The lowly dove is a common bird. Not flashy, like a peacock, or talkative, like a parrot, the dove too often goes unnoticed. But the lowly dove is my favorite bird, and a prophetic sign on earth.
The Lowly Dove as Peace in the Bible
The dove is the universal prophetic symbol for peace. This makes sense, as we first see the dove in the Bible during the great flood. Noah sends out a dove to see if the land is dry, and the dove comes back with an olive branch. This is the first sign that the flood is receding, a sign that God has washed away all wickedness, making peace with humans.
In another Biblical prophetic moment, a dove descends from heaven during Jesus’ baptism. This is a foreshadowing of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. At the cross, God once again made peace with sinful humans.
The lowly dove is a mild, quiet creature. The work of peace is quiet, not flashy like the work of war or work of fame. Doves are common and plain-looking. People even scoff at the larger doves, called pigeons. People do not pay enough attention to the the dove, and the quiet work of peace, but the lowly dove is the symbol of the Holy Spirit.
The Dove and the Holy Spirit
Just like the lowly dove, the work of the Holy Spirit is quiet, not flashy. The work of the Holy Spirit is to bring healing and peace with God to the heart of the believer. The Holy Spirit teaches us peace by doing what is right.
In Micah 6:8, God lays out His requirements: To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with God.
Justice, love, mercy, and peace. The lowly work of the Holy Spirit.
In Jeremiah 5:26-29 (NIV), God shows clearly how the people have gone astray from His commands:
26 “Among my people are the wicked
who lie in wait like men who snare birds
and like those who set traps to catch people.
27 Like cages full of birds,
their houses are full of deceit;
they have become rich and powerful
28 and have grown fat and sleek.
Their evil deeds have no limit;
they do not seek justice.
They do not promote the case of the fatherless;
they do not defend the just cause of the poor.
29 Should I not punish them for this?”
declares the Lord.
“Should I not avenge myself
on such a nation as this?
The American church today is every bit as guilty as ancient Israel for not seeking justice, for not promoting the case of the fatherless, for not defending the just cause of the poor. The American church follows the way of flash and fame, gathering storehouses of wealth for their buildings, their staff salaries, for themselves. They reject the works of compassion and justice of the Holy Spirit. They forget the work of peace of the lowly dove.
In response, God is planning on bringing justice Himself to the poor and lowly of this nation. America has rejected peace with God and has therefore rejected the Holy Spirit. God will judge rightly.
False Work of the Holy Spirit
Ironically, today’s Charismatic church worships the Holy Spirit. They constantly seek some new “indwelling,” some new “fire tunnel of prosperity”, some new experience. They want a flashy gift of tongues, a great show of rolling around on the floor and getting “drunk in the Spirit.” They want the glitter of the Holy Spirit without the works of justice done in secret.
They disdain the lowly dove, the creature that draws no attention to itself but simply worships God, the creature who seeks to help its neighbor in secret with no big fanfare of false giving. Even Jesus said that when you give to the needy, don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing (Matthew 6:3).
Lowly Works of Righteousness
The American church needs to wake up and follow the ancient paths of righteousness. They need to reacquaint themselves with the Holy Spirit, the spirit of God.
Instead of throwing lavish “Holy Spirit parties,” they need to learn how to throw lavish parties of giving. Instead of rallies for abortion legislation, they need to have rallies for social justice for the poor and helpless. They need to be busy advocating for the widow and orphan. If they take care of poverty first, abortion will end.
The church need to be the first in line, offering everything of themselves to take care of the needy around them. This is the work of peace with God, the work of the lowly dove. It may not be flashy, but this is the true work of the Holy Spirit.
The way of the lowly dove is the way of peace with God.