And Elisha said, “Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.”
2 Kings 4:3-4
But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
(Both verses from the New Living Translation).
There are things that are just between you and God. There are times the two of you need that Divine “alone time.” Devotional time-as it was called-was something that the old time saints took the time to do. They would shut out the world and spend time with God despite what their day was like.
Today, do we do the same? Do we have things that are just between our individual selves and God, or are we caught up in the 24/7 world that begs for our attention? Today I think the opposite: we let too many people into our business with God. This often leads to people getting into our personal affairs who may not fully have our interests at heart – even those who are close to us. Plus with the advent of social media, we make the mistake of airing our stuff online for all the world to see….
Then we wonder why our lives are not as blessed as they could be….
Tonight’s Scripture passages offer encouragement to take this time back. The first passage from 2 Kings shows the prophet Elisha at the house of the widow of one of his prophets. The prophet died in debt, and of course honey was busted for funds. And back in that time, you didn’t work out something with a collection agency; no you could become a debt slave as the widow’s two sons were threatened to be. All the woman had was a jar of oil.
Now Elisha gives a unique solution (from God): the widow and her boys were to borrow all the jars they can from their neighbors. We’re not talking about Mason jars, we’re talking about amphora that could vary from probably a gallon on up; and we don’t know how many jars she acquired. Once the widow obtained all the jars she was to fill them with the oil she had. However to do this, honey had to shut the door. The door was shut so God can do His/Her work in private without the distraction of the neighbors (the outside world). Fortunately in the end, the widow had enough oil to pay off her creditor and support her family.
The second passage of Scripture is a more familiar one. Here we see Jesus giving his sermon (or discourse) on the hillside to a multitude. During his teachings, Jesus touched on prayer. Now this is interesting since many times we see people praying publicly, and when appropriate there’s nothing wrong. However, Jesus tells the people (and us) to go off by ourselves and pray to God in private. In fact, the King James translation reads:
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly (emphasis mine).
You see even Jesus, God’s Christ who is the ultimate Prophet, tells of the importance of shutting our doors and spending time alone with God. Jesus wants us to have that intimate time with God where we can tell Him/Her what’s going on without the rest of the world to hear. And Jesus assures us that although we pray in secret, God will bless us in public for others to see. And when we read the Gospels, we saw Jesus spending a lot of alone (quality) time with God.
We need to shut the door to the world and spend time with God. God desires our intimate time with Him/Her where we can pour out our hearts and tell the real. I know if others were to hear what I say to God in private, things would get interesting! However, it’s in this alone time we grow: we and God can engage in a conversation where we learn more about Him/Her and about ourselves-take it from personal experience. And when God tells us about ourselves-and it ain’t flattering-wouldn’t we rather hear it alone?
And the real blessings are in our growing as the people of God, evolving spiritually into higher living here on Earth. As we become more intimate with the Divine, we get to see the Divine Heart. We will be able to discern God’s voice in our day to day. Plus, we will have such a relationship with God, we’ll feel that presence despite what we’re going through on the outside. In fact, we’ll be better able to handle the outside. And God will still bless us in other ways that impact our lives.
Plus, our shutting the door doesn’t mean going into a physical closet-unless that’s what we want. We can shut the door going into an empty space, our cars, a bathroom stall (yes), a quiet spot outdoors, anywhere we can be alone with God without nosy distraction.
Shut the door! Let’s close out the world so we can have our private time with God. And God will bless us in the open.