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Jun 23 2010

Innocent As Doves

A few weeks ago, I was taking a walk in the evening – well, it really was at night.  It was around 11:30 p.m.  It was a really warm night but very windy.  As I walked down the sidewalk, I thought I saw what appeared to be a mouse scurry away from me.  I followed it to the street.  It was not a mouse but a baby mourning dove that obviously was blown out of the nest.  I tried to find the nest so I could return the baby dove to its parents.  I could not find the nest so I took it home.  I am unable to release it because it cannot take care of itself.

As I have watched this bird grow, I am reminded of the scripture:

  • “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
    Matthew 10:16 (ESV)

I have watched this little bird grow and interact with her surroundings through the lens of scripture. In our day and age, the 21st century, many of us are removed from wildlife. Most of us do not interact with wildlife or really pay attention to the common birds in our surrounding.  We go to the grocery store to purchase our food.  We neither grow nor hunt for our daily food.We may go to the zoo or watch animal shows on our television sets.  We simply don’t have the interaction that folks in biblical times had with their environment.  I say this because I have come to a greater understanding of God’s use of the dove as an analogy of innocence.  The people in that time period would have more of an understanding than most of us as to the nature of the birds or animals referenced in scripture.

I have never really given thought to why scripture uses different animals such as the innocence of a dove, or sheep as opposed to wolves, etc.  I am glad I have been blessed to interact with one of these creatures.  From now on, when reading scripture, I know I will want to know more about why God uses a certain animal or otherwise in describing a concept He is teaching us.

Image: Photographer Bruce Tuten

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15 comments

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  1. Margaret

    Welcome back, Tishrei!

    Animals have personalities, even though they don’t have souls — Even amongst sheep, each one is different….. But, in general, sheep are known to stray and are in real need for a shepherd to keep them safe….. They are so vulnerable – like we are…..

    We can see a difference in the various birds….. Doves do peacefully mind their own business, while crows are predators, looking for other baby birds and eggs to eat — wreaking havoc in the bird community….. We want to protect the peaceful one….. I chased crows off our property a number of times this spring, wanting to protect the little ones in the trees….. And, maybe I’m even influenced by my enjoyment of the singing of the little birds, as compared to the coarse cawing of the crows.

    God’s wisdom is throughout all of His creation….. And He has made us His own dear children….. Someday we will understand.

    Margaret

    1. Tishrei

      Hi Margaret,

      I also like the sweet singing of the little birds as opposed to the larger cawing of the crows. In my backyard, there are doves, crows, pigeons, hummingbirds, etc. I set up a bird-feeder and somehow they all seem to share without too much fighting. It does get rather loud out back sometimes.

  2. reverent1

    Welcome back! Good to know life is being good to you and that your faith grows stronger with everything you come across. Strange how much we take for granted until a brief happening comes along to give us more to think about. God fills us!

    Our daily bread indeed.

    1. Tishrei

      Thanks — I am really back now.

  3. Loren

    Once when I was younger and serving in the Army, I was posted to guard a military installation in Germany which was surrounded nearly completely by pasture land and small farms.

    Needless to say, this was not the most interesting of work (few local people even knew the facility existed, much less had any interest in coming anywhere near it). There was, however, a shepherd who would sometimes graze his sheep just on the other side of the fence. I remember watching him interact with his flock and how it struck me then that the Lord comparing us to sheep was such an apt analogy!

    These sheep were absolutely LOST without the shepherd’s guidance. One would wander off a bit, and then the shepherd would just gently call out. The little sheep would start to make its way back to the group, only to be distracted again by a new clump of grass that caught her attention. Again the shepherd would gently call out, or if need be, walk over to the sheep to personally guide her back. What a touching opportunity it was to watch a shepherd and his sheep and be reminded of my own Shepherd.

    Great post, Tishrei, thanks. Welcome back to writing…you’ve been missed :(

    1. Tishrei

      Loren,

      That is absolutely the best imagery!!!! Sure describes us.

  4. Harlequin

    Thanks for posting, Tishrei.

    1. Tishrei

      Hey Harlequin,

      Thanks. I’m back now, not sporadic but really back. Hard to believe so much time has passed since I’ve been online. I also have TONS of email to get through.

  5. Dava

    When will we ever come to terms with reality?

    I do not like to disturb the cosy, sentimental & sanctimonious thoughts of the religious but the question must be asked. Where do the sheep all end up?

    Humanity exploits all forms of life in whatever way we find useful & have always done so.

    I detest hypocrisy! The words duplicity & insincerity also come to mind. The denial of REALITY is rampant amongst the religious community. Our own well-being is our paramount concern. That’s NATURE – in the raw! Transcendental thought is pure fantasy; a quality that a lot of us just do not want to recognize!

    1. Tishrei

      Hi Dava,

      First, I apologize for not responding to your comments sooner. I haven’t been on my blog much since sometime back in April. I am finally back for good and plan to respond to all the comments.

      As to this comment, I’m not sure I follow your thoughts. The sheep, i.e. the believers, will spend eternity with the Lord. Your statement that humanity exploits all forms of life leads me to believe that you are speaking of sheep literally as in the animal. If that is what you meant, it is my belief based on scripture, that they will not be destroyed. They are innocent. That is a topic that I have wanted to write about.

      I do agree with you that humanity exploits animal life in ways that we find useful. While there is nothing wrong with using animals for food, we have a duty to humanely treat them. Humanity, for the most part, does not live up to that duty.

      As to detesting hypocrisy, that is human nature. We all dislike hypocrisy. However, it seems that you are assigning the label “hypocrite” to Christians. I don’t know you as I haven’t interacted with you yet but I would like to ask you what you are referring to and why with regards to hypocrisy. What about my post leads you to believe that I am practicing hypocrisy? Is it a comment from someone else?

  6. Dava

    Tishrei – Merely commenting on the post of Loren who seemed to ascribe some ‘heavenly’ concept re the farmer’s responsibilty to the sheep he was ‘looking after’.

    Surely, the farmer’s only concern was that he didn’t want to lose the animals & so minimise the profits of his activities. To put his concern down to anything of a celestial nature is sheer hypocrisy. Sheep are kept for no other purpose than the utilisation of their wool & flesh. That was my point.

    However, I must also observe that your comments show that you have a somewhat transcendental outlook on life & you talk of a God as if IT were a definite entity & you know IT’s mind. If that is not hypocrisy, that quality does not exist.

    All of the contributors on this post barring myself seem to have a rather cosy celestial outlook on life. Reality is ignored. ALL creatures of this Earth, including humans, have to fend for themselves in order to exist. Humanity, having a superior mind, naturally takes advantage & endeavours to control the rest of the living kingdom, ruthlessly farming plant & animal life in an ever increasing economical manner. Basically, Nature is raw; any wild life documentary shows the true picture.

    Don’t regard the beauty of say, flowers, as there for our benefit. Their wonderful colouring etc has, without any doubt, evolved for the future of that particular species.

    Our existence is nothing that much more special than any other living organism. Everything living depends for sustenance on other forms of life, from bacteria up. Nature instructs all of life to reproduce; to what end we just don’t know & it’s almost 100% certain that we never will. We can speculate but are INFINITELY short of the necessary knowledge to form a valid judgement.

    One’s mind must not be allowed to drown in a sea of Transcendency.

    To ramble on about some God or other keeping IT’S eye on our welfare is just crazy. Witness the natural disasters that have happened in the recent past, ie Haiti, where around ¼ million souls perished with countless others still in trouble. Mystical theosophy is drivel of the first order. I could go on. My web-pages cover a lot of ground relating to the Man-made silliness of Religiosity.

    I’m a serious bloke, no wish to offend but I can’t read the stuff that’s on this site without trying to persuade people to walk along the broad avenue of common sense.

  7. Terry

    The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14

  8. Bill Davison

    Terry – That quotation from an old book of fairy-tales bears no relevance today. We’ve grown up a little since those days & should have discarded all silly beliefs, born of ignorance & fear of the unknown, long ago.

    Note the natural catastrophies that are happening all the time & give some Earthly explanation as to why your supreme controller allows it. Millions of poor souls are involved. Please be REAL.

    It’s high time we realized that ALL Gods are but invisible & silent entities, dreamt up & kept alive by the Charlatans who have long preyed on the naivety of the credulous.

    *******************************

    PS – I seem to have landed up on a site where common sense is at a premium. To preserve the equanimity of the religiously minded, I would request the moderator to delete all of my posts on this site & allow it to enjoy it’s previous state. If my posts are deleted, I will take the hint & stay away. I have a conscience.

  9. Ed

    As regards some of the comments on this post…..

    Eccl 1:9 ​​​​​​​​What has been is what will be, ​​​​​​​and what has been done is what will be done, ​​​​​​​and there is nothing new under the sun. ​​​

    1. Tishrei

      AMEN!

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