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Who renews your youth like the eagle’s

22-03-2015 - Posted by Andre Piet

index_1 What is David referring to, when he, in Psalm 103:5, praises God as the One Who “renews your youth like the eagle”? There are various explanations put forward. The best known is perhaps that the feathers of an eagle are renewed, again and again. That’s right in itself, but it is not characteristic of a vulture or an eagle, because the replacement of feathers is experienced by most birds, annually. Recently, I heard the explanation that it is referring to the grinding of the beak on a rock or stone. Still others point out that a Griffon Vulture (which is here the ‘Eagle’; Heb. nesher – see Job 39:30-33 and Micah 1:16), can become more than a hundred years old. That may be so, but it escapes me what this has to do with the renewal of youth. Would Scripture itself, perhaps, not provide an answer? I think it does. In Isaiah 40 we read the beautiful words:

30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint. (KJV)

Note the three parallels with Psalm 103: there is youth, renewal and the latter is compared with eagles. However much youth is characterized by vigor and vitality, Isaiah notes that in spite of this, young men grow tired and weary, and also stumble. But those who wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength and be rejuvenated. And that is illustrated on the basis of eagles: “they shall mount up with wings as eagles”. In other words, the rejuvenation is compared to eagles taking off by means of their colossal wings. Even proud and energetic young people can be down and can fall. But those who wait upon the LORD, in contrast, rise to great heights. Remember that vultures and eagles only need to spread their wings. It is the wind and the thermals that do the work, where the wind is a type of God’s spirit. In Hebrew, the word for “wind” is identical to the word for “spirit” (ruwach). And thermal (= heat rising) refers to the warmth of God’s love. Those who wait upon the Lord spread out their arms to Him. And it are His words (which are spirit and life; John 6:63) that will lift a man “on high”, literally and figuratively. The realization of God’s love, which includes all of His creation, causes man to soar. Not that thereby, the circumstances change, but God’s words lift a man above them. And as eagles, we look down (sharply!), from above, on our earthly circumstances and learn to relativize them. That gives strength and revitalises. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2CxK-TQxkM

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