As an eagle stirs up her nest, flutters over her young, spreads abroad her wings, takes them, bears them on her wings:…
I. DIVINE INCITEMENTS. It is wonderful how happy men become sometimes in the worldly nest. A man gets the wife he wants. The children come, and prosperity, and kindliness, and health, and comfort, and reputation — and he says in his heart, "I shall die in my nest after living in it for long happy years." When lo! there comes somehow, and from some quarter, a stirring up of the nest — incitements, surprises, changes, losses, controversies, sorrows. The young birds are growing, and the nest is too small, and they crowd against each other, and that makes a stirring up. Or there are griefs and losses that crush the unportioned heart and shake it all trembling out of its security. It were useless to attempt to describe all the ways by which God can shatter what man builds, drive away what man gathers, take what man in vain tries to hold. The thing to be done is to persuade ourselves that all this is indeed sent for our good. The eagle does not stir up its nest with any ill design. God does not bring His forces of change and trouble upon men with a view to grieve and ruin them. He, too, has only good intent. His voices, His strokes, seem to say to men, "What mean ye, ye sleepers? Awake. You have enough of that. You have in the creature no abiding portion; seek it, and you will find it in Me."
II. DIVINE EXAMPLE. "As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young"; as showing them the way to fly; so God sets before us the examples of the good, the strivings of the great, the lives of the saints, and chiefly the perfect life of His incarnate Son. He is always showing us the way; always rising into the purer air, that we may follow; always showing new paths, and pointing to high places; and never yet have the poor passing pleasures of earth been made to look so fair as God makes goodness seem, shining in the lives of His holy ones and perfectly in Himself.
III. DIVINE PROTECTION. "The eagle spreadeth abroad her wings." This, indeed, may be no more than the full expansion of the meaning of the former phrase, the spreading abroad of the wings being the complete example of the method of flying. But the probability rather seems to be that the spreading of the wings is the promise of protection to the young birds, both while in the nest and while attempting to fly. God protects — whom? Not lazy, selfish creatures whose chief aim is to make the world a nest. God protects — what? Not indolence, cowardice, selfishness, fear, indifference. He protects those who stir themselves when the nest is stirred; those who spread the wing in answer to the outspread wings above them; those who work; those who stay by the task; those who refuse to leave the field of duty; those, in a word, who try, at least, to mount upon wings as eagles, to run without being weary, to walk without fainting.
IV. DIVINE COMPULSION. "As an eagle...taketh them," if they will, in helpfulness: if they will not, in compulsion; in one way or another, they must be got out of the nest. I have seen, not an eagle indeed, but a bird of some size, give a motherly or fatherly push to a strong young creature sitting on the edge of the nest engaged in a general survey of the world below. "It is time," said the mother, "that you should go down and see life more closely for yourself, and wing your way through the air, and try what you can find in the fields — be a bird, like your ancestors!" Taketh them. These takings of God at certain periods and epochs of the individual life are very instructive, if you will observe them. I mean His takings of the stronger kind. His expulsions. His banishments. Then He is always ready with suitable and sufficient helps to those who are thus completely launched and started upon the new life. "As an eagle...beareth them on her wings." The mother eagle comes beneath her young one in the air when it is about to sink, through fear or weakness, bears it up on her own outspread wings and carries it back to the nest or along through the air, until weakness is recruited and fear is overcome.
(A. Raleigh, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: