Recently, I was reading in Genesis about Noah. I was rereading words I thought I had read so many other times. The story of Noah building the ark, and his family and the animals all loading onto it along with the Scripture in Genesis 7:16 seemed to call out to me. The last half of the verse reads, “Then the Lord shut him in.”
This Scripture seemed to stop me for a moment. The Lord shut them in? Like the Lord shut the door? I was baffled. Surely it must have some other meaning. So I scoured translations and concordances. Nope. It means exactly what it says: The Lord shut the door to the ark.
If you think about this scene long enough, you can imagine the details. Noah has been called by God to build this huge boat, so he does just that. He builds it for years and years. He is ridiculed. His family is mocked. Then one day, the animals begin to show up.
I have often thought about Noah’s daughters-in-law. The Bible doesn’t say much about their families. Did they have them? Who did they leave behind?
In utter bewilderment, like a surreal dream, they find themselves walking onto the ark. Were they scared? Did they grasp what was happening? Noah had heard from God, but what about his family? They were trusting God through Noah. I am sure the animals were loud and smelled bad.
The family had too long to think about this moment. They had hammered, sawed and prepared. Now, that moment had come. As they stepped into their new home, God shut the door. Was there a sound when he did? Was it an echo in the wooden ark? Did they feel it as it vibrated into their insides? Their world, everything that they had known before, was now separated from them with thick wooden walls.
Then the rain came. Was it a sprinkle at first? Was it a downpour? Did the people on the outside stare upward with their mouths open wide? They had never seen rain before. How long did it take for them to understand that Noah had been right? Did they get concerned when the rain went to their ankles? When it went to their knees, did they start pounding on the ark?
I can’t imagine the screams and the sounds of the people as Noah’s family huddled on the other side of the door. How long was it until they could no longer hear what was going on outside? Did the rain drown out those cries? When the boat lifted off of the earth because the water was too deep, did Noah’s family even exchange words, or was the shock just too much?
Then as the shock wore off and the monotony set in, who was the first to voice complaints about how long they had been on the ark? Was caring for the stinking animals wearing on them, or were they all just happy to be alive? As the days passed and boredom continued, what was it like on the ark?
When the ark finally hit land again, it was up on a mountain. Mount Aarat was its final destination. God shut the door to the ark, kept Noah’s family and the animals safe, and took them up.
I have been following the Lord for over 30 years now. As I sat reading this story, I couldn’t help but think of times in my life where I felt God had shut me in. I know I’ve never lived through a flood, and I am not trying to compare my journey to Noah, but I’ve had times in my life where claustrophobic situations made me feel as if I had been stuck in the same circumstance for too long, and frustration began to set in. There have been times where I was sure things would go one way, and they went another way altogether.
Doors shutting in your face can make you grow weary if you let them. I could see those times, and so clearly I could see that in them, God shut the door. When God shut the doors for Noah and his family, it wasn’t to make them be frustrated but to save them. God shut those doors for their protection, and when the season was over, they were standing on higher ground.
I feel God wants some people to hear this today. If the doors shut in your life that you were sure were supposed to open, stop being frustrated at God. He loves you. He has good plans for your life. Let Him take you through this storm and raise you up to higher ground. You can’t stay in that ark forever.
God did not tell Noah’s family to build the ark as a permanent home, but as a vessel to save them and to bring them up. You have to take your eyes off your current situation and fix them on heaven. Trust in your God, for truly, He loves you more than you know. He hasn’t brought you this far to let you stay on that ark forever.
God is also a door opener!
To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
“He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens, says these things: I know your works. Look! I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it. For you have a little strength, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name (Rev. 3:7-8).
I know the time on the ark seems long. I know it can get easy to get stuck in the day-to-day rhythm and feel as if you will never break free. I know it’s easy to wonder why some of those doors have shut in your life. I know sometimes when doors shut it’s painful, and it feels there are things forever separated from you. But God sees you. He sees you there doing what He has put before you. Even after you begin to see the “olive branch” there may be times where doors still stay closed because it isn’t quite time yet. But the time is coming. God is setting before you a door that no one will shut. Trust Him.
Anna M. Aquino is a published author, guest minister and prophetic voice. Her books: Cursing the Church or Helping It? Exposing the spirit of Balaam, Confessions of a Ninja Mom, An Ember In Time and A Marriage In Time are available wherever books are sold. She has been on TBN, TCT and a variety of other programs both TV and radio. Please feel free to check out her website at annamaquino.com
Anna M. Aquino is a published author, guest minister and prophetic voice. Her books, Cursing the Church or Helping It? Exposing the spirit of Balaam, Confessions of a Ninja Mom, An Ember in Time and A Marriage in Time are available wherever books are sold. She has been nominated as one of the top female writers of 2019 from The Author Show. She has been on TBN, TCT and a variety of other programs, both TV and radio. Please feel free to check out her website at annamaquino.com.