Tuesday, May 17, 2016

5. Raven or Dove, Vacation Devotion

Genesis 8:7-12
Genesis 8:7-8 (KJV)
7 And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.
8 Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;

As I read and discussed this passage with my kids, even in our ignorance of birds we were surprised Noah sent out a raven. Doves are not pigeons, but they're homebodies. If Noah wanted a true meter of the outside situation, why send a raven? 

We truly are utterly ignorant of most animal behavior. I imagine Noah might have been even more ignorant than us. After all, he didn't have the benefit of Google. Just because he was the guy willing to build the ark doesn't mean he was "into" animals. 

I have cousins who seem to have been born with instinct and wisdom for God's creatures, great and small. I am grossed out by them, scared of them, annoyed by them. I like wild birds that I don't have to be near or take care of. I've had dogs through the years, but I travel too much to properly take care of them, and dogs need a LOT of care. My best pets have been cats. They're smart, born litter-trained, and aren't needy.

I would totally be sending "whatever flew" out that window to gauge if the flood had receded. 

But I've done some light reading on Ravens, and I can see which bird we should seek to behave as in our efforts to please God.

Ravens are quite smart, talented birds. They're incredibly social, and are aware of the moods around them. They have many "songs" which they've been known to use to lighten the mood of others in the treetops. They like to play with other birds. They are the rock stars of the bird community. 

It turns out that Ravens are just too cool to come into the hand of Noah. Ravens are too all-that to be in the Ark.

I've watched people be Ravens in the church. They were thankful for the knowledge of where to find salvation, but they refuse to submit themselves to their Noah-Pastor, and they refuse to come into the company of the Ark-church. Instead they alight as near as they can without commitment. 

Ravens are of no value at all. The people who need their beautiful songs are the ones who've endured the flood IN THE ARK. The animals who need their portable party are the ones who've been penned up in trials IN THE ARK. They need a word of hope that the waters are receding. They need a joyful song leader. 

But, oh, no. Ravens are too selfish to understand how they could be helpful. 

The dove didn't merely return to the Ark. She returned to Noah's hand. And she repeated this task until the matter was resolved. 

I'm going to confess to you that I am a Raven-personality. I don't like closed-in places, I literally AM a song leader, I am keenly aware all of the time of the moods around me, and I am driven to lift heavy moods with a party. So, I know the inner struggle of behaving as a dove when my instinct is to be a Raven. It's not easy, but I'll tell you how I've done it...

I pray everyday and ask God to make me a new creature. I repent everyday. I give God my will and I crucify my carnal nature. 

It turns out that God has needed me to be as both a dove and a raven. Because I'm willing to come into the hand (be submitted to) my pastor, and willing to be brought into the unity of the Ark-church, I'm a contributing help to the moods inside the church, and out. 

The raven stubbornly perched on the exterior of the Ark not only didn't help anyone inside the ark, but he wasn't a part of the "well done thou good and faithful servant" party either. He wasn't a part of the promise on the mountain. He wasn't a part of the celebratory hugs after crossing the finish line.

Don't be a raven at your church; you will not go in, neither will you let others in. Don't be a raven haughtily sitting aloft on the outside. Come into the responsibility of your pastor. Come into unity with the church. 

If this isn't your instinct, ask God to make you a new creature. 

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