We can learn so much about our Creator through nature. The Book of Proverbs is replete with the wisdom Solomon gained from studying many different animals from lion to ant. In this study we will look at 2 different birds.
I’ve always been fascinated with doves. I decided to study them and purchased George from a pet store over 10 years ago. He had belonged to a missionary who had asked the pet store to find a good owner for him. George chose me – I didn’t choose him. George is an odd name for a dove but that was the name the missionary gave him. In the pet store George literally cooed and went through his courting drama until I would take notice. He has never been an average dove, although his wife (who I purchased a few months later) is. George is more aggressive than most doves. He demands attention and will beat his wings until I take him out of the cage. If I let him free he will always come back and land on my head. Doves are very loyal. That is probably why Noah chose a dove to fly out of the ark and scope the area to see if there was any land. Doves have a natural homing instinct. In Genesis 8:9 we see that the dove flew back into the ark the first time Noah let it out because there was no place for her to rest her feet. The second time she brought back an olive branch to Noah, signaling that the trees were beginning to show above the receding waters. Then the 3rd time she just couldn’t resist flying away, never to return, when land appeared.
“And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! For then would I fly away, and be at rest.” Psalm 55:6
My doves wake me every morning the moment the sun rises. I have become so accustomed to the gentle sounds they make. We’ve had many baby doves over the years, but George is getting too old and fat to sit on the eggs. Father and mother take responsibility for every egg laid in the dove world. I used to watch their daily ritual when the 2 eggs were laid with fascination. They literally take shifts in sitting on the eggs. When mother dove was in her peak she could go for up to 12 hours without moving or drinking water or eating. Then when she got to a certain point of exhaustion she would make a certain sound and George knew it was his time to assume duties so she could rest. For some reason George always seemed a little uncomfortable fulfilling his egg sitting obligation but he is loyal and dutiful by nature and God has put this dna into his system. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for human families to learn from the dove world?
The white dove has been one of the most universal symbols of love and peace throughout history. When a dove is in flight the sun behind its wings gives the appearance of silver and gold.
“Though ye have lain among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.” Psalm 68:13
A dove in the wild will fly to the rocks and hide in the crevices there. Solomon compared the dove to his beloved when he said, “On my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.” (Song of Solomon 2:14) We can think of the dove ascending and descending. Here the mention of the secret places of the stairs could symbolically imply an ascending into the presence of the Beloved Bridegroom, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Jeremiah also made reference to the dove’s ability to hide in the rocks in Jeremiah 48:18, “Oh ye that dwell in Moab, leave the cities, and dwell in the rock, and be like the dove that maketh her nest in the sides of the hole’s mouth.”
Is it any wonder that God chose to descend in a bodily shape like a dove when the Holy Ghost came and rested on Christ Jesus?
“And Jesus, when he was baptized went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him.” (Mt. 3:16) As God in human flesh, this is the perfect pattern of baptism in water and rising to newness of life when receiving the Holy Ghost.
Mark 1:10, “And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him.”
Luke 3:22, “And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.”
At the Jordan River the Holy Ghost appeared “like a dove” but in the Upper Room at Jerusalem, on the Day of Pentecost, the infilling of the Holy Ghost came as fire. We can never put the Lord in a box of our own understanding. He is always revealing more of Himself as we seek Him with all of our heart. He wants us to know Him and then we need not fear the words, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”
Now let’s mention a few characteristics of the hawk. The contrast of “doves and hawks” is used in the political realm. One thinks of doves as gentle and somewhat passive, whereas hawks are birds of prey and can attack swiftly and precisely. They have high visual acuity which enables them to see the smallest insect at night and suddenly dart from its perch to grab the unsuspecting victim. There are 2 mentions of the night hawk in Deuteronomy. The Lord shows the owl, the osprey, and the night hawk in an entirely different light than the dove. Under the Mosaic law they were counted as unclean birds because they are birds of prey. There are people like hawks. They seem to have better vision than the rest of us because they can see the tiniest flaw and feel their discernment is superior to most. When they uncover a fault or a flaw they are quick to pounce and wound someone who is ignorant of their existence.
It is a wonderful thing to be covered by the blood of Jesus Christ through the born-again experience and enter into the secret place of the “clefts of the Rock” with Him. As the Good Shepherd He watches over not only sheep but His doves that no harm come to them.
“And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? (I Peter 3:13)