Sometimes, when I look outside, I see a pair of doves sitting on my deck. It always makes me feel happy. I feel like God is giving me a symbol that he watching over me and my family. Especially on those days when I feel like everything is going wrong, seeing the doves gives me a visual reminder that I am never alone. God is always with me. Doves appear in the bible several times.
Noah sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the ground. The dove could not find a place to perch, so it returned. Noah waited seven days and sent the dove out again. The dove was a symbol of hope and peace.
Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark.
–Genesis 8:8-10 (NIV)
Doves as Sacrifices
Going back to the birth of Jesus, there were purification rites required by the laws of Moses. Joseph and Mary went to Jerusalem to present Jesus to the Lord and offer a sacrifice of a pair of doves or two young pigeons.
Jesus Presented in the Temple
When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”
–Luke 2:22-24 (NIV)
Doves or pigeons were the only birds used in sacrifices. According to Mosaic Law, they were clean. Doves must have been considered pure to be allowed as a sacrifice.
So the Lord said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.”
–Genesis 15:9 (NIV)
The Holy Spirit Appears As A Dove
The Holy Spirit is God’s powerful, invisible presence. Sometimes, you see the Holy Spirit portrayed as a dove. In the bible, when all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. As Jesus prayed, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in the form of a dove. A voice came from heaven and said, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
The Baptism and Genealogy of Jesus
When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
–Luke 3:21-22 (NIV)
The dove knows what the Lord requires of it. The dove follows the Lord’s will and observes the time of migration. People do not always know or follow the Lord’s will, but the dove does the will of God.
Even the stork in the sky
knows her appointed seasons,
and the dove, the swift and the thrush
observe the time of their migration.
But my people do not know
the requirements of the Lord.
–Jeremiah 8:7 (NIV)
God will send people out to speak his words. “I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves”. God’s messengers will be ferociously attacked, like wolves attack and devour sheep. God wants his messengers be wise like serpents and harmless like doves. God wants us to know what to expect, yet still be harmless like doves.
Persecutions Are Coming
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
–Matthew 10:16 (NKJV)