ONLY RETURN

I was noodling around in the Genesis story of Noah. Thought I would review the text before I saw the new, already controversial, movie “Noah,” that’s due for release March 28, staring Russell Crowe as Noah. In the eighth chapter we’re told that the Ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat and after 265 days Noah opens the window sends out a raven and a dove to check out the receding water. If you recall, the dove made three recon flights. The second returned an olive branch indicating life had returned to the earth and the third indicated living life had a new fresh start. So, after one year in the Ark, God sends Noah, his family, and all its creatures out into a new genesis.

The dove’s first attempt in verse nine is a worthy word to footnote. “But the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, and she returned into the ark to him, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her, and drew her into the ark to himself.” (Genesis 8:9)
The dove flew here-and-there in search of a place to perch—finding no place to rest. Exhausted in its efforts, the dove wearily returns to the ark—its only resting place. The bird struggled to reach the ark. All the while Noah kept a watch-out for his feathered messenger. Seeing the dove in distress, struggling to stay aloft having just enough in her to reach the edge of the ship, “he put out his hand and took her, and drew her into the ark to himself.” She flew as far as she could. Mercy extended its hand to this wandering, weary creature and was pulled into the ark.
Have you been wandering around seeking a place to rest your weary sinful self? Your rest awaits, all that is necessary is to return. “Only return—nothing else is needed. The dove came back with nothing to show for its wanderings—no hope to offer, just itself. “Only return”—you will be received. God’s out stretched hand of mercy is in front of you right now! Take it! Stop backsliding! Fly into his grace!
“‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the Lord; ‘I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,’ says the Lord; ‘I will not remain angry forever’” (Jeremiah 3:12). Note that God doesn’t say here in this text, “Return, repenting Israel,” but backslider. God offers to you a gracious word—“return.” Every moment you spend waiting only increases your misery. Stop looking for the right time. Come to Jesus just as you are—black as a raven mucked-up with sin—He is waiting with arms wide open to draw you in to Himself—the only place for your heart’s true rest.

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