Day 49: A Sign of Hope

Genesis 8:6-12

It happened at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ship which he had made, and he sent out a raven. It went back and forth, until the waters were dried up from the earth. He sent out a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from the surface of the ground, but the dove found no place to rest her foot, and she returned to him into the ship; for the waters were on the surface of the whole earth. He put out his hand, and took her, and brought her to him into the ship. He stayed yet another seven days; and again he sent the dove out of the ship. The dove came back to him at evening, and, behold, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off. So Noah knew that the waters were abated from the earth. He stayed yet another seven days, and sent out the dove; and she didn’t return to him any more.

It must have been very difficult being trapped in the ship for that long, especially after such a horrible event. Although it was probably nice for the rain to stop, it must have been difficult waiting for the water to subside for months. There was plenty of time for Noah to conduct experiments.

It’s funny that he sent out a raven first and it just flew around and never came back, so the next time he sent out a dove. Doves are far more likely to come back but would rather live on land than in the ship. The fact that the dove came back the first time proved to Noah that the water was too high, but when the dove came back with an olive leaf in her beak he was encouraged. The third time it didn’t return.

I don’t think it is natural for animals to bring leaves back to humans, at least not today. It may have been more likely at Noah’s time, but still, it appears to me that God was behind what happened. God had already promised Noah that he and everyone on the boat would be saved, but Noah was seeking a physical sign of hope. Now we see why a dove with an olive leaf is a symbol of hope. This is how God demonstrated to Noah that things were getting better.

Hope is very important for us as Christians. Good things are planned for us in future and that fact helps us get through this life. We should take heart because God has not forgotten us and He also gives us signs that remind us that Jesus is coming soon. The dove is also a symbol of the Holy Spirit. God has placed the Holy Spirit in us as a promise that the future is good for us and that we belong to God.