One needn’t be a bird scientist to discern the fact that God’s Holy Word attaches a lot of importance to a Dove. Almost fifty times, there is a mention of Dove in the Scriptures…more than that of any other avian creature. As early as Gen. 1:2, there is symbolism which would create in one’s minds-eye a picture of a Dove. Why even the Holy Spirit descended upon our Lord at the time of His Baptism in the form of a Dove (Matt 3:16)!
In this series of 2 parts comprising of 4 sub-headings, I intend to train my spotlight on the holy similarities which exist between a dove and the Holy Spirit. At this stage, we would be well served to ask ourselves a question: “Are these traits found in me?” For in a Christian in whom the Spirit of Christ resides (Rom. 8:9), these qualities ought to be as naturally found, just like water in a surging river. Firstly…
Ask a dove, the only bird of the avian world permitted for sacrifice under the Old Testament dispensation (See Lev 1:14-17/12:8), to light on anything unclean, such as a carcass, and it would plainly refuse! Remember the account of a dove sent by Noah to check on the receding waters of the Flood? It came back to him, without landing on the defiled carrion. Contrast this attitude with that of the raven sent next. As it did not have natural revulsion for anything unclean, it did not come back (Gen. 8:7-9). Instead, without any doubt it would have feasted on the floating carcasses.
If we have been cleansed by the atoning blood of Christ and if the Holy Ghost is a holy and a permanent guest in our lives, then naturally, as one wise soul put it “we would become allergic to what we were addicted to (sin) and we would become addicted to (holiness) what we were allergic to.”
Doves, say the avian scientists, are also strictly monogamous birds. Once a Dove chooses its mate…till death do us part…sacred vow comes into effect immediately. The one man, one wife principle set in motion in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:21-24) encapsulating sexual purity. Subsequent to the Fall, this operated sadly only in fits and starts in the Old Testament era (Issac and Rebaccah were an honorable exception). Quite fittingly, we see the Holy Spirit also working only in fits and starts in the Old Testament era, equipping people for a special assignment here…a distinctive work there…and nothing more! Simply put, the Holy Ghost was never permanent resident in the Old Testament era. It is only in the New Testament dispensation, what with the arrival of Holy Spirit imminent on the Pentecostal day, do we see the urgency to restore the pristine purity in the conjugal relationship (Matt. 19:8-11/Mark 10:6-12/Luke 16:18). In the Early Church age, the apostles followed suit adhering to the Master’s command, whilst teaching on the subject of marital fidelity (1 Cor. 7:10-11/1 Tim 3:2). How true then “in the heart of holy marriage lies the holiness of the heart, made holy by the Holy Spirit”!
While on the subject, not only of Holy marriage, let it be said at this juncture that nothing of what Jesus preached in His famous Sermon on the Mount can ever be practiced without the empowerment of the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 15:5/James 4:5-6 NLT). As one Biblical scholar put it, “Christianity can never become our responsibility, till we acknowledge that it is primarily our faith-filled response to His ability.”
Now the anatomical study of Doves would reveal that it has no gall. The gall, say acclaimed naturalists, is the source behind a contentious and a bitter spirit. As day follows night, it follows that in the absence of gall, this bird is uniquely gentle (Matt. 10:16 MSG). Ever seen doves fighting over food, like crows do? Never!
Is not one of the fruit of the Spirit, among other things, “gentleness” (Gal 5:23)? If the Holy Spirit were indwelling us then it follows that we would be “gentle”men to the core. Period. Our evangelistic efforts (some Christians sadly become too aggressive here) would be marked not by any “holier-than-thou” behavior, but by an affable and a gentle spirit (1 Peter 3:15-16).
Prayer: Father, we commit ourselves into Thy hands. Help us always imbibe both the traits of purity and affability. In Jesus Name. Amen.
(To access the entire “Dovetailing Some Dove Facts” mini-series, please click here.)