When God Shuts the Door

When God Shuts the Door

And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life. So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the LORD shut him in.(Genesis 7:15-16)

Genesis 7:5 says that in preparation for the coming flood, Noah did according to all that the LORD commanded him. Nothing was left incomplete or undone. Noah, his family, the animals on the ark, and the ark itself were ready for the tremendous flood about to happen.

When God Shuts the Door

Having entered the ark, they waited for rain. Genesis 7:10 says they were in the ark for seven days before the rains started and the fountains of the great deep were broken up. Those seven days of waiting were a test of faith, and it’s easy to imagine Noah’s skeptical neighbors mocking everyone on the ark. “You said the waters would come, and nothing has changed. You said God would send judgment, and everything is fine.” If they said something like this, it was only temporarily true. The waters came from both above and beneath, and soon the only refuge was the ark they had mocked and despised.

As God had promised (Genesis 7:4), after the seven days of waiting the waters poured forth for forty days and nights. In the Bible, the number 40 is associated with testing and purification, especially before entering something new and significant. This is seen in several cases.

  • Moses was 40 days on Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:18, Deuteronomy 9:25).
  • The spies were 40 days in Canaan (Numbers 13:25).
  • Israel was 40 years in the wilderness (Numbers 14:33, 32:13).
  • Elijah made a miraculous journey to Sinai over 40 days (1 Kings 19:8).
  • Jesus was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days (Mark 1:13).

Forty days isn’t a short time, but it also isn’t terribly long. It was long enough to stretch the faith (and patience) of Noah, his family, and the animals onboard, but it had an end. The finish was promised just as certainly as the beginning was.

Notably, the LORD shut him in. Noah did not have to shut the door to keep anyone out of the ark; God alone did it. After the same pattern, it is never the duty of God’s servants to disqualify people from salvation. If the door is to be shut, God will shut the door. God’s servants may warn, but God holds final judgment – not man.

In Noah’s time, one could say that God kept the door open until the last possible minute, but eventually the door had to shut. When the door is open, it is open, but when it is shut, it is shut. Jesus is He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens (Revelation 3:7).

The time of testing has an end (40 days), but so does the day of grace. While the door is open, come to Jesus and find refuge from the judgment to come.

Click here for David’s commentary on Genesis 7

Click Here for Daily Devotionals from David

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