“Do not deliver the soul of Thy turtledove to the wild beast” (Psalm 74:19).
How often this has been my cry of late. “The jaws of anxiety is at my neck, Lord. Don’t let it eat me alive!”
I’m not the only one. As I look at the families around me, almost all have similar cries. The evil one is attacking our families with violence.
I can well recognize the symbolism of the “wild beast.” He is our adversary, who prowls like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8). Whether depicted as a carnivorous bird (Luke 8:5,12), a striking cobra (Psalm 91:13), or a great dragon (Revelation 12:9), his mission is always to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10). I am not ignorant of these images.
But what about the turtledove? Why do I know so little about this gentle bird? Mentioned by the lamenting prophet (Jeremiah 8:7), the loving groom (Song 2:11,12), and even in the Christmas story (Luke 2:24), what secret does this small fowl hold?
The Hebrew word for the turtledove is “tor” for its rhythmic call “tur-tur-tur.” The Biblical species (Streptopelia turtur) spend winters in Africa and then migrate in the spring through Israel to summer breeding in Europe. Because of their gentle nature, turtledoves are easily domesticated and symbolize devotion. In the Pulpit Commentary on the Psalms, the Reverend G. Rawlinson notes how “Israel is beautifully compared to a pet dove” in this passage.
Turtledoves mate for life and share in responsibilities. During the breeding season, the male of the species selects several options for their nest and allows the female to make the final decision. He gathers the materials while she busies herself with the building.
How tender to ponder upon our position as pet dove of the King. We are encouraged to look at these birds of the air, how they “do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet (our) heavenly Father feeds” them (Matthew 6:26). As His own turtledove, He dotes on and protects us as a unique treasure.
I do not know a pet owner who would not protect their precious pet to the fullest extent of their humanity. How much more shall our Father Who is in heaven do for us (Matthew 7:11)? We are His beloved turtledoves.
But we are more than birds in a palace aviary. We are His bride (Revelation 21:9), and this match is for life. Nothing can separate our everlasting union. No one can sever us from His fiercely devoted love (Romans 8:39). His love coo repeats continuously in our ear, “I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not; I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down or relax My hold on you! Assuredly not! (Hebrews 13:5b AMP)
He is a Bridegroom Who grants me options but lets me decide. He is a Husbandman Who gathers what I need but allows me the joy and accomplishment to watch the growth. So is it not natural to assume that He will also be the One on Whom I can ask to deliver my soul from the evil one?
Yes, and I will believe.