Pastor Adam Mallett, Jr.
Adapted from sermon by
Pastor Gary DarDar, Jr.
As I listened to the second part of this sermon, I was struck very quickly with two thoughts that I would like to share with you all. During the reading of the text, two birds were mentioned, and those two birds are what I would like to discuss today. My wife and I were actually out on vacation for the Sunday that this message was delivered, and I am grateful for the way God works things out. Typically, I take notes during the sermon, then review those notes, developing them into a thought, or thoughts, that I can share here in this blog. However, having to listen back to the message, I did not have the context of what the Spirit might have been working through the whole service, I did not have the blessing of being in the “Sunday morning mindset,” and I did not have the blessing of having ample time to pore over the notes. But God is faithful to give us a word if we will seek Him for it! So today I’d like to share with you what He has put on my heart for this article.
The first bird that is mentioned in this passage of Scripture is the raven. God’s Word tells us that Noah sent out the raven, but the bird never returned. It is a morbid thought, but can you imagine the amount of dead things floating in the water after such a great flood? Millions of people, millions of animals, all destroyed by the waters. Pastor Gary mentioned in his message that the raven did not return because of its diet. A raven is an omnivore, eating basically anything. Its typical diet, however, is that of a scavenger. A raven will eat insects, eggs, plants, or anything it can get its beak on, including dead things. It is very common for a raven to scavenge from dead things that it finds. Why did the raven not return? Because it found deadness. And it feasted on that deadness! The raven was able to live in those dead, flooded conditions because it lives off of deadness. It is not a nice thought, but it is true.
What does this mean for us, practically? After the flood, deadness abounded, and that deadness invited more deadness. Do you have scavengers in your life? Are there people, things, activities, etc. that are thriving on the deadness that is in your life? We are not created to have a symbiotic relationship with scavengers! God created us for life! For the multiplication and fulfillment of life! Deadness has no place in the life of a believer. When we find that we have scavengers in our lives, things that are tearing us down, diminishing our life and liveliness, we must examine the cause for such a relationship. Why am I plagued by scavengers in my life? Deadness invites deadness! If we are harboring deadness, hiding or holding onto that which causes death, we should expect the raven to alight in our hearts! We should not be surprised that spiritual roadkill attracts poor company and a foul stench.
If we are to be rid of the raven, we must be rid of the deadness! If we are to stop the spread of deadness in our lives, we must identify and destroy that which is breeding deadness within us. If we are to be rid of our scavengers, we must starve them of what they are feeding from! This can be so hard to do. I am a complainer. I love to complain. I hate that this is true about me, and I am making a conscious effort to change this part of my mindset, but it is there. Complaining multiplies around me. People who know me know that they can complain to me. At a previous job, a culture of complaint was created. Someone confronted me about this culture of complaint, and made it clear to me that I had created that culture! Because I complained about people, and I was in charge, people complained about people. My deadness invited deadness! I am grateful for the direct nature of the conversation with that person years ago. It was not possible for me to remove that deadness by removing people who complained. My complaints created complaints! The only way for me to be rid of the deadness of complaining was to kill the source: my own heart of complaining and grumbling!
The second bird mentioned in the text is the dove. God’s Word says that Noah sent out a dove, but the dove soon returned, having fond nowhere to dwell outside the ark. So Noah waited, then sent the dove out again. This time, the dove returned with a sign! A freshly plucked olive leaf told Noah that the water had receded, and that the earth was ready to be re-inhabited! After so long on the ark, how ready must Noah have been to be back on terra firma! Yet, Noah waited still. The Bible says that Noah waited until God gave the word for his family to exit that ark. Though the earth had dried up, God was not ready for Noah to exit the ark. Though they could have technically exited the ark and started rebuilding, it was not time according to God’s plan. The door was open, but it was not God who opened it! How many of us run through every open door we see? We take opportunities that are presented to us, if they are good, assuming that our good God must have opened this good opportunity! Yet, not every open door is opened by God.
We must learn to seek the Father for His guidance. We must learn when to wait. Maybe God didn’t open that door. Or maybe He did, but doesn’t want you to walk through it yet. Not every job opportunity is God’s will. Not every promotion is God’s will. Not every vacation is God’s will. Not every mission trip is God’s will. I recently encountered an open door along the path that God has directed me to walk, but, through prayer and meditation, found that it was not a door for me. It was such a great opportunity, and it was right in line with the current direction that God has given me. But it was not the door that He wanted me to walk through. I don’t know when the next door will come into sight, but I trust His timing! Let the Holy Spirit, like a dove, direct your steps. Learn to recognize a God opportunity from a good opportunity! And trust His plan and timing for your life.