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What does it mean that youth is renewed like the eagle’s (Psalm 103:5)?

youth is renewed like the eagle’s

In Psalm 103, King David lifts his own heart and leads all future generations of believers in praise to God for His great compassion and mercy. David’s personal experiences and relationship with God form the basis of his declarations about the goodness of God’s character, reminding himself and others to praise the Lord because “he forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” (verses 3–5, NLT).

David’s heart soars as he remembers, above all, God’s forgiveness of sins and deliverance from death. He marvels at the Lord’s love, mercy, and all the good things God has poured into his life. David was probably advancing in years, but the profound experience of God’s grace and goodness sustains him, making him feel young, strong, and free like an eagle gliding high among the clouds.

David’s sense that his youth is renewed like an eagle’s strength resounds in the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:29–31).

In Scripture, the eagle symbolizes strength, vitality, and speed and is an appropriate metaphor for the transformative power of God’s forgiveness, deliverance, and mercy. Just as the eagle can swiftly attack from above, swooping down and ascending again to the heights, God’s grace can quickly and decisively change our lives, lifting us from a pit of despair. Like David, when we place our hope in the Lord and praise Him for His forgiveness, goodness, and love, our spirit is renewed, and it feels as if we have the strength and vitality of an eagle.

David may have recollected the Lord’s deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt. God told Moses on Mount Sinai to say to the people, “You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself” (Exodus 19:4).

In Deuteronomy 32:11, God’s protection and concern are depicted “like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft.” The Old Testament is full of imagery featuring the eagle and its swift movement (Deuteronomy 28:49; 2 Samuel 1:23; Jeremiah 4:13), its powerful, far-reaching flight (Proverbs 23:5; Isaiah 40:31), and its tender care for its young (Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 32:11).

When David said, “My youth is renewed like the eagle’s,” he acknowledged that God had sustained him and satisfied his soul with such goodness that, even in old age, he felt young and strong. He was content. His life was overflowing because His God was enough. Similarly, Paul learned the secret of contentment by depending wholly on Christ for his strength (Philippians 4:12–13).

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Questions about Psalms

What does it mean that youth is renewed like the eagle’s (Psalm 103:5)?
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This page last updated: June 6, 2024