Did Philly’s football franchise flash before you when you saw today’s title? That team interests some around here, but so do the raptors who first bore that name. The science of eagles intrigues—most of the sixty species inhabit Eurasia and Africa (making them known to biblical peoples), but only two are native to North America. Eagles sit at the top of the food chain as avian apex predators. So although other birds of prey look back over their shoulders before (or shortly after) striking a victim, eagles do not. The bald eagle, though far from the largest species, holds the record for bearing the heaviest verified burden—one flying off with a fifteen-pound fawn (significantly more than what the bird itself weighed).
Two things eagles do well—see and soar. Were your eyes eagle-like, you could stand on the roof of a ten-story building and spot an ant crawling on the ground. Colors would appear more brilliant, ultraviolet visible (to help you follow urine trails of small prey), your field of vision 340° instead of 180°.
Seeing and soaring are strengths of which the scriptures speak: “You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.” “Yahweh will bring a nation against you like an eagle swooping down.” “Saul and Jonathan were swifter than eagles, stronger than lions.” “Does the eagle soar at your command and build its nest on high? It dwells on a cliff; a rocky crag is its stronghold. From there it looks for food; its eyes detect it from afar.” “Those who hope in Yahweh will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles.”
God wants us to be eagle-like: far-sighted—per- ceiving even the unseen—not “nearsighted and blind, forgetting that we have been cleansed from our past sins.” And he wants us to soar, discontent to muddle among mundane matters. “I lift up my eyes to the hills.”