Deuteronomy

God’s Flight School – Deuteronomy 32:11

God’s Flight School
Deuteronomy 32:11
By Dave Redick*

Introduction

During the winter of 1940 Josephine Kuntz’ husband, a house painter and textile worker, was temporarily unemployed because of the weather and a seasonal lay-off. It was a difficult time for the family. They literally had no money. Their eighteen month old daughter, Rachel, was recovering from pneumonia and wasn’t doing well. The doctor insisted Rachel eat a boiled egg each day, but even that was beyond their means.

“Why not pray for an egg?” suggested a young friend. They were a church-going family, but the idea of actually praying for their needs was something they had never really considered. Josephine wasted no time. On her knees she prayed that God would provide an egg each morning for her daughter.

Later that morning Josephine heard some cackling coming from the hedge fence in front of their home. Among the bare branches sat a fat red hen. (This is a true story.) She had never seen this hen before and had no idea where it came from. She just watched in amazement as the hen laid an egg and then proceeded down the road. In a moment the hen was gone but an egg sat in her yard.

What do you do under such circumstances but thank God? The next day Josephine was startled once again to hear cackling in the hedge. The red hen came by every day for over a week and repeated this routine. Each day little Rachel had a fresh boiled egg. The little girl got better, the weather improved, and Josephine’s husband went back to work. “The next morning I waited by the window and watched,” Josephine says, but the red hen did not return. [“The Little Red Hen.” Josephine M. Kuntz, SNOWFLAKES IN SEPTEMBER, (Nashville: Dimensions for Living, 1992), pp 29-30.]

 

God takes care of His people, and though we don’t always see it in such striking and noticeable ways, the Bible promises that He will take care of those who are His.

There is a beautifully graphic description of God’s care for Israel over in Deuteronomy 32. Tonight just meditate on one aspect>

 

READING: Deuteronomy 32:1-12

 

Tonight zero in on is verse 11 Let’s read it again. “Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them, and carries them on His pinions.”

What a beautiful picture of how God deals with his people! A mother eagle training her young to fly. In the same way the eagle deals with her young, God dealt with Israel and deals with us today.

“God’s Flight School.”

There are about seven stages that a young eagle goes through when learning to fly. These stages are also evident in God’s “training” us to live the life of faith. That is the basis of the comparison. As I describe them to you, listen and see if you recognise any of them in your life.

 

  1. The Demonstration Stage

 

As the time draws near for a young eagle to begin flight training, the mother eagle will frequently push off from the perch where the nest is and hover above her young. In response, the eaglets begin to flap their wings wildly in imitation. It’s as natural and instinctive for them as breathing.

 

That is what verse 11 is referring to when it says the eagle “hovers” over its young. At this stage the eaglets don’t have enough feathers to fly, but they begin to develop their wing muscles. The key word here is demonstration. The eagle demonstrates flying for her young and they imitate her in response.

 

What a great picture to describe what God has done for us through Jesus! Jesus came to earth as Immanuel, “God with us”. He demonstrated the kind of faith and life we should be leading.

Romans 5:8 “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

 

God hasn’t left us to figure things out on our own. He has cared enough about us to give us a living demonstration. Remember when Jesus said, “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father”? Jesus was and is the perfect and indispensable demonstration of how we should live the life of faith.

 

  1. The Discomfort Stage

 

In verse 11, it says, Like an eagle that stirs up its nest…”

It’s one thing for those young eagles to flap their wings in the security of their down-filled home. It’s quite another for them to move to the edge, look over, and imagine launching out on nothing! Naturally, they don’t want to do it. So the adult eagle does something the young eagles won’t understand until later. She begins “stirring up” the nest! She actually begins to poke through the bottom and tear the nest apart. The young eagles are literally forced out.

 

What often happens to us at this stage of God’s teaching the faith-life is that we begin to be bothered about something. We recognise that something isn’t right. We begin to get a little worried, a little anxious. There is a growing uneasiness in us.. Like Job in Job 30:27, we might feel, My heart is troubled and restless…”

 

It can be about anything that is bothering us. A relationship. An unfulfilled dream. A stress in our lives. A fear. A weakness. An indulgence. We find ourselves thinking, “One of these days I’m going to have to start working on that.” The trouble is, like the eaglet is reluctant to get too close the edge of the nest, we, too, are reluctant to move out of our comfort zone and face whatever it is.

Is God stirring up our nest. Is he getting us ready for change. Is he ruffling our comfort zone.

 

Perhaps – our neglected finances. – a relationship he wants us to mend or maybe even one He wants us to break off. Is God telling you something?

The sad thing is that some of us live our entire lives clinging to the nest like terrified eagle chicks, afraid to do anything about our problem / challenges. We’d rather live with discomfort than risk flying. “At least the discomfort is predictable,” we think. “If I were to change, who knows what might happen?”

If we stalled at the discomfort stage, we might understand why God brings us to the next stage of our learning. It’s called

 

  1. The Danger Stage

 

Eventually, the mother eagle gets all the kids out of the nest. Have you ever seen a full-grown eagle still perched in the nest of its parents? No, because one way or the other, he gets booted out of the nest with nothing between he and the hard ground but air. He either learns to fly or falls to his death. Eagles weren’t meant to be nest-sitters. They were meant to fly! This danger stage isn’t mentioned directly in verse 11, but it is certainly implied.

 

What about us? God often allows a danger / crisis / event into our lives that moves the issue we’re ignoring off the back burner. He sends us a wake up call. The discomfort / pain gets so bad we can’t ignore it anymore.

 

ILLUS.: Suddenly we get fired or we have an accident or a serious illness. Perhaps a spouse threatens to walk out or a creditor starts foreclosure. Floods come. Or maybe just a small voice in our conscience!

 

Like the eagle’s nest, the bottom falls out from under our lives and we realise we’ve got to do something – fast!

It has probably happened to all of us. It happened to King David. In Psalm 119:67, it says, Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Thy word.” It took a crisis of affliction to show David the need to learn to keep God’s word.

 

Remember, God wants us to fly, not flutter in the nest. He wants us to grow up!

 

 

 

  1. The Decision Stage

 

The nature of danger or a crisis is that it forces us off the fence or, to use our analogy, out of the nest. We have to decide, “Am I going to move ahead or am I going to retreat? Am I going to face this or try to run away?

With the nest suddenly gone out from under him and the ground coming up fast, the young eagle has a choice to make. He realises, “I’ve gotta do something – Now!” So he chooses to fly or fall – to soar or smash on the rocks below – literally, to live or die.

God often forces us to that place, have you noticed? Especially if we are reluctant to grow or pay attention to the need to grow.

Are there decisions, maybe difficult ones, that you need to make?

 

The next stage is so close to the decision stage that I was tempted to put them both under the same heading, but there is a difference ..

 

  1. The Direction Change Stage

 

The young eagle, falling fast, has decided he must do something. What is it? He must change direction! He must start going up instead of down.

 

  • Sometimes we are going completely wrong and we need to turn around – its called repentance. Sometimes we are reluctant to change direction. Maybe because we haven’t really made a decision to change. Oh, we were sorry things were the way they were. We even cried some real tears over it.. But there is no direction change as a result.

Paul warned us in 2 Corinthians 7:10 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. (NIV)

– two people side by side who are sorry about their sins. One had a sorrow that produced repentance – a change of direction. The other was just sorry. There was no repentance.

  • Sometimes – no sin – just God wants to change the direction we’re going, which if we ignore leads to sinful disobedience.

God is teaching us to fly – to live the faith life in a way that is pleasing to Him and brings us to maturity.

 

  1. The Doing Stage

 

The adult eagle can teach her young to fly but she cannot fly for them. They must do it. Flying takes effort on the part of each individual.

The Bible says in Galatians 6:5, Each one shall bear his own load…” In the realm of our learning to walk the Christian walk, we must put in effort. The very common “do nothing” religion around us is false. It is an aberration of the devil. It is a cheap substitute for the faith of the Bible.

Does this mean that we get to heaven on our own merits? Not at all! But God wants us to learn to fly.

God blesses while we obey

ILLUS.: Israel crossing the Red Sea? Moses said “Move forward!” The people obeyed. Then when the feet of the priests touched the water, it divided.

 

The eagle learns to fly by striving against the gravity that is pulling him down – in short, by flying / doing. Our faith grows strong with exercise!!

 

  1. The Deliverance Stage

 

This a beautifully reassuring stage: He spread His wings to catch them, He carries them on His pinions.”

I am told that the adult eagle will actually swoop down and catch her falling offspring on her back and carry them back up to the home perch. What a beautiful picture of what God does for us!

 

Paul told young Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:11, “What persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord delivered me!”

Psalm 34:19, Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

2 Peter 2:9, The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation…”

 

You see, God doesn’t leave us to do it on our own. It’s just that we must be about the doing in order for the deliverance to come. The promise of deliverance is there. We must believe it and move ahead. We must be striving to fly even if we can’t do it perfectly yet.

Conclusion

 

God does want you to learn to fly.

He will put you through flight school

You can ignore / resist it, but it won’t stop the process

You can co-operate and learn to fly for Him!

Song on Tape “It’s time to fly” – Chris Christensen

 

God’s Flight School

 

Deuteronomy 32:11

 

  1. The Demonstration Stage

 

  1. The Discomfort Stage

 

 

  1. The Danger Stage

 

 

  1. The Decision Stage

 

 

  1. The Direction Change Stage

 

  1. The Doing Stage

 

 

  1. The Deliverance Stage
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