This week’s Parashah Torah Portion Yitro is taken from Exodus 18:1-20:23. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers, as he unpacks and answers the question: "Why did ALMIGHTY choose the imagery of an eagle to describe His love for and providence over us? After all, the eagle is not even a kosher bird!" The Bible speaks about eagles especially in Isaiah 40:31!
Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Torah Portion:
Lion of Judah Speaks: Parashah Torah Portion Yitro - Exodus 18:1-20:23
Exodus 19:3-6 says, “Moshe went up to Elohim, and Adonai called to him from the mountain: “Here is what you are to say to the household of Ya’akov, to tell the people of Israel: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you will pay careful attention to what I say and keep My covenant, then you will be My own treasure from among all the peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you will be a kingdom of Cohanim for me, a nation set apart. These are the words you are to speak to the people of Israel.: Why did Almighty choose the imagery of an eagle to describe His love for and providence over us? After all, the eagle is not even a kosher bird! The Bible speaks about eagles especially in Isa. 40:31, “Those who hope in Adonai will renew their strength, they will soar aloft as with eagles’ wings; when they are running, they won’t grow weary, when they are walking, they won’t get tired.” How do eagles reflect the children of Israel’s spiritual and natural journey…how do they reflect our own spiritual and natural journey?
One of the most famous comments comes from Rashi: “All other birds carry their young in their talons, out of fear of a larger predator attacking them from behind and above. The eagle, however, fears no other bird, only man. For this reason, it carries its young on its wings, reasoning that if attacked by arrows, it would suffer the injury, not their young! Ex. 14:8-20 reveals that when the Egyptians attacked the Hebrews at the Red Sea; Elohim sent angels to situate themselves between the camp of Israel and the Egyptian camp and the Divine clouds absorbed the missiles and arrows!
The eagle possesses all 4 symbols of non-kosher animals: no extra toe, no crop, the skin of the stomach does not peel off, and it is a predator. Elohim chose the eagle to express His unconditional love for us, which extends to us even if we are mired in the depths of impurity. For this reason, the verse ends in Ex. 19:4 with “And I have brought you to Me.”
In the deliverance of Israel from Egypt Elohim brought freedom to them in perfect timing. Elohim managed His time to gather His people and if He had waited a second longer, the Israelites would have been too impure, at which time they passed the point of no return. Had they left a second earlier, He would not have kept His Word regarding the 400 years of exile. Elohim had to time the exodus perfectly, just as He times the eagle’s movements which is why Elohim describes the exodus as having carried us “on eagles wings.”
What does it teach us? It teaches us that we have a unique relationship with our Creator. (Individual and communal). It teaches us about Elohim’s protection, His unqualified love for us, and Elohim’s miraculous nature of that unqualified love and Omnipotent protection. Exodus 19:4 tells us, “And I will bring you to Me” refers to Mt. Sinai! The revelation at Mt. Sinai represents the onset of the legal and ritual relationship between Father and His nation. Elohim tells us that we must NEVER forget that the Commander, to who we are responsible, is the same one who carries us on eagles’ wings. There is no “good cop” and “bad cop.” The Elohim of love and the Elohim of justice are one and the same.
Every mitzvah, the dos and don’ts find their source from the same love, compassion, and covenant that describes Yah as our perfect benefactor. Sinai was the wedding between Elohim and us and it was the chuppah under which marriage was affected. Remember, as we begin the more legalistic parts of Torah they are not devoid of that eagle imagery. The complete Torah stems from Divine ethics, godly relationship, and moral obligation based on the precedence of a loving relationship. Elohim describes Himself as the one who took us out of Egypt reminding us of that bond, the loving eagle who swoops us up in the nick of time, who loves us without stipulation, and who would rather suffer than inflict pain on us!
What was Elohim revealing to us in relationship with the eagle? First, the nest: It was not only a nursery but it’s their school. The mere location was a teaching moment as it set on the face of clefts and inaccessible places with branches woven in a skillful way that rarely comes apart. It was lined with feathers and made comfortable to the eaglets. However, when the eagles get to a certain size or maturity…everything changes!
One day the mother returns with no food but hovers over the nest, almost like a hummingbird, demonstrating what those wings are for because an eagle was meant to fly and if separated from its parents it will never learn to fly but would grovel around in the dirt like a chicken. Eagles have to be taught and that’s the mother’s job…so she first demonstrates! Second: She approaches them and pushes her head up against one and pushes it closer to the edge of the nest. She pushes the eagle over the edge and the eaglet falls…surely to be destroyed!
In a flash she swoops down and catches the eaglet on her back and takes it back to the nest. She does it over and over again. Does she hate it? They were made to fly and they don’t know it…she never lets them hit bottom but she does let them fall! Because they have to learn something they don’t know!
Thirdly: She decides to clean house so she pulls feathers out and pulls the leaves out and she begins to take sticks out of the middle and breaks them off and stands them straight up in the nest. This makes their living space very uncomfortable! She knows they will never fly if not taught and being too comfortable is a hinderance. Deut. 32:11 says, “like an eagle that stirs up her nest, hovers over her young, spreads out her wings’, takes them and carries them as she flies.” Elohim is out to mature us because we were made to fly and He will stir our nest…our world! We’re created in the image of Elohim and made to fly and train our young to do the same! Elohim knows our comfortable lives can be an anchor to our souls which stops us from flying and doesn’t allow us to feed ourselves. We become so dependent on our possessions and our support systems so Elohim destroys the nest… for our own good!
Eagles don’t fly like other birds. Eagles do flap their wings from time to time but eagles will sit perched for hours …they have an inborn ability to sense the motion of air currents. Eagles often won’t budge until the right breeze comes along. When it does, the eagle just simply lets go and is borne aloft on the wings of the wind! Normal birds hate storms but eagles love storms because it forces them higher and higher! We are to “soar on wings like eagles”! The word “wind” in Hebrew is “Ruach” which means it is pointing us to a different kind of life many in Christendom experience. The Word is talking about lives of service in which w
they are ready to serve Elohim because they’ve made up their minds to worship Elohim!
We never have to be asked, “Are you going to serve Elohim today?” WE ARE READY in season and out of season! Eagle believers are those who seek to find out where Elohim is going and then go with Him! Don’t fight against the wind currents…find out what Elohim’s doing and enter into it! Yeshua never acted independently! He never moved on His own but whatever He saw the Father do, He moved with it! We need to develop an ability to sense the motion of the Ruach!
Don’t be the opposite of an eagle believer who works for Elohim instead of serving Elohim. We know who they are because of their disposition…constantly tired, broke down and unsatisfied. We have a simple call and that is to mimic the eagle! Wait on Adonai and the wind of the Ruach will renew our strength so we can soar on wings like eagles!
One last principle: eagles’ eyes and their death. Eagles see what others cannot (Job 39:27-29). To be an eagle our lives will not mesh with the standards or perceptions of our day. Our lives will be a challenge to the values of society today and people won’t understand our decisions or our actions. “Turn your eyes upon Yeshua—look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” Hebrews 11:13 says, “All these people kept on trusting until they died, without receiving what had been promised. They had only seen it and welcomed it from a distance, while acknowledging that they were aliens and temporary residents on the earth.” These people of faith were undeterred by obstacles or frightening situations!
An eagle’s death is a beautiful thing; but not easy to explain. Eagles seem to have a premonition when it comes time to die: they leave their nests, fly to a rock (always a rock), they fasten their talons on the front of the rock, and they look straight into the rising or setting sun and die! I hope you understood this…their feet on a rock looking straight into the sun! However we die may it be with our feet on the ROCK and our face toward the SON!
However, to grow up an eagle, you have to be born an eagle! We must be born again…we must respond to Him! There is an act of appropriation. You have to receive salvation in order to experience it! Accept Yeshua HaMashiach as your Messiah…Become an eagle!
Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha,
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May this Sabbath cause you soar like an eagle. Spread your wings and let the Ruach lift you up as you ascend into the Throne room. It is time we prepare for the outpouring of our Yah! See you at the altar!