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Closed Doors in the Bible
We’ve all heard the saying, “If God closes a door, he will open a window,” or “if God closes one door, He will open another.” These specific phrases are not found in the Bible, (they are, in fact, from the movie, The Sound of Music), but there are quite a few verses about closed doors that can be found. We’ll explore a few biblical examples of closed doors today.
(In a recent post, we discussed open doors in the Bible. Take a look at that post HERE.)
The stories of Christ’s resurrection and in many other places in the Bible are filled with closed doors. It is a common phrase in the resurrection narratives: “the doors being shut for fear of the Jews.” The disciples had lost their leader and teacher, and they feared that they themselves would become victims. That fear led them to flee. It led St. Peter to deny that he even knew Christ. It led them all to hide behind closed doors.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” – John 20:19
However, we can find many references to closed doors occurring even earlier in the Bible. The first doors known in the stories of Scripture are the gates of Paradise, the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve, having broken God’s only commandment to them, are forced to leave Paradise. The gates of the garden are shut, and an angel is set at the gate to guard against their re-entry. Now THAT is a closed door.
Closed doors in the Bible can have many meanings, including shame or hiding, but that is not always the case.
Each of us has experienced disappointment in our life. We feel that we are doing what God is calling us to do, and BOOM, it gets snatched away, or we hit roadblocks along the way. There are many reasons that this happens, but let’s take a look at a few reasons that God may close a door on something, or someone, in our lives.
What Closed Doors in the Bible May Be Telling Us
1. A closed door does not always mean a locked door.
God may have closed the door temporarily, but it doesn’t mean that it will stay closed forever. Sometimes, He wants to redirect us to something better or something He feels we need more at that moment. We are to trust God in those moments and wait to see where He leads us and what new doors may open.
As Ecclesiastes 3:1 says:
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
One of the hardest things for me to accept is that things happen in God’s time and not mine. Timing is everything. God may be using this time of closed doors as a time to prepare you for what is to come.
God may be putting a hedge of protection around you
If God closes a door, it may be because He wants to protect you. As humans, we often make decisions which can be harmful to us. It may be in dating the wrong man, bad business or other financial deals or even missing a flight, but He always has our spiritual safety in mind. We may think that this opportunity or that decision is an amazing one and are frustrated if things don’t work out, but God has a bigger picture in mind for us.
We’ve all heard stories about people missing their flight only to have found out that the plane had crashed. God often protects His children by closing doors, sometimes, temporarily, for our own protection.
A closed door may simply be a redirection
I tend to get laser focused on projects to the detriment of everything else. On occasion, God has put up a roadblock or closed on door on one of these projects. In hindsight, I think it was to redirect me to Him. I was becoming nearly obsessed with the project or event and not turning my face toward Him. God may close a door to redirect you to what is really important.
(Clicking the image below will give you a printable copy of When God Closes The Door)
- A closed door may mean move on.
Yes, God may close a door temporarily, or for our safety or to redirect us, but he also may simply be saying “NO”. When an opportunity slips out of our reach or we face a disappointment in life, God may be telling us that it is time to move on and go a different direction. This one is often the toughest to deal with. We had our hopes and dreams set on this thing – be it a promotion, another baby, a new house, a better job, but God’s plans are not always ours. A closed door here may be God telling you that we need to forget about that ‘thing” and move on to something else. Something that He wants us to go toward.
When my first husband left me, I was devastated. I tried everything to make it work. Counseling, a weekend away just the two of us, changing my hair – really, I tried everything. The answer was always the same. No. It’s time to move on. My husband, an alcoholic and serial cheater ended up drinking himself to death not long after we were separated. I believe that God wanted me to move on and while He hates divorce (my husband was not a believer), He knew how the story would unfold.
If God allowed me to stay with my husband, maybe I wouldn’t be where I am today. Happily married to a man on fire for Jesus and who is the love of my life.
A closed door many mean that you may have taken your eyes off of God.
We humans are funny beings. We think that we have it under control. That we can handle something. It’s at those moments that God may close a door to remind you that He is sovereign. That He is in control and not you. A closed door may be God’s way of refocusing your attention toward Him.
Our God is a jealous God and when we turn our focus away from Him and toward worldly things, he can shut doors to get our attention.
How often do you turn to God when life is good and moving happily along? Or are you more likely to seek Him when things go wrong and you need His help and intervention?
As believers, we are to seek Him first. When God closes a door in our life, it may simply mean that He is saying “Hey! Over here! Don’t forget about me! I’m in charge here.”
If they obey and serve him,
they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity
and their years in contentment.
When disappointment in the form of a closed door faces you, take the time to get on your knees and pray about it. What is God trying to tell you by closing this door? Is He trying to protect you? Redirect you? Pray about it, journal about it, and dive into some of the below scriptures about closed doors to see what He may be revealing to you. Closed doors may be a blessing. Ask God to reveal that blessing to you.
And I placed boundaries on it And set a bolt and doors, – Job 38:10
But Lot went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him, – Genesis 19:6
Then he called his young man who attended him and said, “Now throw this woman out of my presence, and lock the door behind her.” – 2 Samuel 13:17
They have also shut the doors of the porch and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the holy place to the God of Israel. – 2 Chronicles 29:7 “
Then He brought me back by the way of the outer gate of the sanctuary, which faces the east; and it was shut. The LORD said to me, “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it, for the LORD God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut. – Ezekiel 44:1-2
What the Bible says about closed doors is so revealing! You can find these and other Bible verses about closed doors on the printable PDF below. Use them for prayer and reflection or for suggestions for a Bible journaling page.
Click the image below for the multi-page PDF with Bible verses about closed doors.
I came across this sermon on discerning God’s will regarding closed doors. I found it to be quite eye opening. You may enjoy it, as well.
Want to learn more about Bible symbolism? Consider one of these recommended resources:
I’m praying for you, my friend!