Gussie Pucket - The Dove - Wyoming and Ronan, Montana Conventions

So often, we hear that the emblem of God's Kingdom is a little child. We are encouraged to have the spirit of a little child. We are encouraged to have the spirit of the lamb. Then there is another emblem of the Kingdom of God; the dove is typical of Christ. It is a wonderful thing if we can have the spirit of the dove. As far as I know, the only instance of the dove mentioned in the New Testament is Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:22, John 1:10 and John 10:16. The spirit of our lives is so important. I read one time that the waves of the ocean are failures, but the deep, silent tide is success. I feel that if the deep, silent tide of our life [our spirit] is right, and though a lot of noisy waves of failures and defeat are our portion, God will not pay so much attention to these things and we won't pay so much attention to the little things people do that are not right…if the spirit is right. I think the spirit is like the tide that God is controlling by the moon above. This deep, silent tide of the spirit God is controlling from above, too. I have thought so much of the great importance of having the spirit.


As I look back on my own life, I remember lots of times when I made mistakes, lost my temper, did and said things that never should have been done. In answer to all that, the thing that would have tided me over would have been a little more of the Spirit of God. That is the answer to all our needs. I have looked back and remembered a couple of times, I will mention one, when something trivial happened and I cried about it for a week. Every time I had a chance, I cried about it. For years now, I have been trying to remember what it was all about, and I couldn't, but that has helped me, that when little things come that hurt, a few years from now, I won't even remember what it was all about. A little more of the Spirit of God would have helped me.


Isaiah 11:2, "And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord." When Jesus came, the Spirit of God was going to find rest in Him. Luke 3:22, "And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove on Him, and a voice  came from Heaven which said, 'Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well pleased.'" The Spirit descending on Jesus as a dove, John saw the Spirit descending like a dove; it abode on Jesus and remained. We do not read anywhere God telling John that this would happen, but he must have known that, because he knew that would be the way he would know the Son of God when He came.


It was the close fellowship he had with God; God let him know that. However, we know that Jesus was recognized by John before the Spirit descended. John knew Him because of the sweet influence from the One who came. I don't think it was an accident, just by chance, that God chose the dove to be an emblem of the Holy Spirit. There are so many nice little tidings about the dove that show us plainly why God created that little bird and that little bird was chosen to embody the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit that found rest and peace that it could remain with Jesus.  The dove wasn't important, but his sweet influence was always seen in the life of Christ, and what a wonderful thing it would be if we could so live that this life of God could remain with us.


I think the reason this has come to my attention is that we have heard so much about obedience. It is obedience that brings the Spirit of God into our lives in the first place. In Romans, it speaks about "the love of God with obedience." The most important thing in any of our lives is obedience, because that brings the Spirit and the spirit brings love, and love accomplishes what nothing else can.   

 

I would like to tell you some things I have learned about the dove. Two or three times, some little exception has been taken to some little things I have said about the dove. Four years ago, I was with a companion South of Los Angeles. My birthday was drawing near and she asked me if she could plan my birthday for me. She took me to the fair grounds to where there were thousands of pigeons and the smaller variety, which is the dove. I had a chance to talk to the man who was an expert on pigeons, and he later sent me a book on the dove in the Holy Land in the days of Christ. In comparison to the size of the body, the dove has the smallest head of any bird, and that would not need any explanation in order for us to apply it to ourselves. Really, the description of Christ and His people to the extent they have this spirit in them.

 

The dove would represent people that wouldn't be heady or high-minded, but people that are humble, meek, lowly, people whom, under the influence of this Holy Spirit, will be like that, too. They are often found sitting at the feet of Jesus to learn of Him. They won't know it all, be big in themselves. They will want to be in that lowly position at the feet of Jesus.  It is really the most glorious place to be. I believe that is why it is said that He would make the place of His feet glorious because that is where glorious happy living starts, from the feet of Jesus. If we could be like the dove in having small heads, we could often be found in that place.


Jesus sent His disciplines out to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves. Doves are helpless and defenseless. When I was in Hawaii three years ago, we stayed in a Japanese home and we could hear the doves each morning. My sister said they are the dumbest little things. I have heard the same about sheep. They can be out on the lawn and they won’t defend themselves. I would have to go out and drive them away or the cat would get them. Doves have not got the sense to care for themselves. Another thing is its plain appearance. They are grey, brown, they are plain and unbecoming, they are not very attractive but I have learned to value them beyond words. They speak to me of the simplicity of Christ. They never attract the attention a peacock does. The dove is a plain, simple, unassuming, harmless bird, the emblem of peace and gentleness. In the human kingdom, the emblem of the Kingdom of God is a child. In the animal kingdom, it is a lamb. But in the bird kingdom, it is the dove.


They can not sing; they have a kind of mournful note. In the Song of Solomon, six times the dove’s voice is mentioned. Once we read of the dove’s voice being sweet. There is a kind of sweet sadness that the dove has. Matthew 5, "Blessed are they that mourn." Ezekiel 7:16, "But they that escape of them shall escape, and shall be on the mountain like doves of the valleys, all them mourning, every one for their captivity"…God comparing people that escaped from their captivity, thinking of their sadness, comparing them to the doves in the valley, every one of these people mourning for his iniquity. That is where the mourning comes in, in the family of God. God wants us to be sensitive enough and under the sweet influence of His Spirit, that we can mourn for our iniquities and the iniquities of others and then God's Kingdom suffers less.


It would not be very good mourning in self-pity. Isaiah 38:14, "Hezekiah said, 'I did mourn as a dove.'" I thought of what that man told me at the pigeon show. I asked him if it was true that pigeons and doves mated for life. He said, “Yes, they are true to each other for life. If one dies, the other one often just mourns and grieves itself to death.” I cannot help but think of Ephesians 4:30, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Study chapters 4, 5, and 6 of Ephesians; from those chapters, you can make a list of many things that would grieve the Spirit of God.  It did me good to make a list. I think I will avoid those things so that the Spirit of God could be more at home with me and find more peace.


In the Song of Solomon 4:1, 5:12, we read about the dove's eyes two or three times. I do not know if any know any more about dove's eyes; if you do, I would like to have you tell me. I don't know what it means, but I think that it means their eyes are clear, pure, and hopeful. For us as people, it would mean our eyes are single, pure, and clear, not looking at anything that would be defiling to us. I have brothers who like to hunt, shoot ducks and geese.  One of my brothers said, “I have never been able to shoot a dove; the look in their eyes, the harmlessness and innocence…that is one thing I cannot do.” The bridegroom, admiring the bride, talked about her eyes as dove’s eyes. I am sure there was clarity and singleness of eye. All other attention and affection centered on him. There was pureness and an unwillingness to behold things that are evil. Her countenance was comely and her voice was sweet.

 

I think these are things our Bridegroom would like to see in His bride, His people. No doubt God wants to see with single, pure eyes that don't want to behold evil. To the extent that we have the Spirit of God, we will close our eyes to a lot of things. The dove likes pure food and pure, clean water, just like sheep do. So many things are common to both the dove and the sheep and the children of God to the extent they have the Spirit of God. They are always found feeding on that which is clean and the bread of life.


The dove does not lift her head when she drinks. That man said, “She must be giving thanks all the time she is drinking.” I had told him what I was doing and why I was interested. I thought that was wonderful for a man not serving God to think about. I have read in encyclopedias that the dove does not have a gall. Someone took exception to that but this man said that is right, the dove does not eat protein and it does not have a gall. It is a wonderful thing that is true of that little bird which typifies the Spirit of God. Jesus typifies that spirit; there was no bitterness in His life. He could pray even for those who put Him on the cross. Our hard experiences can either make us bitter or better. It would be nice if we would let them make us better instead of bitter.


Then we read of the wings of the dove. Psalm 55.6, David was mourning, “O that I had wings like a dove.” He would like to fly away from trouble. I have read and I have been told that the dove flies swiftly and high. Another verse tells about the dove flying to windows above. The dove flying to windows - they like light. They are not like the bat and owl. 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 gold.” I am not very good at spiritualizing things, and I don’t know if I could just find what this means, but it helped me to think of this; if we have lain among pots, we could take some blackness, not to be much to look at, feel soiled. But there is covering as we would dwell in the secret place, that we would be like the wings of the dove, covered with silver, speaking of redemption and the feathers with yellow…gold for the purity of Christ. This verse spoke to me about the beauty of Christ-filled lives. A life can never be filled with Christ until it is filled with the Spirit.


The dove speaks so much of simplicity. God would never want us to get away from the simplicity. The dove has simple habits. She builds in the rocks or clefts not too far from the ground. That is why in the days of Noah, when the flood waters were receding, first of all he sent a raven which could find plenty to exist on because the raven feeds on dead flesh, but when Noah sent a dove, she came back. The second time she went, she brought back an olive leaf. He knew she had not found where to rest the sole of her foot. He waited and sent her again and she did no come back. The dove does not build too far from the ground but it can fly high. I think of you people and my fellow workers. We are close to the earth and we don't get very high above it. I know my co-workers have risen higher than I, have gathered things from God I haven't. Jeremiah 48:28, “Oh ye that dwell in Moab, leave the cities and dwell in the rock, and be like the dove that maketh her nest in the side of the hole's mouth.” I thought that was such a nice verse. The dove is defenseless like the lamb and the child, but she dwells in the rock. In Song of Solomon, we read about them building their nests in the cleft of the rocks.


Doves are not good mixers. They don’t mix with eagles or hawks but they love the fellowship of each other. We rub elbows with others, but we don't have to mix too much with the world. They love to be together and you do not see them much alone. There is a great lesson for us. We are not to mix too much with the world, but avail ourselves of the help of our brethren.


Jonah's name means dove. There were perhaps no dove-like qualities on that occasion when he ran from God's bidding, but he came back to it. He was redeemed and helped by God and he became like a dove. The dove is a symbol of quietness and gentleness. The description of the dove is the description of Christ Himself and His people to the extent that we give this spirit room and place in our hearts and lives.


Doves were used for sacrifice and that is not to be wondered at. It is not so much the bigness of our sacrifice, but the quality and the spirit in which we offer even the smallest sacrifice to God. Abraham never divided the bird and that was quite a while before the law was given. Abraham must have understood that the dove was to typify the Spirit of God, which is never divided…one Lord, one Faith, one baptism etc. Abraham understood that God wants His people to be undivided and as clean as they can be.


The doves and pigeons have a special instinct of orientation. They know where they are and know where they are going. They know the way home. You and I don't know the way home to heaven by instinct. It is not until we are born again, until we have knowledge, that we know the way home. They are very home-loving birds. The last is something that appeals to me as a worker. It sort of has to do with the message of God; it applies to you too, but even more to us. Doves were used to carry messages because they had this instinct of orientation; they always knew the way back. They were simple and unassuming. They would fly in and get to where they were going almost unnoticed and unknown. Their simplicity made them good birds to take messages. If they had been like the peacock, they would not have been. The dove flies swiftly and high, and could be trusted and knew the way home. In World Wars I and II, regiments of soldiers were saved because of messages these little birds took at the right time and place.


I understand there is a monument to doves. Every time I see one of these birds, it is a kind of memorial to me of the kind of spirit I should have. They did not tamper with those messages, but just waited for an answer, and if there was none, they flew back and waited for another message. They had nothing to do with the message but to take it. Is not that like the servants of God being sent out with the message and is it not their responsibility not to tamper with the message? I asked that man how they trained these pigeons. They always trained with those who were already trained. One without that experience learned beside one that did have it.


I feel so grateful for the women who had much more experience than I and so much patience with me when I went first into the harvest field that I was able to learn at their side. I never heard of a pigeon being paid for taking a message. They were satisfied with their food and shelter, just with the necessities and that is a great lesson for us too, as the messenger of God. In our modern world, with radar and electronics and so many ways of transferring messages, carrier pigeons are not used. But you know God has not changed a bit and He still depends on doves, on messengers with a little of the dove, to carry messages for Him. They are satisfied with the provision God makes for them. There is not any greater privilege in life than to help carry this message to others. These little birds have taught me so much. I would desire above everything else to have these qualities of the Holy Spirit.