Twelve pigeon doves fly past, circling round and round. I run in to grab my camera thinking that they will have disappeared but here they come again – missed them as the camera lens was still on. Next turn on the camera, now try and focus on a moving image, now wait again. Birds can be tricky to photograph and get in focus, at least I found that out this morning. But these are trained pigeons from a garden at the back and because they kept circling in the same position I could get my camera ready for the right shot. I think I took 53 photos before I got this one. Gone are the days of 23 films, I can take about 1500 high quality photos on my camera before I need to empty them onto my hard drive. That proves perseverance pays off.
And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.
Noah must have been one of the earliest examples of “pigeon fanciers” or dove handlers, trusting that when he released the bird out of the window it would not just simply fly off and never come back. They seem loyal. Watching this “kit” of pigeons flying around and around was quite relaxing. Homing pigeons have also been used in many wars to save lives and to carry messages across long distances. Looking at the research into pigeons it seems that they have been specifically created and designed for the purpose of sending messages and finding there way back to their home. How awesome our creator that He also creates animals that we can use in this way.
So it came to pass, at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made. Then he sent out a raven, which kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth. He also sent out from himself a dove, to see if the waters had receded from the face of the ground. But the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, and she returned into the ark to him, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her, and drew her into the ark to himself.
Perhaps the dove is a loyal companion to Noah because it came back, possible because they had been trained to come back to Noah. There is a wonderful line; So he put out his hand and took her, and drew her into the ark to himself. Perhaps this is an analogy for God drawing us to Him.
The dove was loyal to Noah, how do we know if we can be loyal for God?
Perhaps God sends us out on little sorties as it were, or little small missions allowing us to come back to the safety of the ark to be strengthened again with food.
Perhaps some of us are like ravens, being sent out by God just flying all over the place and in the end all we do is dry up with the earth.
Perhaps some of us are sent out like the dove but just come back with nothing. But God strengthens us and waits for the required time for us to regain strength.
And he waited yet another seven days, and again he sent the dove out from the ark. 11 Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth.
We are sent out and we must come back with a ray of hope, with an olive leaf, and we come back with hope the water resides and our cleansing from salvation is found.
Remember Jesus cursing the olive tree that did not feed him, we must bring hope into the world to be of use to God. Jesus is that door that we must go through to travel on the ark and through this journey we must come back with hope. Only then can we be sent out, with God being assured that we can survive with His blessing.
I pray Lord God, send us out to return with hope, guide us with your love, strengthen us and keep us warm when we need it and then send us out to do your work. Finding hope in the world to bring back to you to be drawn back into your loving arms.