Are you wanting to see God intervene in your life?  Are you wanting to see change?  Are you seeking God’s hand in provision, healing, direction, guidance?  I believe God works behind shut doors and that sometimes we are asked to shut the door for God to do the work in our lives.

When last did you shut the door?

In 2 Kings 4:1-7 there is just such a story of God working behind a shut door.  This woman and her sons had a mountain of debt.  Her husband was from the ‘company of prophets’ and was probably a good, believing man, but he did not work wisely with his money, we surmise.  She herself was faithful to the Lord, coming wisely to Elisha for godly advice.  This goes to show that even as believers trusting God in our lives, we can come to a place of lack before the Lord.  Then what do we do?

Elisha tells her to collect jars and then shut the door. We who read this story know that the Lord fills all the jars with oil, which she then sells to cancel her debt.  Now Elisha could have helped her with some money, but it would be a short term solution, instead he taught her to shut the door….

Why would God want us to shut the door?

  1. We shut the door to negative and natural voices that speak to us when we go to God. There are people that we should not take advice from – whose lives do not demonstrate a trust in God.  There are the negative voices in the world that tell us that God is not an option. There are spectators to our lives that comment on our lives out of a lack of faith. There are our own voices that are cynical and faithless and question God’s goodness to us.  Elisha tells her to shut the door because you cannot have these voices speaking to you while you are trusting God to provide.

Like Mary after Jesus birth, (Luke 2:19) hides what she knows about God in her heart, we too, need to go behind a closed door and commune with God, reminding ourselves what we believe about God and correct our hearts.

  1. We shut OUT fear and shut IN faith. This woman and her sons were going to lose everything.  She ran to God, not family, or the bank, or extended family.  When we shut faith in and shut out fear, what is little can become much, what is empty can be filled, what is lack can be provision and what is despair can become hope.

God responds to faith.

For Jarius, (Mark 5:35-42) seeking healing for his daughter, walking with Jesus to his home, fear was shouting as news came that his daughter had died.  But Jesus said: “Don’t be afraid, just believe.”  Then Jesus went into the room and shut the door, He shut out all who did not believe, the doubters and the mourners, so that the faith of the parents and the disciples could rise and could witness his power over death.

  1. We shut OUT disobedience. For the woman and her sons, the miracle didn’t start until she started pouring the oil, having obeyed God’s instructions by collecting as many jars as possible before the time.  When she had finished, the miracle stopped.  She could have skipped this first step and saved herself a whole lot of trouble, but she would not have received what she hoped for.  Sometimes we hope for a miracle but don’t take the first steps of obedience. Then we wonder if God does hear our prayers. We cannot merely hear the word of God and not obey it.

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do. (James 1:22-25)

  1. We shut the door when we pray and speak to God. For the women and her sons it was a private meeting with God where no-one but God was involved in their provision.  They met to do business with God.  In Matt 6:5-6 Jesus gives guidance on how we should pray.  He does not say that as we go about our public lives, we should pray.  He does not reveal the secret things there and does not reward that kind of prayer.  Instead, He says we are to remove ourselves from public and go to a private place with God, where we pray in relationship with Him.  There in our private place with the Lord, where it is just me and God, there God rewards those who seek Him out in prayer.  Jesus wants us to block out the world, the darkness and the confusion, to shut the door and be only with Him and then:

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

When last did you shut the door?

When Elisha chose not to meet her need for money, but instead told her to shut the door – he was teaching her something of much greater value, he was teaching her to pray.  Often when we are faced with needs in the world that cannot be met in our natural ability (Elisha could not meet her needs), we can choose for a spiritual ability, we can teach people to pray.  As we ourselves shut the door and start praying about that circumstance we cannot change, or that need we cannot meet.  Not only do we find help, but we show others how to pray for help.

Lord help me to come into Your presence and shut the door to the voices and opinions of the outside world. People who argue with worldly wisdom, have opinions about my life and do not know what You have been speaking into my heart.  Help me to nurture faith in my heart and refuse to listen to the voices of fear and unbelief that rise up in me.  Help me to do what You have asked me to do and be obedient to what I have understood from You already.  Help me to be regular in our time together and to be confident in the truth that You hear my prayers and are attentive to my cry.  Lord I want to see Your hand at work in my life and the people around me, help me to come into Your presence with confidence and trust.

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