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.

Genesis 8:11

As I continued watching the birds over coffee, five different thoughts emerged that we will continue to pursue. This particular thought captured my attention when I noticed two doves engaging in a “tiff”.

You and I have always been taught that a dove is a symbol of “peace”. We look around and see pictures of doves carrying an “olive leaf”. (Genesis 8:11) While there are those who discard the history of Genesis, the picture of the dove and olive leaf seems like a good adaptation. The greatest storm to ever “rock the boat” had just about subsided when the dove with the olive leaf arrived back on the ark. We all anticipate the abated storm, the peace that follows chaotic moments in our lives.

Viewing the doves corroborated what I had long considered a fact in man and animal. Given the situation, one will discover the weakness, the breaking point, or the “last straw” that will bring out the inherent nature in us. We put on a good show, up to a point, but because the nature of man is evil, sooner or later we allow the things of the flesh to ascend.

The doves were at it again and again. One would drive the other from the food and then return to endeavor to gobble down as much as could possibly be stomached in the seconds before the other returned. Greed is a horrible thing and the endeavor to be “king of the mountain” brings with it no limit as to what we will stoop to. There was not too much “love” at the feeding bin.

Do you not find it rewarding to read what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount? (Matthew 5) And certainly the application of those principles means simply that the way up is down. Much is said throughout Scripture about the blessing and necessity of being humble. It is not a “natural” thing; it takes work. “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (James 4:10) That takes action, discipline, determination, and fortitude, as it relates to God and man. There are dozens of illustrations in the ministry of Jesus that “crossed swords” with the way we would do things and the way God desires that we do them. As a result of His dealing with the Pharisees, we have all picked up on the word “Pharisaical” concerning people who profess to be followers of the Lord and yet fail to apply Jesus teachings.

Recall again how the disciples were not anxious to take towels and wash each other’s feet. (John 13:5) Ah! The lessons that we can learn from those doves! The need of the hour is to move from symbol to reality. It begins with Christ as both Lord and Savior of our lives. He enables us to humble ourselves. It is His work and ours.

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