Of Shadows, Wings and Rescue

September 20, 2013 — Leave a comment

Within the Biblical narratives we find that the word Eagle is used metaphorically on regular basis . If you have the time they really are worth checking out.

Among others, a couple that really stand out to me are: …’they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;   they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary;  they shall walk and not faint’ (Is. 40:31). …’But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time’ (Rev.12:14, ESV).

As with the literary function of ”Eagle”,  the image of flight is inescapable when carried by the metaphor ”wings”. Obvious stuff right? right. (…bear with me here for a minute)

According to the literary contexts an action such as flight is to be understood as fleeing from something like, say, persecution. For example: The OT authors use fleeing  ‘160 times’ (Vines Expository Dictionary) often utilizing the term flight: phuge: (φυγή), akin to pheugo (see flee) (Vines Expository Dictionary).

What is not so obvious is that hidden within the “from”, there also exists the imperative “into or towards”.

Therefore, if we focus too much on the “flee from” we are sure to overlook the possibility of an inherent and implied ‘paradox  “flee to/into”. (See Song of Songs 8:14, Vines Expository Dictionary)

From the biblical witness we know that one of the unique dynamics about God’s divine passionate act on our behalf is rescue.

Not just relief.

Evidence of this can be seen in the use of the term ‘refuge’ often associated with the use of the words ‘shadow and wings’. For example: ‘Shadow of your wings’; ‘take refuge’ – Psalms.36:7; 57:1; ; 63:7; 91, Isaiah 49:2; 51:16 ‘in the shadow of His hand He hid me’. Clearly the themes we can identify here are strength, uncertainty, protection, guidance and invitation.

Christopher Wright states in his book ‘The Mission of God’ that the two key ‘similarities that exist between the Exodus and the Cross’ (2006:278) are firstly, the ‘Israelites were slaves to the wrong master and needed to be reclaimed’ (2006:284). Secondly, both ‘demonstrate that Yahweh is truly God’ (2006:266).This is because they are ‘God’s great declarations of intentional… intervention’ (2006:266 & 285), that subsequently involve a relational response to the spiritual, social and political enslavement of humanity. I.e. humanities ‘sin and exile’ (2006:285) from God.

Wright is on target. He points out that although there a ‘differences between the two events such as redemption in the Exodus is specific to the people of Israel’ (2006:276). The lessons that God speaks to us through each of these events directly point us towards the One who chooses to step in, speak and act on our behalf. I.e.: ‘God’s great declaration of intentional intervention’ (Wright)

For me this jaw dropping and awe-inspiring. It is the “Yes, but…” with which God chooses to addresses us, something I think that Karl Barth heard clearly and repeatedly proclaimed.

We may stumble, we may fall, but that does not eliminate the fact that we have so much to be grateful for. May we have the strength to hear and acknowledge Father, Son and Spirit as we are acknowledged by Him.

God has granted us permission and empowered us to align our lives with His.

In this direction we must fly…

literally…well, almost literally…:) have a great weekend.

Location of the video: France, Alpine region.


Source:

Wright, C.J.H 2006 The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative Inter-Varsity Press Nottingham England
Image from Lightstock.com

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