We can see the dove released, as a glimpse of God’s kingdom being released on the earth – as it is in heaven.
The first time Noah released the dove, the earth was still drowned and not fit for the peace of God. The second time, there were only tree tops above the water. On the third attempt, the dove didn’t return to Noah but remained abroad in this fresh new earth.
I like to think of the dove that came down as Jesus was baptised, being like the dove that returned to Noah with the olive leaf in its beak. Noah knew that the flood would soon be dried up and a brand new earth would be ready for him, his family and the animals to start afresh. Likewise, Jesus began to preach that the kingdom of heaven is nearly here and that we should turn from our sins and ask forgiveness so that when the day of The Lord finally arrives we would be ready to take our places in the new heaven on the earth.
Genesis 8:8-12 NLT
He also released a dove to see if the water had receded and it could find dry ground. But the dove could find no place to land because the water still covered the ground. So it returned to the boat, and Noah held out his hand and drew the dove back inside. After waiting another seven days, Noah released the dove again. This time the dove returned to him in the evening with a fresh olive leaf in its beak. Then Noah knew that the floodwaters were almost gone. He waited another seven days and then released the dove again. This time it did not come back.
Matthew 3:16, 17 NLT
After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”
Matthew 4:17 NLT
From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near. ”
If we were really adrift in a boat wondering if there would ever be any land ever again, I would take enormous encouragement if a dove came back with an olive leaf in its beak. I would celebrate! To finally know that you will be safe after all the doubt and uncertainty – imagine how that would feel!
I will try and hold this thought and celebrate more often, knowing I am safe.
Genesis 8:1-10:32, Matthew 3:16, 4:12-25, Psalms 4:1-8, Proverbs 1:20-23