Sunday, June 15, 2008

Genesis 8 - The birds we send

It is not good to test God. A guy named "Jesus Christ" said that, so I have to believe it's true. But in Genesis 8 it almost feels like Noah tests God.

I'm of course talking about the verses in which Noah sends out the birds. I don’t think I ever realized how many times he sends them out. He sent a raven first and then three doves. Those actions have certainly come to symbolize hope in Christianity, the image of a dove flying with an olive leaf in its mouth, but I think they are more than that. There are three things I want to learn from this passage:

1. 40 meant 40
Noah didn't open the ark and send a bird out until it had been 40 days, which was the amount of time God had promised. His sending of the first bird was not just an aviary adventure, it was a testament to Noah's belief that God kept his word. If He said 40, then Noah trusted that He meant 40.

2. It's OK to change birds.
I really like that Noah started with a raven and ended with a dove. He was flexible. He didn't whine when the raven didn't work out, he was open to trying something new. Sometimes I get so focused on doing what I think God wants me to do that I get frozen in my methods. It has to be this job you want me at God. I have to marry this person and live in this town and have things exactly this way. But I think sometimes God wants us to start with ravens and end with doves.

3. Patience takes time.
Noah didn't expect things to change on day 41. In fact after the olive leaf dove he waited seven more days to send out another one. God's will takes time and Noah was willing to give God the time He wanted. How many times in my own life have I seen an olive leaf and rushed into action? How can I wait seven days and send out another bird if that's what God wants?

I like Genesis 8. It feels simple and honest and yet full of interesting things like ravens and doves and patience and rain. It feels like a slow start to a deep book, a gradual entry to deeper pools of knowledge. It's not complicated, but there are layers of ideas to unfold. Which is fun and challenging and what I hope to do with every chapter of the Bible.

Happy Father's Day.


StitchinByTheLake said...

Noah didn't whine? But I'm very good at whining. You mean I should give it up? Oh, dear.

Rachel said...

Too study last night (Beth Moore) was on Noah's faith!

Brenda said...

and a very happy Father's day to you as well...

GREAT devos coming out of you these days - don't know how you are keeping up with both sites, but I'm glad you are!

jenn3 said...

I like that: "...start with ravens and end with doves."

Anonymous said...

Happy Fathers Day! I really enjoyed the changing birds theory. It's something I never noticed before and is further evidence that God appreciates when people like Noah nag him with "Are we there yet?" Same with Abraham pleading for Sodom and Jesus's parable about the unjust judge.


dorothy said...

Just talking about this yesterday with one of the people at church...
Very timely and on target.

toni said...

great word, "in season". read it yesterday. did cow duty on it today! (chewed/digested it multiple times- lol!)

sunny said...

When I read your words about how Noah waited seven more days to send out another olive leaf dove, I had this image of someone sending the first one out, shrugging perhaps, and then going about his week, completing each days's work and tasks as need be, and then seven days later, sending out the next dove.

If it were me? I'd have sent the first one, then agonized over how the first one was doing, put my life on hold and waited and watched and waited and watched. Seven days that would feel like seven years would pass, and then I'd send out another...and repeat the process.

Now I wonder where is God in that?
I'm so not a patient person. People think I look patient and calm, but inside I go crazy sometimes...waiting and watching and putting my life on hold.

What if I'm to trust that God knows what He's doing and then I live each day as I'm supposed to -with the work and tasks the day brings..and calmly do what God has me to do?!

Woah. What a concept.

Know how you can hear something in a sermon or read something or hear a word from a friend and you just know (like peace in your heart know) that you were meant to hear that. That's how I felt when I read your words today about Noah waiting seven days.

Thanks. [sorry for the Longest Comment Ever]

PAUL said...

I am really loving these devotionals. I love your insight and I love that you understand that there is so much in the Bible that sometimes we just don't get. I mean I have heard this story millions of times (I may be slightly over estimating that figure) but didn't think it had anything to say to me anymore. So thanks for showing me to look for the layers

Flesheater said...

A very good lesson on patience and faith.
I've never thought about that in accordance with the flood story.