"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Hope in the LORD and Soar on High Like a Vulture

"Those 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."
                                                               Isaiah 40:39


A Griffin vulture in Israel
The Hebrew word is רֶ שֶׁנ - nesher  - and it is usually translated “eagle” in most English Bible translations, but it is a word that most often refers to a vulture in Hebrew cultures. 

I think the typical Christian would prefer to be compared to an eagle rather than an ugly vulture.

However, there are three facts about Israel's largest bird, the Griffin vulture, that properly describe the life and work of those who trust in Christ. 

Isaiah compares those who "wait" (hope) in the LORD to a Griffin vulture. What does that mean?

First, Griffin vultures must wait before they work. 

The Griffin vulture flies higher than any other bird on earth. The vulture doesn't flap its wings to get so high. Rather, the vulture waits for the warm thermal air that rises up from the earth as the sun heats the ground. The Griffin vulture is the king of soaring on the thermals. It waits, and then at the appropriate time, it spreads its massive wings and rides the air. Most birds fly below 200 feet. But the Griffin vulture can glide effortlessly above 5,000 feet. In fact, in 1973, a griffon vulture collided with a commercial airliner over Africa as the plane flew at 37,900 feet. That is the highest altitude ever recorded for a bird. From a perspective in the highest of the heavens, the Griffin vulture can see farther and clearer than any others. If we desire to fly high, we must learn to wait on the Spirit of God to move before we work. Religion has a lot of people flapping their wings to get things done. The Kingdom of Christ must have people who wait on the LORD and glide effortlessly as they move to do amazing things for Christ. 

Second, Griffin vultures are bold more than they are beautiful. 

Vultures’ heads are often disproportionately small compared to their bodies. They sit hunched up with their heads sunk between their shoulders. Compared to an eagle, there's not much beauty in a vulture. Isaiah 53 tells us that our Kinsman-Redeemer "had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him." The Apostle Paul tells us that "not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God" (1 Corinthians 1:26-31). 

Third, Griffin vultures enter the realm of death and it disappears. 

Vultures gather around death and make it disappear. Most creatures have to kill to eat, but not vultures. With rare exceptions, their food has either died by natural causes or been killed by some other creature. So, the vultures’ job is to act as nature's vacuum cleaners. They clean up and cleanse the mess of the natural world. They are nature’s death eaters. They rid the earth of the toxicity. I wonder whether that isn’t an appropriate metaphor for God too. When John saw Jesus walking towards him he said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). So too, when Christians do their work, spiritual decay and death disappear. 

It might not be the image you prefer, but you and I are like Griffin vultures of Israel. 


29 comments:

Christiane said...

" Vultures gather around death and make it disappear. Most creatures have to kill to eat, but not vultures. With rare exceptions, their food has either died by natural causes or been killed by some other creature. So, the vultures’ job is to act as nature's vacuum cleaners. They clean up and cleanse the mess of the natural world. They are nature’s death eaters. They rid the earth of the toxicity. I wonder whether that isn’t an appropriate metaphor for God too. When John saw Jesus walking towards him he said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). So too, when Christians do their work, spiritual decay and death disappear. It might not be the image you prefer, but you and I are like Griffin vultures of Israel."

it's a beautiful image, WADE, thank you for sharing this

reminds me of:

El Condor Pasa

https://youtu.be/ogS88hIg6kI

" .....I'd rather sail away
Like a swan that's here and gone...
A man gets tied up to the ground
He gives the world its saddest sound
Its saddest sound"

Wade Burleson said...

Amen! Christiane.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Its amazing Vultures can fly so high. I believe they might be ‘cousins’ to Buzzards in that they eat ‘death’. This week we saw six Buzzards in the ditch by our house eating an Armadillo hit by a car.

Last week my cousin had killed 16 wild hogs. He pilled them up hoping to shoot coyotes, but counted 82 Buzzards having a feast.

Rex Ray said...

Google states:

Wild hogs are among the most destructive invasive species in the United States today. Two million to six million of the animals are wreaking havoc in at least 39 states and four Canadian provinces; half are in Texas, where they do some $400 million in damages annually.

That’s saying ‘one million to three million wild hogs are in Texas where they do $400 million in damages every year.

So, what happens to hogs when the die? GOOGLE says there are 3,870,000 Buzzards in Texas. :)

Christiane said...

REX RAY,

gosh, I thought 'Wild Hogs' rode Harley's and raised he!!

I've been watching too many movies :)

BTW, I've lit another vigil candle for Lara. Let me know if and when you hear any news. Thanks.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Somehow, my last comment left off this line: I guess; doing the math, that’s about one Buzzard per Hog.

I’ll keep you posted about Lara.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Got a text today that showed a picture of Senator Ted Cruse. The text said:

“Rex, Ted Cruz here. COVID Vaccine passports? Some Democrats say YES. I say NO WAY. What do you think? Does big government have right to your personal info?

nOw.us/ilRe
STOP = END

I’d like to respond, but don’t know what that last part means. Do you?

Christiane said...

REX RAY,

I don't know about covid vaccine passports, but when I got vaccinated (2 separate doses of Moderna), a little card was marked for me and I carry it around in my wallet, but it is cardboard, not 'laminated' and is the only 'proof' I have of having been vaccinated for covid19.

No one in my area has mentioned a 'vaccine passport' but I can imagine there are some countries that would restrict Americans coming in who were not vaccinated, sure.

Maybe Ted Cruz is trying to increase his popularity by working up 'the base' and just wants to get some attention. I've heard his ratings fell after that stunt where he decided to leave Texas during the energy crisis (winter time) to take his family on vacation to Mexico. Well, that's all I know or can guess might be the case, so not much help here, but maybe Wade knows more about this.

I did get an email registration number for having been vaccinated, though. But nothing more. Not worried. No plans for international travel, although my family is going to Europe next year to visit relatives in Latvia. Good luck to them, I say... :)

These are strange times.

Rex Ray said...

I enjoyed today!

“The Leader” newspaper is in Bonham, Texas (5 miles from here). It has a publication of 15,673, and mails it free to 15 towns in Fannin County. (It makes money by people buying adds etc.)

Its latest publication has almost a page, “When is Our Daddy Coming Home? by twins Hez and Rex Ray”. Under the title is a 6” picture of our father in army clothes holding his helmet and a bible. It told the story I’ve already told Yawl.

I showed people three pages I’d written with Dad and the little girl’s picture. It had the title: “The Leader” newspaper prints “When’s Our Daddy Coming Home?”

Rex Ray said...

Dave Watson was roommates with my brother at the University of Alaska, and was close friends. We text at least once a week. He met our father many years ago. Dave asked me to email him “When is Our Daddy Coming Home”.

Dave texted me yesterday: “Thanks Rex. I will treasure that amazing story the rest of my life, and will read it again and again. You guys followed in his footsteps. High standards to live up to. Had forgotten your dad was under Patton.”

Dad said, when Russians were checking his papers, one would be holding the end of his gun within 12 inches of his head.

Patton believed Russia was as bad as Germany, and America should declare war on them. That got Patton in trouble, and I believe it eventually cost him his life.

Rex Ray said...

Why did Patton believe Russia was bad as Germany? I think the link below explains.

Communism in Russia - Wikipedia

“In 1922, the Communist Reds were victorious and formed the Soviet Union, making Russia communist. Lenin died in 1924, starting a power struggle which ended with Joseph Stalin seizing power. He was the leader of the Communist Party until 1953.”

Rex Ray said...

I believe there’ll be many German soldiers in heaven. Their belt buckles had: “In God we trust”.

I can’t say the same about Communist soldiers.

Christiane said...

Good Morning REX RAY,

Could there have been faithful people who were also ardent Nazis? Yes, I think there must have been, if it's true that many German people at that time were unaware of the horrors of the death camps. I don't think even Martin Niemoller was opposed to Adolf Hitler's regime until he learned about this:

"""... the people who were put in the camps then were Communists. Who cared about them? We knew it, it was printed in the newspapers. Who raised their voice, maybe the Confessing Church? We thought: Communists, those opponents of religion, those enemies of Christians—"should I be my brother's keeper?"

Then they got rid of the sick, the so-called incurables. I remember a conversation I had with a person who claimed to be a Christian. He said: Perhaps it's right, these incurably sick people just cost the state money, they are just a burden to themselves and to others. Isn't it best for all concerned if they are taken out of the middle [of society]? Only then did the church as such take note.

Then we started talking, until our voices were again silenced in public. "

(Martin Niemoller)


On orders from the Reich, 'incurables' were 'put down' and that included many who were mentally challenged, disabled, extremely aged and ill . . . anyone who was considered to be a 'drain' on the resources of the Third Reich. They killed them.

I think there must be some kind of morally conscious knowledge that keeps people from supporting that which they know will harm innocent people; and when asked to perform inhumane acts or commanded to perform that which they know to be wrong, a Christian would not be able to willingly 'obey' the 'authority'.
You and I know this from those trials in Germany after the war, where 'I was just following orders' was not an acceptable excuse.

As for salvation, we know Our Lord saves, but in MY faith, I would never put any boxes around His power to save any soul. We cannot know the heights and depths of Christ's mercy and powers of healing wounded people. I 'trust' in Christ to save. I don't pretend to comprehend the full extent of the powers of the great Paschal mysteries of Our Lord. God saves whom He will save.

Christiane said...

REX RAY, I'm glad they printed 'When's Our Daddy Coming Home?'
It's a great story. You should be proud of him. :)

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Thanks for the reply. Only a few German soldiers were convicted at the Nurnberg Trials.

After the war, we met Monika Beyer’s family and wondered why they were so glad to see our father. We didn’t know the story: “When is my Daddy Coming Home?” (That story is included in “When is Our Daddy Coming Home?”)

Dad told Hez “When is My Daddy Coming Home" 20 years later. They’d taken protection behind a low concrete wall for an hour as bullets were exploding near them.

But that’s another story.

Rex Ray said...

In keeping with Wade’s title; “Hope in the Lord…” on page 2 of my brother’s book, The Big Dipper:

“…she whispered in my ear: “Dad, I am not afraid to die. I know Jesus!”

“…when you write your book about the Big Dipper, and I know you will, be sure to give it heart! Dad give it your heart!”

I whispered back, “Diane, I can do better than that girl. God willing, I will give it your heart!”

Rex Ray said...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Dipper_Ice_Arena

Christiane said...

Outstanding story, REX RAY

" The incredible story of this adventure is in Coach Ray's book “The Big Dipper, A Dream is Born”. (Copyright Hez Ray, 2014) (ISBN 978-0-692-22659-9)"


wonderful, wonderful :)


Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

I’ve said it before, if anyone replied it’d be you.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

How about another conspiracy?

Google list five books claiming General Patton was murdered. After a truck deliberate struck his car, he was poisoned 12 days later in a hospital. There was NO autopsy.

Christiane said...

Good Morning, REX RAY

but WHY would someone want to poison Patton? It sounds like an interesting conspiracy theory, sure. Okay, I'm in.

Christiane said...

REX RAY,

I found this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killing_Patton

Stalin - that makes sense, a man worse than Hitler, a man on Putin's level

Christiane said...

REX RAY, one more thought:

as for 'conspiracy theories', my advice is to stay away from that QAnon mess.

I've heard that good people get into it with so much intensity that it changes them and their personalities, and their families and friends can't get them back, sadly.

Scary stuff, Qanon. Very extreme.

Wade Burleson said...

Christiane and Rex,

Online friendships can be as remarkable as real "flesh-and-blood" friendships.

Question for you both:

Have you guys ever met?

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Good question.

Only on your post. :)

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Update on Sara.
Today, Dwaine texted: “Sara has sung I’ll Fly Away. Funeral hasn’t been set yet.”

Judy went to see Lara Jones today at a nursing home, but she’s been put in a hospital.

Christiane said...

Hello Wade,
no, I have never met Rex Ray in person. I hope you and Rachelle enjoy your visit with him and Judy that is coming up soon. Safe journey! God Bless.

REX RAY,
thanks for updates. . . good of Judy to try to visit with Lara

Christiane said...

May Sara rest in peace in the Presence of Our Lord in that place beyond this Earth.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Yes, ‘Weep not for those who live with the Lord’.


It’s a miracle! :)

Judy’s phone was lost for two days. We thought it was in the shed. Darrel Hathcock, our association missionary, got on a computer and said it was half way on our church road. It was found this morning in grass of the ditch. (Judy had left it on top of the car.)