When God Shuts the Door

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They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. And 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)

I mentioned yesterday a message I received from a church member. It was titled, A Family in Lockdown. It was helpful. Here it is:

Forty days, forty nights in the ark. Noah’s family was confined in a boat. There were no windows, no balconies, no terraces, no Internet, no phone, no TV, no YouTube, Facebook or Netflix. They only heard the rain. They spent their time praying, loving each other and caring for the animals. God the Father took care of them as Noah was a man of faith and obeyed his word. Remember, even though out there is an ocean of viruses and life seems like a stormy ride, our God is watching over us! Do not be afraid. Be faithful to him and wait patiently. The rain will stop one day. A rainbow will shine and all will be well again.

With our 21-day lockdown having commenced, this is a good time to meditate upon the story of Noah (Genesis 6–9).

Genesis 7:16 tells us that, after Noah and his family entered the ark, “the LORD shut him in.” The door was closed, and it wouldn’t be opened until God said so. If my math is correct, it would be 377 days until he said so (see 7:7–11 with 8:14). Not a day sooner. For God was working his plan, just like he is working his plan in our lockdown.

Like the rain, the coronavirus is in God’s hands. It is an expression of his wrath against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of mankind (Romans 1:18). The government, in a sense, is behaving like an ark, seeking to protect us from the consequences of a sin-cursed world (though I doubt they would put it like this). Nevertheless, the plan is that if we stay inside (which, according to our minister of police includes die honde, for he said, “There shall be no dogs that shall be walked!”), then we will miss the worst of this horrible disease. Let’s pray towards this. But let’s also make the most of our time since God has shut the door.

Noah and his family were locked down for a very long time. How did they spend their time? I don’t know. But I know how we can: focusing on God’s promises, on his providence, and on his person.

As we are “shut in” (I imagine Noah would roll his eyes: “Only three weeks?”) let’s worship the Lord. If you are single, use this time to find Christ as your all in all. If you are living with others, find Christ as your all in all. We should all read more Bible than ever; we should pray more than ever; we can (should?) read good books more than ever. And if you have children, teach them about the gospel more than ever. Shut in doesn’t mean shut off. So, seek the Lord. And, like Noah, when we too emerge, we can build an altar of gratitude and remembrance of all God did after he shut the door (8:20).

Doug