Yesterday my wife showed me a video clip of an eagle carrying a three-foot shark in its talons. How did she know I needed an opening line for this article today? How does an eagle do it? Have you seen the videos of the small plane flying parallel to the beach and filming the many sharks swimming near the beach? This will make you want to let your five-year-old play in the water, right? Here’s what Hosea says: “Sound the alarm! The enemy descends like an eagle on the people of the Lord, for they have broken my covenant and revolted against my law.” (Hosea 8:1) I read that eagles can descend at speeds up to 100 mph. At that speed the prey has very little warning. He will be in the talons before he knows what hit him.
Generals who command armies are opportunists. They look for the advantage. When Eisenhower made the decision to invade the continent of Europe in June of 1944 he originally planned to do so on June 5. However, the weather did not permit it. Men sat in cramped quarters for hours waiting to see if the weather would clear. The weathermen told the general that they expected an improvement in the weather for a brief time on June 6, and then it would get worse. Eisenhower saw the opportunity and like an eagle the Allies swooped in. There is that moment when a runner, a racehorse, or a guard driving toward the basket makes a move decisively. Has your enemy the devil ever made a move on you? What was happening in your life when he did? What caused him to act at that precise moment to descend on you? Peter knew something about the enemy swooping in. He was sitting around a fire pit, trying to fit in. The devil descended in the form of a maiden and had him in his grasp before he knew it. Later Peter wrote these words: “Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
How does one avoid becoming a victim? Hosea and Peter tell us at least one precaution to take. Hosea says we must hear the alarm, and Peter says we must live careful lives. One of my smoke detectors malfunctioned recently, and I had to wait several days before a tech could come out. We were more vulnerable to being caught off guard by a fire because our alarm system was compromised. I fear that too many live today with a compromised alarm system. Conscience is our early warning system. It alerts us to the presence of the enemy and the danger we are in. I think some folks need to change the battery in their conscience. Here’s what the Hebrew writer says: “A person who is living on milk isn’t very far along in the Christian life and doesn’t know much about doing what is right. Solid food is for the mature, who have trained themselves to recognize the difference between right and wrong and then do what is right.” (Hebrews 5:13-14) Merely being aware of the dangers in life, recognizing the end game of a temptation, and seeing the signs of an approaching enemy are mature exercises. Situational awareness can help you avoid the circling eagle and the prowling lion.
Israel had broken the covenant and revolted against God’s law, the two things meant to protect them from moral and spiritual harm. When the eagle flies there are two things we must have, covenant protection and legal boundaries. The covenant is our covering. The law is our defense. Our husband can only protect us if we are home with him. Gomer was stepping outside her covenant with Hosea. Hosea had a legal right to Gomer as his wife, but she stepped away from this defense. God can only protect us when we honor our covenant with Him and stay within the bounds of our legal relationship with Him.
Look up-way up-hundreds of feet in the air. Do you see that dot? That’s an eagle. When he starts his descent you have only seconds to respond.