When God Shuts The Door

Locked door with aged patina

At different times, I, and others, have prayed to the Father for “doors” to be opened so that good works can be done.  Through His providence, God has done just that over the years.  However, we need to realize that the same God Who opens those “doors” is the same God Who can shut “doors” as well.

     Take for instance, Noah, the ark, and the flood.  Many of us can relay how that God used the flood to bring judgment upon a wicked humanity.  However, we also can recall how that eight souls were able to escape punishment by being allowed to enter the ark of safety.  Those eight souls were Noah and his wife, along with their sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth and their wives.  Moses described this event in the book of Genesis.  “And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.  And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood” (Gen. 7:6-7).  Further description is also found later in chapter seven, where we find, “In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark; They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.  And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life” (Gen. 7:13-15).  Out of all of the human beings on the Earth at the time, only eight were saved (1 Pet. 3:20).  That tells us of what happened to them, but what about those who did not get onto the ark?  Moses indicated that “…the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.  Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.  And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:  All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died” (Gen. 7:19-22).  The population of the world had grown significantly from the Garden of Eden to the Flood.  So, it is not inappropriate to say that “many” were destroyed in the flood.  This is not because of lack of trying by Noah or God.  Through Noah’s preaching, the world had an opportunity to hear the Word of God (2 Pet. 2:5).  That means that an overwhelming majority of people heard but rejected what God had decreed.  Whether they liked it or not, judgment was coming, and it finally did.  An interesting piece of information is also recorded that has yet to be discussed.  Moses also wrote, “And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him:  and the LORD shut him in” (Gen. 7:16).  That is correct, God shut the door of the ark.  No more opportunities were given to get into the one place of safety.  I can only imagine the fear and regret that so many had when the waters began to rise.  No salvation for them, but instead, devastating punishment.

     Now let us turn our attention to some interesting things that Jesus had to say.  On one occasion, the Lord was asked “…are there few that be saved” (Luke 13:23)?  His answer should certainly get our attention.  He said, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate:  for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.  When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are” (Luke 13:24-25).  Again, a door is shut.  This time by “the master of the house”, who, in the account, represents the Lord.

     Then there is the account of the wise and foolish virgins.  Five wise virgins had prepared for the coming of the bridegroom and five foolish virgins had not prepared.  The bridegroom came at a time when “…they all slumbered and slept” (Matt. 25:5).  The wise virgins had nothing to fear because of their preparation.  Jesus said, “…they that were ready went in with him to the marriage:  and the door was shut” (Matt. 25:10).  The foolish virgins, who had scrambled to try and make themselves ready, were too late.  One again, a door was shut.  The foolish virgins pleaded, “…saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.  But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not” (Matt. 25:11-12).

     What can we learn from these three accounts?  God is merciful, and He gives us opportunity to avoid punishment.  However, many do not take the time to ready themselves before judgment begins.  Each of us should make sure that we have obeyed the Gospel, and that we are living faithful lives (Rom. 1:16; 2 Tim. 4:6-8).  Once God shuts the door to everlasting salvation, it will not be opened again!
~ Corey Barnette