For behold, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers have already appeared in the land;
The time has arrived for pruning the vines,
And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.
The fig tree has ripened its figs,
And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance. ~ Song of Songs 2:11-13
We have been camped here for a couple weeks looking at the season change described here in the Song. Last week we looked at some signs of life, signs that the seasons in life were changing.
In the Song winter is turning to spring. It’s interesting because if I suggest to you a spiritual winter, you might think cold and dead, and many Christians do go through a cold dead winter. However in our Song we actually see that our maiden has been snuggled in by the fireplace, so to speak, in a calm and intimate place. She has definitely been in the “comfort zone.” The Lord is calling her out of the comfort zone and into ministry now that spring has sprung.
So back to the signs of life.
The Turtledove is a migratory bird, and one of the last such to show up on the scene. Once this dove is cooing from the trees it is full on spring. The turtledove is traditionally a lovebird, faithful to one mate, and it's low mournful cry can be heard when it arrives from the south.
The turtledove played a part in the sacrificial system and in fact Jesus’ earthly parents offered a pair of turtledoves at His birth. Jeremiah speaks of the turtledove in much the same way as Solomon does here, as a sign of the season change.
There is however a reference to the turtledove that I love in Psalm 74, a Psalm of Asaph.
This Psalm is a cry to the Lord to return and rescue Israel. It starts out like this:
O God, why hast Thou rejected us forever?
Why does Thine anger smoke against the sheep of Thy pasture?
Remember Thy congregation, which Thou hast purchased of old,
Which Thou hast redeemed to be the tribe of Thine inheritance;
And this Mount Zion, where Thou hast dwelt. ~ Psalm 74:1-2
Sounds like winter to me. Asaph cries out to the Lord later in the Psalm:
Do not deliver the soul of Thy turtledove to the wild beast;
Do not forget the life of Thine afflicted forever.
Consider the covenant; ~ Psalm 74:19-20
This winter for national Israel is clearly not the cozy winter by the fire of the Lord hearth.
Our maiden experienced a safe warm winter by the fire, yet there are times (and she will face these times too) when it just feels like God has turned us over and left us for dead.
I love the references in this Psalm, I love how Asaph calls out to the Lord, and how he refers to God’s people.
The Sheep of His pasture
That He purchased
That He redeemed
His dwelling place
And finally – Consider the covenant.
Remember, Lord your great and precious promises to me.
Do you hear the singing of the turtledove today as you move through the seasons of life? Are you in a soul winter?
Remind the Lord - call upon His name.
He made you, then purchased you, then redeemed you. If that does not demonstrate your great value, you’re missing it. You are the Lord’s turtledove, His lovebird, the apple of His eye.
I got a little rambly this morning, forgive me.
Come back next week, and we will finish these signs of life.
See you soon.