Our "lady of the Bible" for this week is a little unusual . . . we've looked at animals before, in our series, but this week's lady is for the birds. (Grin)
Remember the story of Noah? (That's where we find our friend the dove.) Did you know that many, many of the cultures across our globe remember his story? Well, in slightly different form, perhaps, but there are some striking similarities . . .
In Aztec legend, a man named Tapi was very pious, and received a message from the creator to build a boat that he could live in. He was also told that he should take his wife with him, along with a pair of every animal that was alive. Of course, all of his neighbors thought he was nuts. But he obeyed, and then the rain started, and the flood came. Even though they climbed the mountains to escape the waters, men and animals perished because the mountains were flooded, too. When the rain finally ended, Tapi let a dove loose from the boat, and when she didn't return, Tapi decided it was safe to go out.
If you travel to China there is an ancient temple where you can see a painting on one wall, showing a man called Fuhi in his large boat on the raging floods. There are dolphins swimming around his boat, and a dove with an olive branch is flying toward Fuhi.
Online research will net you about thirty-five countries that have "flood stories." East Africa, Australia, Bolivia, Egypt, Iceland and India . . . these are just some of them. Thirty-two of these include humans being saved by being on a boat, and twenty-four of them include animals being spared. Last but not least, six of those include references to a dove!
Something must have happened on a world-wide scale, don't you think? (Grin) Of course, we know what happened! It was a flood that destroyed almost all of mankind (just Noah and his family were spared) because of their wickedness.
Let's look at the verses that we will focus on, shall we?
Scholars tell us that this was not the 40th day of the flood itself; the ark would have been afloat for months as the waters subsided and then began to recede.
Noah released the raven, and the Bible tells us that the bird never came back into the ark itself . . .it could have rested on the top of the ark, or perhaps it found a mountain top uncovered by the receding waters. But it never returned to the safety of the ark.
Our friend the dove was sent out three separate times -- the first time, she finds no place to rest her feet, so she returns to the ark and Noah. The second time, she returns with an olive branch in her beak, indicating that something is growing -- progress! Then, the third time, she flies away and does not return.
Why should we study this dove, and try to find lessons here for us?
That's why! All of the scriptures, not just the parts we find enjoyable, or likable, but all scripture is God-breathed and useful. So this week, let's study the dove!