THE DOORS OF GOD’S PLAN*
You have probably heard the saying, “When God closes a door, He opens a window.” Doors, closed doors and opened doors, have been an important part of God’s relationship with mankind since the beginning. During this three part series, I’ll examine some of the places where a door – either one that closed or one that opened – has made a difference to mankind and his relationship with God.
PART ONE – Well, that went downhill quickly!
THE “DOOR” TO THE TREE OF LIFE -- THE END OF GOD’S OPEN DOOR POLICY
God and man started out with a personal, intimate and face-to-face relationship. Seems like God came to chat with Adam and, later Eve, every day. We all know what happened to that relationship. Eve and Adam ate the forbidden fruit and sin entered the world. Among the punishments God invoked was their banishment from the Garden and being shut off from the tree of life.
Genesis 3:23-24 [NIV] So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
At that point, God closed off the way to the Tree of Life, using an angel with a flaming sword as a very effective closed and locked door that barred their way from coming back. Once that door was shut, it was too late for Adam & Eve to decide to partake of the tree of life. Surely, they regretted their decision all the days of their lives – just as we believers today still lament what was lost there in the Garden.
The door to that face-to-face relationship also slammed shut on all the rest of mankind for a very long time. But it wasn’t shut forever. The rest of our story – the story of God and man – is about getting back to what was lost on that fateful day – about getting back to God’s open-door policy in His relationship with man.
THE DOOR TO THE ARK -- MANKIND GETS A RESET
Since Adam and Eve left the Garden, mankind had been on a path of self-destruction.
Genesis 6:5-6 [ESV] tells us The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.
This word properly translated regretted here is literally “to sigh” and can be translated to grieve, repent, regret. I think of the times my children frustrated me and I gave a heavy sigh before taking action.
I don’t mean to minimize the actions God took. He wiped out every human with the exception of Noah’s family. But I don’t want us to think that this translation means that God came to be sorry He ever created mankind in the way that if He had a do-over He would just prefer do without us. If that was the case, I don’t think He would have saved Noah. God still had hope for a future with mankind. And He had a plan for mankind – to get us back to that intimate relationship. God had in no way lost His will or nerve for continuing that plan to redeem mankind and to rebuild a personal, intimate relationship with His creation.
I believe that, had they repented, others could have joined Noah’s family on the Ark. There is every indication that Noah preached to those around him, while he was building his own ark that would provide safety and survival for his family and the animals.
1 Peter 3:20 [ESV] because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.
2 Peter 2:5 [KJV] And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth [person], a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
Noah preached to the people who came to see what crazy thing he was up to. When he answered why he was building a huge boat on dry land, surely, the words “repent and be saved from the flood that is coming” were part of Noah’s message. No one listened. No one repented. Once the rain began to fall, I imagine everyone who had heard God’s message through Noah wished they had listened. But once that door was shut, it was too late for the people of that time.
When the flood was over, God set about continuing to work His plan to redeem mankind. The rainbow He sent, and that we still see today, reminds us that His plan is still in motion.
Who of us have not been guilty of doing something we know we should not? Sin entered the world via Adam and Eve, but it didn’t end with them. Sin is alive and well in the world today. Even we believers who strive for obedience still trip up and sin.
However, sweet sisters, God had a plan from the beginning, it is actually revealed in Genesis 3:15 [NKJV] And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.
Satan strikes at our heels today, but Jesus was destined, from the foundation of the world, to strike a deadly blow to the serpent’s head. And this is good news for all of us sinners.
I’m getting ahead of myself, though. Next week we will examine a couple more doors, in a blog titled: “When following God’s instructions meant life or immediate death.”
I welcome your thoughts, comments and questions. You can write me any time at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org.
*This blog series was inspired by a booklet I picked up at the Ark Encounter, titled “Doors of the Bible.” While we addressed many of the same doors, my work is original content and not copied from the booklet. My beliefs about God’s plan of Salvation, reward for the saved and that there is no eternal hell fire as a place of torment for the unsaved, significantly separates my focus the doors of God’s plan from the Ark Encounter’s “Doors of the Bible.”