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How does the Holy Spirit lead us? Noah sending out a dove, Genesis 8

Updated: Feb 6, 2023

Many of us feel "frustrated" as we follow the Holy Spirit, sometimes we feel his presence in prayer and other times He feels extremely distance. Sometimes we get night after night of vivid dreams and visions revealing God's future promises and blessings, but then they go away for months... Did we lose the promise? Did God change His mind? The short answer is no... but I'm sure you want more than the short answer! In this blog I'll be explaining how God moves in our lives and why we can often feel "disoriented" by misinterpretation and wrong expectations.

This teaching is found in Genesis 8, we pick up on verse 8 and will continue through verse 18. I'll post it below for reference, but I'll be quoting it as needed throughout the post.

Genesis 8:8-18 "8 Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; 9 But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark. 10 And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; 11 And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. 12 And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more. 13 And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry. 14 And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried. 15 And God spake unto Noah, saying, 16 Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee. 17 Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth. 18 And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him:"

Quick Recap

Noah was 600 yrs old when he got int the ark and was 601 yrs 2 months and 27 days old when he got out. Gen. 8:8-18 lists Noah's interactions with a dove and the process he followed once it returned:

  1. Sent out the dove * found no rest & returned * waited 7 days

  2. Sent out the dove * dove came back at evening * in her mouth was an olive leaf * Noah knew the waters were down * waited 7 more days

  3. Sent out the dove * dove didn't come back * Noah removes the covering from the ark * was able to see the dry ground after the covering was removed * waited 56 days (8 times 7)

  4. God spoke to Noah and told him to leave * Noah and his family leave the ark * Noah builds an altar

The Ark

Noah's ark was build in obedience to the word of the Lord. God had Noah build the boat to get him through the coming tribulation of the world. Our spiritual boats signify the same thing. God's promises keep you from begin swept away from the tribulation of the world.

The Dove Found no Rest

What does the Dove represent?

The dove is symbolic of the peace from the Holy Spirit. When moving and transitioning in life, the Holy Spirit guides you with his presence. The presence of the Holy Spirit is there for a symbolic seven days.

What does 7 mean in the bible?

Seven represents God's fulfillment of time, the passing of a specific and predefined measurement of time. A few examples of this is in Leviticus 15. God gave the Levites rules and signs to recognize leprosy. Each time they'd discern certain types of leprosy they would have the leprous person isolate themselves for seven days. After this time period the Levites would wait to see if the leprosy grew or changed. Seven was the perfect amount of time to discern a change in the potentially leprous person. Another example is found in the week of creation itself! After seven days God's creation and rest was complete, fulfilled, and lastly is found in Aaron's consecration. Aaron and his sons had to go through the consecration phase once a day for seven days. The seven days signified the completion of atonement for Aaron's sin (his eventual fall to the golden calf, and failure to minister), and completion of ordination for the rest of his generations. This doesn't literally mean seven days will mean God's perfect time in your life. It just means your "spiritual seven days" could be any period of time until God's perfect preordained time has been fulfilled.

His Peace Will Come, Then Go

The Spirit will give you peace for a specified period of time during a place or situation, and once that time is up / fulfilled, His peace leaves. God takes his peace to get your attention, He is getting your attention because He has something for you but wants you to seek Him.

The Olive Leaf

What does the olive leaf represent?

What's waiting for you is found in the return of the dove, an olive leaf. The olive leaf signifies a promise of growth. Often times in our lives, this is going to manifest as dreams and visions of coming growth or seeing the answer of God's past promises. But once God renews the promise, He begins to take his peace again. This doesn't mean God forgot about you, or even that you lost the promise, it's to get your attention, again.

God is doing this to get you in the mindset of "seek", but be warned, if you don't seek Him, everything is put on pause until you go to Him. God is always waiting on us, and it is rarely the other way around.

The Ark's Covering

Why didn't the dove come back to Noah?

This time, the dove didn't come back to Noah. Instead, Noah removed the covering from the ark and he was then able to see the dried ground. Coverings in scripture represent your authority. I don't want to get too deep into coverings, but from a very top down level, Christ is our covering. Jesus is who's over us and as we are under Him we receive the protection, love, and salvation that comes with Christ. I encourage everyone to read through 1 Corinthians 11, it's very foundational to understand what God expects from us as the bride of Christ.

What does the covering represent?

Removing a covering is symbolic of several things, from breaking free from financial coverings like Jacob fleeing from Laban, to breaking free from fleshly fatherly coverings like Gideon and his father. This phase could be God directing you to leave a job, breaking free from family connections, leaving your spiritual covering, or leaving worldly relationships. No matter the covering, God is the only one who should direct you to leave it, otherwise it's rebellion (I'm specifically referring to family and spiritual coverings, both of these are very important to the Lord and should always be honored). The reason God sets you free from a covering is because He wants to be your direct covering in this capacity. You've outgrown the old, and have to remove the "shell" before you can inherit the new.

Why did Noah wait 56 days?

Take note, Noah waited 56 days after removing the covering. During this whole time, Noah could visibly see the dry land, I'm sure he saw the green grass, even possibly the tree the olive branch came from, but he stayed put! This part is so crucial, you might be in the waiting phase wondering why it's taking so long for God to come through with His promises, but He's testing you. Are you more interested in the green grass (the blessing that's right in front of you), or are you fully committed to obeying His voice, even when it makes no carnal sense.

There is even more wisdom in the number of day's Noah waited. 56 days is 7 times 8, eight represents God's grace as there was only eight people saved from world destruction. If we plug that into seven's representation of God's perfect timing, we see clearly God's "delay" is really Him teaching you his perfect grace through the trial of time.

Learning this takes TIME, which is why it's the longest part. Most often, a spirit of religion is why this phase takes a long time, religion teaches "works earn the blessing" but God's grace teaches faith alone. God's grace is only accessible through faith alone, Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast." The testimony you end up sharing will be a testimony of God's perfect grace, received only through faith, so you can't boast of your own works.

The Last Step

The last step was God's word telling Noah to leave. This last step is the culmination of the whole trial of faith, patience. God's word is what directs our steps, and we access it through the written bible and His Spirit. God is infinitely patient, and this is what burns many people. We are impatient, we expect things to happen in our time periods, but God isn't like that. This is why we doubt if something we heard was the Holy Spirit or not. The truth is we WANT it to be the Holy Spirit, but we both know that when God speaks there is no doubt. Most often, it's a spirit of impatience and your own heart that's imitating the Holy Spirit because you lack patience. God waited so long to tell Noah when to step so Noah could learn patience. God's silence is teaching you the same thing.

Saul is an example of what impatience can do, Saul was told by Samuel to wait 7 days before attacking the Philistines but Saul didn't listen. On the 8th day Saul moved forward without Samuel, then lost the promise of the kingdom (1 Samuel 13). Be patient.

Noah's Altar

Once Noah left the ark, he built an altar. The altar is a memorial in your heart, it signifies you testifying of God's great grace during your trial and His unchallenged faithfulness to fulfill His promises. Most often, after God fulfills his promises, people forget about Him and begin to worship the blessing. It could be anything from financial provision to miraculous healing, if you don't keep the same lifestyle of zeal and intensity you had in the "ark", you're doomed to not make it through the next flood.

God is not double minded, He didn't forget about you, He didn't stop loving you because you made a mistake, and He didn't take away the promise because you "haven't heard from him in a while". Seek his face, grow in patience, and keep your eyes on your own ark.

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So timely! I was asking the Holy Spirit about this just yesterday. God bless you brother.

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