Apostasy and Backsliding

The Dove Has a Dovecote

Genesis 3:1–5; 8:9; Numbers 11:5; 1 Corinthians 10:12–13; 2 Timothy 4:10

Preaching Themes: Addiction, Apostasy, Creation: Renewal, Sin, Temptation

As children, we saw men throwing up carrier pigeons into the air, laden with letters, and we foolishly wondered how the dove knew the way to go with the letter, dreaming as we did, that it flew with it wherever the person chose to direct the envelope. We soon learned the secret: The dove bears the letter to her own dovecote. She will go nowhere else with it, and man does not know how to make the dove fly in any other direction than toward its own home. The dove is thrown up into the air; she mounts aloft, whirls round and round and round, looking with eager eyes, and at last she sees the place where she has been accustomed to rest, and where her little ones have been reared, and she darts straight to the spot.
Before the ark was built, no doubt, this bird frequented much a chosen spot where it had built its nest and reared its young ones, and its heart went toward it. Though it had been in the ark so long, it had not forgotten the past; and therefore no sooner has it liberty than it seeks to fly in the direction of its own dovecote, although that cote had been swept away forever.
And you and I, before we knew the Savior, we had a rest. Before we had experienced the sweetness of his love we found joy in sin. We built our nest, and we thought in our heart that we would never be moved. We were satisfied once after a fashion with the vanities of this present world. We had our loves, our joys, our pleasures, our delights. And that carnal old nature within us is not dead, and when it gets its liberty, it is sure to look out for its old haunts.
Have you not even, when singing God’s praise, remembered a snatch of an old, perhaps lascivious song? Have you not frequently, when in the service of God, had brought to your recollection a dark scene of sin in which you had a share? Though you have loathed it with the new nature, yet the old nature has tended toward it, and that base heart within, which will not die until flesh becomes worms’ meat, has whispered to you to go back to the fleshpots of Egypt, and once more to partake of the garlic, and leeks, and onions, which were so sweet in the house of bondage.
Yes, the dovecote still has its attraction. The best of men have still within them the seeds of those sins that make the worst of men so vile. The old serpent still creeps along the heart that has become a garden of the Lord. Our gold is mixed with dross. Our sky bears many a cloud, and the clearest river of humanity still has mire at the bottom. I do not wonder that the dove flew away from the ark when she remembered her dovecote, and I do not wonder that sometimes the old remembrances get the upper hand with our spirit, and we forget the Lord we love and have a hankering after sin.


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