I’ve always loved birds. I’ve had canaries, parakeets, chickens, ducks, geese, and even an owl as pets. My children have often collected feathers for me because they know how much I appreciate them. Now my grandchildren do it as well.
I take comfort in knowing that many of God’s servants, including King David (Psalm 50:11) and even Jesus (Matthew 6:26), shared my interest. You see, they were bird lovers too.
John the Baptist watched, fascinated, as the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus ‘like a dove’. Raised in urban, ancient Egypt, Moses was forever impacted by a bird scene he most likely observed while spending weeks on the mount with God.
Perhaps no verse in the entire Bible captures the nature of the Holy Spirit more than this one. Let me break it down.
As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings.
The Holy Spirit is the One who anoints the prophet’s eagle eyes. He sees from a distance – laser-focused, penetrating, and relentless. We know when a prophet speaks; but it’s his vision – his ability to see movement on the other side of deep, dark ravines – that forges his words into weapons, that make his voice a rallying cry to action or war.
Like an eagle, the Holy Spirit hovers over each of our lives. We see this characteristic manifested in the Cloud that camped over the nation of Israel in the wilderness as well as when He hovered over the face of the waters in creation (Genesis 1:2).
Through this, we understand that, wherever He broods, darkness is bathed in light, chaos surrenders to peace, and confusion gives way to order.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives is absolutely essential. It has always been, and always will be ‘Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit.’ It’s only and ever through Him that anything transformational or eternal is accomplished.
He spreads out His wings around us, sheltering and nurturing us as only the Comforter can. David famously marvelled that we’re covered with His feathers and given refuge under the shadow of His wings (Psalm 91:4).
There’s a sweetness to this endearing image that, once impressed upon the recesses of our hearts, never fails to bring a tickling smile.
What Moses saw next could have become a National Geographic highlight reel. He witnessed those scrawny eaglets climbing onto Papa’s back, perched in first-class comfort, and being regally carried far above threats and danger.
Or maybe, he just wanted them out for a bit of fun! For Moses, this wasn’t about posting a scintillating meme for likes. This was deeply personal. Moses had been struck by the realisation that he was just like one of those chicks and God the Holy Spirit was his majestic sweep-me-off-my-feet Giant Eagle.
Peter later described the work of those who wrote the Scriptures thus: ‘No prophecy of scripture comes from one’s own interpretation … but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.’ (2 Peter 1:20-21 BSB), Amen.
Finally, Moses writes of how the eagle stirred its nest. Beloved, stirring the hearts of men is the exclusive domain of the Holy Spirit. He stirred the prophets. He stirred King Cyrus. He stirred Samson. He stirred people to give sacrificially. He stirred people to rise and build. He stirs people who were once apathetic to give themselves unreservedly to divine purposes.
He stirs nations to set aside everything else to seek a visitation from God. To be stirred is to be given a holy injection of resolve to pursue God, to exercise our gifts, to be bold and courageous, and to move as one man in lockstep with His will. Stir us, O God!
The Holy Spirit has taken the backseat in the Body of Christ for too long. Pastor Yang’s message on Vision Sunday was more than an invitation for the Holy Spirit to come – it was a declaration that ripped the heavens open above us.
Even now, He’s hovering over us, brooding to catalyse the great revival we’ve all been longing for. Like a mighty Eagle, at this very moment, He is stirring our nest.
The hour is late. ‘Bird Lovers’, it’s time to arise. Get yourselves to a high place and strap the binoculars on your neck in watchful anticipation. Clothe yourselves in forerunner’s garb, that together, we may witness the Holy Spirit descending on our generation – like a dove.