us to fly with heart aspirations after him, setting our hearts upon Christ and things above.
He has led us and fed us all the days of our lives. He has, as it were, hovered over us, though we knew it not, from our mother’s wombs. Even now, he causes us to “mount up with wings as eagles,” to soar aloft in the exercise of faith, hope, and love, entering within into the veil, into the holiest of all by the blood of Christ, living in the constant and comfortable expectation of “the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” He lifts us up from our low estate and raises us in sweet communion with himself, bearing us on his heart, in his hands, and on his arm, supporting us in all our temptations and afflictions and carrying us through all our troubles and difficulties, safe to eternal glory and happiness.
The eagle will usually lay three eggs, but normally only hatches and rears one, devoting everything to its chosen. So the Lord our God has chosen One, even our Lord Jesus Christ, as his Elect; and, blessed be his name, he has chosen us in him and as one with him. Though all the rest of Adam’s fallen race are left to themselves, as the unhatched eggs in the eagle’s nest, our great God and Father devotes himself entirely to his chosen!
Let every ransomed sinner rejoice and give thanks for this sweet, comforting word of grace from our God. — “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings; so the Lord alone did lead him.” Christ, our God and Savior, has born and still bears us upon eagles’ wings. He stirred us up and brought us to himself. He will not allow any of his little ones to perish. It is written, “he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.” While on his omnipotent wings of mercy, nothing can touch us until it first touches him. Nothing can harm us, until it first harms him. Nothing can destroy us, until it first destroys him! How safe, how secure we are on his wings!
Then, in verse 12 we read, “The Lord alone did lead him.” It was the Lord alone who performed all this work for his people of old. And it is the Lord alone who has performed all this great work for us.
· He alone separated us from the sons of Adam in eternal election, by special redemption, and in effectual calling.
· He alone chose us as his portion.
· He alone found us by his grace.
· He alone has led us about.
· He alone has instructed us by his Spirit.
· He alone has kept us as the apple of his eye.
· He alone spreads abroad his omnipotent wings, takes us up, and carries us on his wings to eternal glory!
After commenting on this portion of Scripture, Robert Hawker made the following supplication to our God. Blessed are those whose hearts echo his prayer. — “Oh Lord, give me grace rightly to enjoy and use such marvellous blessings. And since, to the wisdom and strength of the eagle, thou hast now added the tenderness and solicitude of the hen, do thou, Lord, gather me under thy wings, and nourish me with thy love and favor, that I may be thine for ever, and live here by faith, as hereafter I hope to live with thee in glory.”
 Date: Danville — Sunday Evening — October 23, 2005
Todds RD Grace Church, Lexington, KY — (WED 10/26/05)
Tape # Y-79b
Readings: Merle Hart and Ron Wood
 I am aware that many refer to this text as a “proof” that the Bible contains errors, asserting that “Eagles do not carry their young on their wings or on their backs, but in their claws, as other birds.” That may or may not be true. If it is, that does not prove an error. It may be that the passage is simply giving us a metaphor, picturing our Savior’s care of his people. However, I read this week of one (Sir Humphrey Davy) who was thinking about this text and that criticism of it while he was hunting. As he did he saw with his own eyes a pair of eagles teaching two young birds to fly. He wrote, “I once saw a very interesting sight above one of the crags of Ben Nevis, as I was going in the pursuit of black game. Two parent eagles were teaching their offspring, two young birds, the maneuvers of flight. They began by rising from the top of the mountain, in the eye of the sun. It was about midday, and bright for this climate. They at first made small circles, and the young birds imitated them. They paused on their wings, waiting till they had made their first flight, and then took a second and larger gyration: always rising towards the sun, and enlarging their circle of flight so as to make a gradually ascending spiral. The young ones still and slowly followed, apparently flying better as they mounted; and they continued this sublime exercise, always rising, till they became mere points in the air, and the young ones were lost, and afterwards their parents, to our aching sight.”