“…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.”
Today’s exhortation presents a comparative state of being for those who claim to wait upon the Lord but never submit, and for those who faithfully wait and hope in Him. From this, our subject ‘Above the Snake Line’ was derived to give light as to how nature teaches us some things through two creatures (eagle & snake) on how they function at higher heights. The relative measure is to identify those who truly (endure under pressure over time while they) wait upon the Lord.
Let us begin….
The idea is, from the context of our focal verse, the believer waits upon the Lord in a safe place above the snake line as in above the wicked—the subtle persecutors of those who live godly in Christ Jesus. We have learned to wait with the Lord while time catches up to what He said. But too many times, attempts to overturn our expectation comes from below the snake line (if you will) where the devil, the wicked, and the ignorant pressure us to lose hope. It is the case when our wait is long and requires patience.
Those who fight the good fight of faith and wait patiently upon the Lord, will be strengthened (by Him) to endure with power and vigor. Contrarily, the impenitent (wicked person) will not be strengthened by the Lord—and they will not dwell nor tarry in His sight.
The Snake & The Eagle
The concept of the ‘snake line’ typifies the inability of a snake to manage properly in high altitudes—the thin air will cause them to choke, be dysfunctional, and lead to their death. They live and gain more optimal strength in thick humid and heated temperatures in lower altitudes.
Here are some natural responses by snakes in high altitudes:
- they become sluggish;
- they become dysfunctional;
- they suffer improper digestion;
- the cold takes away the body heat;
- eventually, the cold will cause their death.
Snakes become very stressful outside of warm temperatures over time and causes them to be helpless. Most snakes need humidity; they thrive strongly in holes and burrows. However, when they are exposed to a very dry climate they will dehydrate; they cannot generate their own heat; the cold will make them sluggish and interfere with their digestion—without heat they will eventually stop moving and die, even though they have a slow metabolism.
We have learned, the eagle can fly 10,000 to 15,000 feet high at about 65 mph. They can glide for hours without rest on warm updrafts of air. They have acute vision and are known for their power and speed. According to our focal verse, the phrase ‘mount up’ comes from the connotation in 2 Samuel 1:23 “…they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.” Here, Saul and Jonathan were said to renovate themselves … and it confirms the parallel clause ‘renew their strength.’
Eagles go through molt periods to renew their feathers and strength even in old age (Psalm 103:5). The renewed strength for those who wait upon the Lord is given to mount up—run—walk. In every altitude, the child of God who prays and waits on Him is … strong in Him:
- (Psalm 84:7) They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.
- (Micah 4:5) For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.
- (Hebrews 12:1-2) Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Those who truly wait with the Lord … ‘He shall renew their strength and they shall mount up with wings as eagles.’ Figuratively, it refers to ‘those who put forth fresh feathers like the moulting eagle.’
History teaches us, eagles live and retain vigor to a great age—‘he molts in old age and renews feathers like God’s people die to sin; put off the old man … put on the new man; are renewed in the spirit of the mind; are renewed in the inward man day by day; and are renewed in knowledge after the image of Jesus Christ—our youth is renewed like the eagle’s.’ (Romans 6:11; Ephesians 4:22-25; 2 Corinthians 4:16; Colossians 3:10; Psalm 103:5).
The eagle plunges itself in the sea to cast off its old feathers so new feathers can come forth in the same light as when ‘God will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea’ (Micah 7:19) … part of the remission of our sins process through baptism (Acts 2:38).
For God’s people, the meaning in the Hebrew is simply ‘they shall ascend on wings as eagles,’ or ‘they shall lift up the wings as eagles’ …and… the image is derived from the eagle when it rises on the most vigorous wings of any bird, and ascends further toward the sun.
The figurative of ‘wings as eagles’ for God’s people denotes:
- strength and vigor of purpose;
- strong virtuous devotion unto God;
- a mind (and attitude) above the world;
- fellowship and communion with God; and
- come boldly to His throne of grace for mercy…
…the same concept is used in the natural for the eagle as it ascends toward the sun—it goes where no other creature is neither eligible nor capable to approach. In a like manner, only the faithful in God can come closest to Him.
Psalm 101:7 says, “He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.”
The Snake’s Beginning—
The concept of the snake came after Genesis 3:1, where Moses wrote ‘the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.’ The word ‘serpent’ means, a snake (from its hiss). This indicates the snakes at one time had legs.
The proof. The judgment after the serpent’s brief encounter with Eve. “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life…” (Genesis 3:14). When the Lord took the serpent’s legs … enter the snake family.
The Bound Together—
In our focal verse, the phrase ‘but they that wait upon’ is one Hebrew word. It refers to those bound together with the Lord. It is a precept that the Lord will give strength to those who hope in Him:
The strength of hope binds us to the Lord:
- (Psalm 31:24) Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.
- (Psalm 33:18-19) Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.
- (Psalm 130:5) I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
- (Psalm 147:11) The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.
- (Jeremiah 17:7) Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.
- (Lamentations 3:24) The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
- (Lamentations 3:26) It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
- (1 Thessalonians 1:2-4) We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.
But They that Wait Upon the Lord—
Here, it denotes properly to wait, in the sense of to expect; to wait for His help; to trust in Him; to put hope and confidence in Him. It is applicable to those who are in circumstances of danger or want, and to those who look to Him for mercy.
In our focal verse, and from its history, it properly refers to those who suffered a long and grievous captivity in Babylon, and had no prospect of deliverance but in the Lord. The phrase is applicable also to all who feel they are weak, feeble, guilty, and helpless … who, in view of this, put their trust in the Lord. The promise or assurance here is general in its nature, and is as applicable to His people now as it was in the times of the captivity in Babylon.
True worship is often expressed in the scriptures by ‘waiting on the Lord’ that is, to look to Him for help, and to expect deliverance through His aid … to put trust in Him:
- (Psalm 25:3) Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.
- (Psalm 25:5) Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.
- (Psalm 25:21) Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee.
- (Psalm 27:14) Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
- (Psalm 37:7) Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
- (Psalm 37:9) For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.
- (Psalm 37:34) Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.
- (Psalm 69:3) I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.
The root of the phrase ‘but they that wait upon’ means, to look for and expect eagerly … as those who ‘eagerly submit to the Lord’ (Psalm 37:5). God renews the strength of those who wait by faith so they can continue to serve, and look for His uttermost salvation.
Just as those who faithfully wait upon the Lord are strengthened by Him to endure the walk and run unto the end—so do eagles have the strength to soar further toward the sun.
Just as the wicked do not wait upon the Lord and are not strengthened by Him—so do snakes become weaker and dysfunctional as they approach higher altitudes toward the sun.
Remember, Jesus Christ is the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2). Those who wait upon Him do so … above the snake line!
In Christ We Do Remain
Click to visit my Facebook Page