In the third verse of the Bible, “… the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” The root word meaning is referring to a bird-like action.
Several chapters later in Genesis 8, a dove goes to and fro over the floodwaters after the judgment, seeking a resting place. The dove finds a place to land. It happens to be an olive tree. The dove in typical nesting behavior, carries an olive leaf in its mouth and becomes a symbol of peace between God and man, and peace between man and man.
Exodus 25 speaks of God dwelling among Israel, specifically between the wings over the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant. Psalm 84 speaks of a bird finding a home and a nest near “Your altar“. Rabbinic tradition describes the Shekinah dwelling presence of God as having wings. Psalm 132 speaks of God coming to His resting place.
Finally we see the Dove on Yeshua as He is immersed in the Jordan River:
“And John bore witness, saying, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained [rested] upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God’” (John 1:32-34).
For John this is a primary proof that Yeshua is indeed The One anointed of God’s Spirit!
The Spirit of God is searching throughout the world and throughout history for individuals, peoples and places in which He can dwell. God has a nesting instinct! It might sound disrespectful and sacrilegious, but it’s true. He is preparing an abode that will be completely His. Anyone who has longed to own a home knows this emotion.
He is looking for vessels He can fill. He wants to abide. Yeshua said, “He who abides in me and I in him will bear much fruit” (John 15:5).
A heart-wrenching Israeli song says in disappointed longing: “You promised a dove, an olive leaf.” On the face of it, the song is yearning for peace and the end of war. But the reference is clearly to the dove of Genesis. Subconsciously mankind is also yearning for the indwelling presence, yearning for God’s Spirit to come to us. “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously” (James 4:5).
God’s Spirit is the Dove. Similarly Israel is the Olive Tree – including its ingrafted branches from the Nations (Romans 11). Individually and corporately, how much do we want to be that resting place, that olive tree in which God’s Spirit can “nest”?
This article was originally published on Israel’s Restoration September 2015 Newsletter.