Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Doors in Scripture

In this post I am going to list a few Scripture verses that relate to doors, as I said I would. But first, a quote from CS Lewis. It sort of ties into the last "door" reference in Revelations!

At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendors we see. But all of the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in.  C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

 With the internet, it's so easy to do a topical search.  I went to Bible Gateway and entered "door". (That sounds funny in this context:  gateway, entered, door).   A lot of references came up, but I tried to limit my picks to ones that seemed to particularly refer to doors in a more metaphorical or even sacramental way.   One thing that struck me was that our "hearts" or the core of our being, perhaps our souls, figuratively have a door which can be opened or closed.  And by extension, since "out of the heart the mouth speaks", our mouths also have a door.  The task seems to be to open them to the right things and close them to the wrong things.  

There seems to be a significance to "doors" beyond  the personal one, which reaches to our relationship with God; more properly, how God reaches towards us.   I noticed that there is a sort of progression through the Old Testament and into the New.   In Exodus the door, marked by the lamb's blood,  is a protection.  In Deuteronomy, the people are told to write the story of God's acts on their doorposts and gates, in order to remember to teach them to their children.  Later, speaking through His prophets, the Lord talks about a "door of hope" but also exclaims in anger that doors will be filled with rubble and that the cities will be destroyed.

In the New Testament, Jesus tells us to knock at the door, but also warns that the door will someday close and shut out the unprepared.  James warns us that the Judge is at the door.  We do not have forever to decide.  And finally, in Revelations, it is He who knocks at our doors, and waits for us to let Him in.    And the final reference in Revelations is of a "door standing open to heaven"  -- Hope is fulfilled. 

The individual verses are below -- though I know how hard it is to read a list of verses.   I am sure that any one of these verses could become a starting point for an entire sermon, but I am not the one to bring them out.   I just notice the interplay that Our Lord consistently requests -- how deeply the idea of "door" stands for relationships, primarily our relationship with Him, and for decisions:  "Choose this day whom you will for me and my house, I will serve the Lord."  .  

By the way, though I know the anger of the Lord often strikes unbelievers as being mean and uncivilized, the impression I get in the context of the lengths He is willing to go to, in order to change our stony hearts to hearts of flesh. And to me, the stony heart syndrome seems like the worst aspect of human life. My stony heart only wants to stay safe, solid and dead but deep inside, I know that this is the worst fate that can befall me. Yet at the same time He waits at the door -- He lets us have doors, in order that we may open them or shut them.

"He loves, He hopes, He waits. If He came down on our altars on certain days only, some sinner, on being moved to repentance, might have to look for Him, and not finding Him, might have to wait. Our Lord prefers to wait Himself for the sinner for years rather than keep him waiting one instant."
-St. Julian Peter Eymard
This is getting far from the topic of decluttering and cleaning, but again, perhaps not.  I am sure from my last experience decluttering that clearing a path can be an important part of opening a door.  And it's hard to open doors cheerfully when the interior is dirty and disordered! 

Genesis 4:7
If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

Exodus 12:22
Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning.  When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.

Deuteronomy 11:20
9 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.

Job 31:32
but no stranger had to spend the night in the street, for my door was always open to the traveler—

Psalm 141:3
Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.

Hosea 2:15
There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.

Zechariah 11:1
Open your doors, Lebanon, so that fire may devour your cedars!

Matthew 7:7
[ Ask, Seek, Knock ] “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Matthew 25:10
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

Matthew 25:10
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

Luke 13:24
“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.  Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’

John 20:26
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

Acts 14:27
On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.

Colossians 4:3
And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.

James 5:9
Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

Revelation 3:8
I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

Revelation 3:20
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

Revelation 4:1
After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”

1 comment:

  1. I like this collection of verses!
    I think I'd like to put Revelations 3:20 over the front door on the inside of the house (to remind me to welcome Christ in every person), and James 5:9 on the outside (to keep them on their toes)! That would make for some interesting conversations with visitors. LOL

    I really appreciate you going through this series. I've had Howard's book for a long time but never managed to make my way through it. His writing style is just a bit dense for me (or my attention span more likely).


I would love to hear your thoughts on this!