By Joe D. Sizemore
Text: Genesis 8:12
And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him anymore.
I think all of us are fully aware that in Noah’s great ship, that great boat, that was the ark of salvation, we can readily see that in the receding of the waters, there was a way that God wanted to use to tell whether or not the waters had completely receded off the face of the earth. They sent the dove out first and then sent out a raven, and the raven stayed. It didn’t come back to the ark. Now, the dove did return, the first time, but the second time, it came back with an olive leaf, and the third it stayed.
All of us recognize that the dove, in Scripture, is the symbol of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Lord. Keep in mind text that I have read, but also note Psalm 68:13 is a beautiful picture that the psalmist uses as a symbol of the Spirit, in the dove, that was a blessed promise of the future to those who and not have anything. You will notice that this is also where the phrase was coined that He would give us beauty for ashes. For when they sat in the ruins, among the ash heaps, and watched the silver-winged dove fly by and the gold-feathered just read it in Psalm 68:13:
Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow
It became a living hope; it became a living legend to all those who were down-trodden, for all of those who were the flight of the dove whose wings were sliver whose feathers were covered with gold, it seemed to fly and give the person sitting in the ash heap a new hope and help and a new bulwark and a new desire. For you see, always the thing that is directly associated with the Spirit and with the Holy Ghost. It can cause men from the ash heap of all ages and all times to have new hope, new visions, new dreams, and new encouragement from God.
As I begin to see that this dove went out of the ark, and Noah turned it loose, there was no place for it to find rest for its feet. No longer do you hear about it in the Scriptures. As 1 we move quickly through the early books of the Old Testament let me just mention them. I believe we need to come to this generation and let there be a legend of hope and help for this world that is literally falling apart. Rock and crevices are being broken; this world we live in is a world of crevices and open places, earthquakes in divers places and the earth cracking and opening up until some people in parts of the world just fear the earth. This world is being torn apart, broken to pieces because it is the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Scriptures that prevail all around and down through the ages. “Earthquakes in divers places,” Jesus said.
Who stands with a message of hope when people in sin and immorality are sitting on the ash heaps of life all the time? They need a new hope and a new help. They need to see the dove in the distance. They need to see the winged Spirit of the Lord fly through this generation, giving new help to the downtrodden, new hope for the sick, new inspiration to those who have lost the power of God in their lives, a new revival, and a new touch for the moving of the Holy Ghost to be effective in our soul.
I am looking across the horizon this evening, and I can see the winged bird. Hallelujah! I can see the wings of the Spirit as it makes its way through our world today. I’m glad for this great Pentecostal movement, dancing across the treetops like tongues of fire. It’s giving a new touch, help, and hope to this downtrodden generation. We need to see a real outburst of the Holy Ghost like never before. Pentecost is not a cult! It is not a faction hidden on the backside of the street. It is something in our time that gives new hope to a world that is downtrodden. The baptism of the Holy Ghost gives new life, new touch. And when you receive it, you will speak in an unknown tongue as the Spirit gives you the utterance.
This bird, as it began to fly from Noah’s window, moved across the chapters of Genesis, and the Book of Genesis is the book of beginnings, but it could find no place to put its feet. So she just had to keep on flying. Genesis was man’s initial steps away from God and the redemption plan was established (Genesis 3:15). Then you can see in Exodus, the book of deliverance; Leviticus, the theme being sinful man’s approach to a Holy God. But the dove could not light during those times; then Numbers and Deuteronomy, which was a rehearsal of the laws proclaimed at Sinai, called to obedience because the Spirit could not touch its feet to the law, could not touch its feet to the letter because if it did it would be killed immediately. And there was no way that the dove could come in union with the law.
There is no way, friend, that we can take the move of the Spirit and attach to it our own doctrines and dogmas and curriculums and factions, and make it work! We have killed too many doves in recent years. We have stopped too many moves of the Spirit in recent years. I am saying, “God, revolutionize us Pentecostals, for we are the only ones in this generation who have the message.” It’s a message of the blood. It’s the message of holiness. It’s a message of salvation. It is the message of the hour of God. The letter killeth; the law killeth, but the Spirit gives life. The law did nothing for the man in the ash heap, but watch the winded dove as she flies by, and he looks up at her as she flies, but as she flew on across the generations in Joshua, she couldn’t find a place to light, and in Judges still no place. The history of Israel is given during the time of the fourteen judges who moved on their judicial stands, but the dove went on by; it still couldn’t find a place to light.
There was the Book of Ruth, this young Moabite woman whose life was enriched by the moving of the Lord in her life. Then onto I Samuel and II Samuel, the dove flies on by, flies over the letters and the books of the law. She flies through the belching of smoke at Sinai, flies on through the sacrificial system. She flies through the darkness of nighttime and through storms, flies through the weariness of the soul, flies on because there is no place to light yet . . . no place to go.
Oh, but one of these days, there will be a resting place. She comes on through Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, Esther, Job and Psalms and Proverbs and Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations. She flies through Ezekiel and Daniel. I can almost see her now. The dove couldn’t put her feet down yet. Come on across Hosea, and Joel, but I see something in Isaiah. I see “with stammering lips and another tongues will He speak to His people. And say this is the rest, wherein the weary shall rest.” But she still can’t light. She’s flying through with her silver wings and golden feathers. Here comes the Spirit of the Lord, coming down Main Street, coming through the bus ministry, coming through the street ministry, she’s coming through. I see the dove come through Amos, comes over Obadiah and Jonah. The theme of Jonah was repentance. Micah, Nahum, and Habakkuk, with still no place to light and put her little feet down, but she keeps on flying through Zephaniah. I see her flying over Haggai, Zachariah, and Malachi, and then I see her fly over four hundred years of silence. But I see those wings of faith. Now she sees in the distance a landing place after all these years and all the flying. She sees the place to put her feet and light, for she sees the sinless One, the only One, the Son born from ages past. She sees our Lord Jesus, and she keeps a flying. She says, “I want to get there. I’m gonna get there.” The Spirit symbol, the winged dove, has made her way now through all the storms. The Spirit has made its way through every conceivable circumstance. The Spirit of God that moved on the face of the waters. Where do you think this Spirit will meet with flesh? Where will she finally light?
Well, I see John as he comes down in the last years with that dove still flying, coming across the ages. John the Baptist was on the back of the desert. The winged dove continues on her journey. Every stranger now can see her go by over the mountaintops, across the valleys, flying, flying and looking, looking, looking unto Jesus that one sinless soul, one sinless life. That’s the only pure place were that dove could put her feet down. And the Spirit let down on Jesus as the form of a dove. As it came down on Jesus, it was the only place that she found of purity to land on Jesus. All the prophets looked to Him. All the law looked to Him. All the kings looked to Him. All the sages looked to Him. All the world looked to Him.
I believe someone could be healed tonight because the Son of righteousness has risen with healing in His wings. He was the God on high before He ever came down here to live. He lived in the eternity that is long gone. He was the God of creation before he became the man of time, Christ Jesus our Lord. He was David’s root before He became David’s offspring. He was the mighty God, the everlasting Father, before He said, “There’s no other, neither shall there be any after Me.” He is the mighty monarch of the skies. He flies around the circle of eternity.
How can we be satisfied with rituals, programs, or proceedings when the God of the universe is here to give me new help and new hope and new inspiration? I’ve climbed up on the wings of heaven, and I’d like to say I’m riding between the shoulders of omnipotence tonight. The world can’t hurt me or destroy me! I can almost see that winged dove as it flies over this audience tonight. Tongues of fire need to set upon each of us! We are children of the King. We are children of God’s power. And none are exempt from the touch of God. No one should feel as if they have graduated from the touch of the Spirit of the Lord. Oh that sometimes disturbs me,
when older folks who have walked with the Lord for so long and so many years feels as if they are graduated from shouting and ordinary religious duty. They don’t go to prayer meeting. They don’t fast when you ask for a fast. They don’t pray when you want them to pray. They have sort of graduated into something, but I’ll tell you what they have graduated into. They have graduated into a glib life! They’ve graduated into a hopeless endeavor. They have graduated into a helpless and hopeless situation. I’m saying that every one of us needs a touch. We need the Spirit to touch us tonight with new vision, new help, and new courage. We do not have to sit with ten or fifteen in our Sunday school. We do not have to sit in broken down buildings when we have the very best to offer this generation along with the mighty message of the revealed truth, God’s Word.
A holy life and a Christian example is what’s important. I’d like to say that board members need to fast and pray! Trustees need a new touch! Sunday school teachers and Sunday school superintendents ought to be speaking in tongues ever now and then! There’s more to this than promotions alone. We need the touch of God. We’re not exempt from our religious obligations. Youth leaders need to feel the influence of the Spirit and power of direction. We that make up the leadership of our churches ought to be spiritual people. We ought to be anointed people. I’m going to let God be God in my life. I want the Spirit of the Lord to touch my soul, touch my lips, touch my fingers and my feet, ’til God touches me all over like God has never touched me before. Then when we have church, we will see people filled with the Holy Ghost without the traditional tarrying program. We need to see them receive the Holy Ghost before they ever get to the altar. You say, “We haven’t got any traditions in our Pentecostal services.” I beg to differ with you. We do have them. We have the traditional system of tarrying for the Holy Ghost. I’m not against coming to the altar and praying, but some are chronic seekers.
When that great Pentecostal storm swept Jerusalem, it was succeeded by great Pentecostal worship. Peter and John did not shed their robe of worship. The greatest scene we have at the beginning of Acts is a man getting up on his feet because two men were on their way to pray and worship.
Be fearful of anything that would tempt you or cause you to graduate from your religious duties. You just don’t rush into God’s altars and say, “I’ve got it all now,” and leave without coming back anymore. We need to follow our customary religious engagement for the Lord. Suspect any move that makes you neglectful of your ordinary basic Christian duties.
If anybody had a reason to think that they could dispense of their ordinary prayer life, it would have been these two men. But the dove (Spirit) touched them. It was something, the same thing that set upon Jesus as He stood there in the waters of baptism with John the Baptist. And the Spirit of God descended like a dove. It is the only place in Scripture that I ever found where it lit. And then you don’t hear of it anymore. Because One sinless life that came up with the dripping water of Jordan flowing off of his robes went directly to Cana of Galilee, where we see the turning of water into wine, for the miraculous had now came on the scene. Jesus of Nazareth was visiting the marriage feast. He visited the blind, the halt, and the lame. There was something extraordinary about His ministry. These mighty men (Peter and John) could have said, “We have outlived all of this. Our religious obligation is over.” But not so!
Inspiration never leaves you. It is the inspired man that holds the key. A man inspired will succeed. A church that’s inspired will succeed in its mission. We need the touch of the winged dove, a pouring out of the Spirit.
The above article, “The Flight of the Silver-Winged and Gold-Feathered Dove,” is written by Joe D. Sizemore. The article was excerpted from Sizemore’s book Hot Bread.
This material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.