As an eagle stirs up her nest, flutters over her young, spreads abroad her wings, takes them, bears them on her wings:…
We have seen something like this, in the first place, in the domestic and secular life round about us. Parents rear up their children by the hearthstone of the family. And I pity the home which has no family altar. The fireside is pleasant in the family home, the society of brothers and sisters exceedingly delightful; but the nest is full — it will not hold them. They cannot always be boys and girls, earning nothing and consuming much; that would bring idleness and want. So prudent fathers stir up the nest. The eldest fly out and try to shift for themselves. At first it is hard work and sad. For a boy to push out from some sweet rural home into such a vast world as this has terrors in it. The lad is about to fly for himself. At first he sinks and is torn by the briars; but at length, by the blessing of God, he rises. He has strong arms to work, and a healthy brain to think. He has some failures, perhaps, but failures are rather blessings, for they discipline one to skill and trust in God. But with the aid of the strong arm of Him who helps those who help themselves he rises. By and by he builds his nest among the cliffs with the true eagle spirit. He becomes a thrifty merchant, a useful citizen. Best of all, it is when parental prayers are remembered, and by God's grace he reaches that highest style of man — a fervent Christian. Now, in the next place, let us look at the spiritual aspect of the conditions. God deals with Christians as an eagle deals with her young. He sees we are all trying to nestle. We fill these earthly nests for ourselves — fill them with all manner of comforts — and then settle down and fix our affections on them. Wealth increases, ambition grows. The old residence is given up, and a new one is built. Earnest, benevolent work for Christ — prayer meetings, and all that style of godliness — come to be as much tabooed in that luxurious home as a leper would be tabooed in London. If bankruptcy is allowed to bring that splendid estate to the hammer, do you wonder? And if death comes in, and writes paleness on some cheek of roses, do you wonder? God saw His children were beginning to nestle, and determined, for their souls' good, to stir them up. And so He stirred up the nest — not in revenge, not in cruelty; He did it in love — love to the sinner and love to the immortal souls of those who were flinging away their life in self-indulgence. The third part of this prolific text is this: when an immortal soul nestles down in sinful joy or worldly possessions, awakened, unconverted, is not that a terrible calamity? Can a worse curse come upon any such soul than to be let alone? If it is true that a young eagle, left alone, would become a mere weakling, starved, and never able to fly, how much more true is it that every soul, if left to itself, will come to ruin! It is Divine love that first awakens the sinner, even if it be at the cost of making the heart bleed. Nobody likes to be wakened up from a comfortable sleep at midnight. But if you hear the fire alarm, and see the smoke belching out from the opposite neighbour's house, and somebody rushes out through the suffocating smoke into your hall and cries "Fire! fire!" you do not strike him; you drop on your knees and tremblingly thank him with all your heart. He roused you, but saved you. When one of our Arctic companies of explorers went to search years ago for Sir John Franklin among snow and icebergs — alcohol froze in a bottle by their side, and the thermometer went to seventy degrees below freezing point — the poor fellows, overcome with cold, lay down to sleep. Warm homes and delightful firesides mingled with their visions. But the leader knew that half an hour more of that delusive sleep would leave every one of them corpses on the ice. He roused them up. They said, "We are not cold; we only want a little rest." Half an hour more would have left them stiff. So their leader struck them, boxed them, bruised them — anything to drive them off the slumber. Poor fellows! they staggered down into the cabin, but they were saved. The arm that roused them was the arm that saved them.
(T. L. Cuyler, 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: