And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: and he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; but the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark. And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; and the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more. (Genesis 8:6-12)
There is a great spiritual lesson here. Noah is engaged in “bird watching.” He sends out the raven, and the raven does not come back. Why didn’t that raven come back? You must recognize what that raven eats — it feeds on carrion. There was a whole lot of flesh of dead animals floating around after the Flood, and that was the kind of thing this old crow ate. He did not return to the ark because he was really going to a feast, and he was having a very wonderful time.
The dove brought back information; it was a regular homing pigeon. With the dove’s second trip, Noah was now a confirmed bird watcher, and the dove brought back evidence that the dry land was appearing. The third time, the dove did not return, and Noah knew that the waters of judgment were gone.
All great truths of the Bible are germane in Genesis. The Bible teaches that the believer has two natures, an old and a new: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). You and I as believers have these two natures. And there is a struggle today between the old nature and the new nature of a believer.
The raven went out into a judged world, but he found a feast in the dead carcass because that is the thing he lived on. May I say to you, that is the picture of the old nature. The old nature loves the things of the world and feasts on them. You do have an old nature, but that is no excuse because you ought not to be living in the old nature.
The dove went out into a judged world, but she found no rest, no satisfaction, and she returned to the ark. The dove represents the believer in the world. You see, it is a matter of viewpoint. A professor said to me, “This matter of what’s right and wrong is relative.” He’s right; it is. It is what God says is right, and it is what the professor says is wrong. What God says is wrong is wrong. The believer is told, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world…” (1 John 2:15). You and I are living in a judged world today. We are in the world, but not of it. We are to use it, but not abuse it. We are not to fall in love with it, but we are to attempt to win the lost in this world and get out the Word of God. Our Lord told us, “…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Let’s take care of our job down here and get out the Word of God — that is the important thing. The dove recognized what kind of a world she was in, and she found no rest. She found rest only in the ark, and that ark sets forth Christ, if you please.
Let me ask you this very personal question: What kind of bird are you? Are you a raven or a dove? If you are a child of God, you have both natures — but which one are you living in today? Do you love the things of God, or don’t you?—From Edited Messages on Genesis by J. Vernon McGee
What is the Age of Accountability?
Selected from our Questions and Answers program
It has been said that “the true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” In James 2 we explore the first thirteen verses that talk about how we are to treat people in the different parts of society, and ultimately are reminded that we all stand on level ground before the cross of Jesus.All Sermons by Dr. J. Vernon McGee