Knocking at the Door

IMG_2295This week, I’m in Naracoorte. I really like the country, with its open fields, and starry skies. One thing I’ve especially appreciated, even in this first week of my placement, is the chance to retreat. I live with a bunch of people here but there’s ample time both to socialise and to have my own time. I don’t have all the activity of the city to think about and while I still have work to do, it’s nice just to be out of town somewhere quieter. I’ve been longing for a getaway with the Lord, a week where I can just sit with Him and listen to Him. This week, as I spent time in my room, I was surprised at how the time flew so quickly! I felt like perhaps I should have spent this time typing notes or writing something down, instead of just sitting quietly with the Lord. I was surprised, because I realised I had forgotten the blessing of knocking, the enjoyment of being still before the Lord. I had become so used to asking, and getting an instant answer, doing something with instant results. This way of the world had rubbed off on me. I wondered about “doing”, even as I just sat still with the Lord, and the hours whiled away. Why is this important? It’s important because I do not want to be presumptuous of God’s person, nor do I want to forget my first love! It’s important because more than anything I could offer or “sacrifice”, God wants me to know His love and to love Him. I’ve journeyed with the Lord as long as I can remember so whether I eat, drink, sleep or travel, I know He is with me, and that He speaks constantly. However, I also miss the day dates I would have with Him, times when I would set aside a full day to spend solely with Him. I haven’t had a day date with Jesus recently, and I’ve been longing for one. I love when I ask and the Lord answers immediately. However, there’s also great pleasure in knocking, hearing hints of His voice, and finally entering into revelation more wonderful than I could have imagined. It requires desire, trust, perseverance and knowledge of the Lord.

What is a doorway?

As I was completing my third assignment on Revelation, I got stuck (again). The assignment was to identify doorways into the revelation of God’s being in Revelation and though I could see many descriptions of His glory, I kept asking the question, “What is a doorway?” Here are two verses that the Lord reminded me of:

[Matthew 7:7-8] “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

[Revelation 3:7-8] “…He who has the key of David, He who opens and no-one shuts, and shuts and no-one opens. I know your works. See, I have set before you and open door, and no one can shut it, for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.”

I looked up the key of David when I was working on my second assignment on Revelation (studying the 7 churches). Eliakim, the treasurer of King Hezekiah is named in the same passage that first mentions the key of David. The key is laid upon Eliakim’s shoulder so that what he opened, no one would close, and what he closed, no one would open [Isaiah 22:20-23]. Sound familiar? Isaiah 9:6 describes the government being laid upon Jesus’ shoulder, and Revelation 3:7-8 says that whatever Jesus opens, no one will close, and what He closes, no one will open. In the old tabernacle, there were two “doorways” – one was the entrance to the Holy Place/courtyard, and the second was beyond the veil and into the Holy of Holies, where God’s presence dwelt. In Revelation, John sees a door opened in heaven and He is brought in to see the throneroom of God, where His presence dwells. More information about the key of David can be found here: http://biblelight.net/KeyofDavid.htm

The Doorway to Christ

 So, what is a doorway? It’s more than just an entry point; it’s more than a simple walk-through to revelation. It is seeped with understanding of God and without the Holy Spirit, we will not find the way through these doors. My understanding of the doorways leading into revelation of God’s being is this (see the picture above):

  • We knock at the door (meditation on God’s word) and it is opened to us (revelation of Christ by the Holy Spirit)
  • The door is opened by One alone – Jesus (whom we recognise because of the indwelling Holy Spirit given to us), who is the way the truth and the life .The only way to the Father is through Him.

Who is knocking?

Regardless of whether or not you have a doorbell, most of us will have experienced the door-knocker. I definitely have, multiple times, and I can often tell if its family, a friend or a stranger at the door. The knock sounds different. When it’s my family, I hear a very persistent, enthusiastic and unrelenting rata-tat-tat, accompanied by very loud, sing-song voices. I know without a doubt it is my family and I rush to the front door to let them in (most of the time). My friends sometimes knock out a little rhythm, then call out or peer through the frosted glass. Strangers usually give a short and polite tap tap, then wait quietly. If there is no answer, they try again. Then, if the door remains shut, they leave.

IMG_2377Who is knocking at your door? And, how do you respond? Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” The reward is clear. If we hear and open to Jesus, we will see Him face to face as He reveals Himself in full, and we will dine with Him in the New Jerusalem, dwelling with Him and the Father forever. There’s a context to this reward, however. “Behold,” says Jesus. The Greek for this word is “ὁράω (horao)” meaning “to see, perceive, or attend to”. Some translations transcribe this as “Here I am”. “Behold, here I am,” says Jesus, “I stand at the door and knock”. Without going too much into the Greek, the conjugation for “stand” and “knock” indicate that this has, is, and will continue to happen. The conjugation for “knock” may be present, imperfect (simple past) and future. Jesus’ standing and knocking at the door is not something only in the past, or only in the future, but it is now, then, and will continue to be. It is a constant knocking and this is perfectly aligned with His character – “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End…who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Jesus knocks relentlessly, regardless of whether we answer, despise him, or pretend we are not home. He knocks even if we have not called for Him, and even when we are disobedient. Isaiah 65:1-2 describes His persistence:

“”I was sought by those who did not ask for Me;
I was found by those who did not seek Me.
I said, “Here I am, here I am.
To a nation that was not called by My name.
I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people,
Who walk in a way that is not good,
According to their own thoughts”

These are the same verses that Paul speaks to the Romans as He explains that there is no excuse for not hearing, not seeing, and not knowing the Lord (also Romans 1:20, 10:19, which is quoted from Psalm 1:4). Remember the second part of Revelation 3:20 – “If anyone hears My voice and opens the door…” Here is an invitation. Jesus is always standing at the door, and always knocking. His voice is constant in its call – His direct speech, through His people, and through His creation/nature. His reward is waiting for those who would accept it, but this acceptance requires response. If we hear the knocking, but do not open the door, we cannot receive His gift. If we refuse to acknowledge His voice, His knocking, His presence at our door, we cannot receive His gift. “Who will hear me?” says the Lord, “Who will let me in?” He knocks, reminding us of His promises, speaking to us His love – “My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Let me show you My love, My love that is better than wine.”

Responding and Knocking

[Song of Solomon 5:2-8]

2 I sleep, but my heart is awake;
It is the voice of my beloved!
He knocks, saying,
“Open for me, my sister, my love,
My dove, my perfect one;
For my head is covered with dew,
My locks with the drops of the night.”
3 I have taken off my robe;
How can I put it on again?
I have washed my feet;
How can I defile them?
4 My beloved put his hand
By the latch of the door,
And my heart yearned for him.
5 I arose to open for my beloved,
And my hands dripped with myrrh,
My fingers with liquid myrrh,
On the handles of the lock.

6 I opened for my beloved,
But my beloved had turned away and was gone.
My heart leaped up when he spoke.
I sought him, but I could not find him;
I called him,
but he gave me no answer.
7 The watchmen who went about the city found me.
They struck me, they wounded me;
The keepers of the walls
Took my veil away from me.
8 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
If you find my beloved,
That you tell him I am lovesick!

There is a lot to learn from this passage, but I am only going to focus on the response we have to Jesus knocking at our door. I have highlighted the actions of Jesus (the Beloved, some translations have this as the Lover) by bolding them, and the actions of the Church (the Shulamite, or beloved in other translations) by underlining them. Visually, we can already see that our relationship with Jesus is two-way. We respond to Him, and He responds to us. In this passage, we see in action, some of the excuses we have for not opening the door to Jesus:

  • I have taken off my robe, how can I put it on again? – “I am too unworthy to meet Jesus.”
  • I have washed my feet, how can I defile them? – “I am already clean, already fulfilled. I do not want to tread the hard path, or undergo suffering in order to meet Jesus.”

IMG_2357

Both of these are very common thoughts for many believers. These are people who already know Christ. Yet, at times, we doubt. We forget who He is and what He has promised! Jesus enjoys us. While we were still sinners, completely unworthy to stand before Him, He died for us, and gladly brought us into His kingdom. In fact, so great was His desire for us, that He washed away our sin with His own holy blood, and clothed us with His own cloak of righteousness, making us worthy with His worth. At the same time, it is not a lazy path when we choose to follow Christ. There’s no sitting on the fence with this decision. We either serve Christ (life) or we serve the world (death). Jesus reminds us in John 15:18, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” Both these responses hinder our going to meet Jesus and receiving more of His revelation!

4 My beloved put his hand
By the latch of the door,
And my heart yearned for him.
5 I arose to open for my beloved,
And my hands dripped with myrrh,
My fingers with liquid myrrh,
On the handles of the lock.

At some point (this is something I have experienced many times), we will yearn for Jesus with deep desire. Nothing else in this world can fully satisfy us, not even a half-hearted pursuit of the Lord. No, it’s all or nothing! We might already be on a flaming path, or we might be tired and wanting to slow down, but Jesus never changes. Day after day, he never ceases to fill our hearts with awe and desire. This is the reason David writes, in Psalm 27, that his one and only desire is to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord all the days of his life. It is the reason for the constant worship we see in God’s throneroom (Revelation 4). When we catch even a glimpse of Jesus, or a whiff of His perfume, it draws our hearts into worship because His glory, His beauty and His love are irresistible.

6 I opened for my beloved,
But my beloved had turned away and was gone.
My heart leaped up when he spoke.
I sought him, but I could not find him;
I called him,
but he gave me no answer.

Hmmm, this doesn’t really sound like the Jesus we’ve been talking about. Didn’t He say that if we opened the door, He would come in? Where is He now? I remember how sometimes, when I knew who was at the door, I would open and hide behind the door. Other times, when I knew they were about to enter a room, I would hide nearby so I could surprise them. I’ve been on the receiving end as well and in all cases, the person hiding has not been far away. When you are hiding, you know when the other person has entered the room – you know where they walk, and hear what they are thinking. You know if they are looking for you, if they haven’t taken note of your absence, of if they can’t be bothered looking for you. I do not think that Jesus abandons us when we open to Him, but I do think He gives opportunity to test our desire. How much do we want Him? How hard are we willing to pursue Him? The following lines of this passage describe the suffering of the Shulamite at the hands of the watchmen of the city. Yet, she continues to cry out for her beloved because her heart longs for Him – “If you find my beloved…tell him I am lovesick!” We can rest assured that this cry does not go unheard. Jesus is listening, and He is not far away. At just the right moment, He will come, and the reward of seeing His face, will be worth overwhelmingly more than any suffering that we may have experienced. The lyrics of a famous hymn remind us of this truth:

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things on earth
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.”

How to knock

We know Jesus is knocking at the door of our heart with the word and promises of God. We know He wants us to open for Him, and that He wants to test the genuineness of our faith which is His praise, and honour and glory [1 Peter 1:6-8]. How then, shall we knock, in order that Jesus would open the door into His revelation? Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” So faith requires our hearing the voice of Jesus, and we can only hear Jesus’ voice by the word of God. Therefore, we need to meditate on the word of God! The time we spend meditating on God’s word, is time spent knocking on Jesus’ door. When we meditate on the word, we are asking God to show us what He means, what His heart is like, what His character is like. We are saying, “Jesus, let me in! Show me how you look like, speak with me and tell me what is on your heart, what your plans are.” Jesus delights in revealing Himself and the day is coming when all will know Him. I want to know Him before that day! He is worth my time now, and worth the longing of my heart in this present day! I know that when we are with Jesus forever, I will continue to be captivated by His beauty, but I also know a part of this is available to me now and I want it.

IMG_2297

Please do not use the following points as steps to Revelation, but rather as suggestions in building your own relationship with Jesus. He is the one you need to talk to, and He is the one who will give you revelation of His being. These are just some things I do in my own time with the Lord. Mostly, I ask a lot of questions and dialogue with the Lord.

  1. Ask the Lord what is on His mind.
    •  He might give me a bible passage, bring to mind a person or situation. He might show me a picture or speak a single word.
  2. Ask, “What is this?”
    • That’s what Zechariah asked every time he was shown another vision. “What are you thinking about this person?” “What does this passage mean?” “Why do you do this?” “How do you see me?”
  3. Read the passage a couple of times
    • This helps familiarise the passage and may also highlight particular aspects.
  4. Research the context and history of the passage
    • It is important to be like the Bereans in testing teaching against the word of God. Nowadays especially, there is a vast network of information freely available, some misleading, and others inspired. We need to remember that God’s word is the truth. One way of testing, is to explore the context of the passage, to understand the significance and history of particular people and places.
  5. Pray through the passage
    • Pick out characteristics of Jesus and focus in on them. You might cross-reference, or use your own testimony in adoring Him. You are telling Jesus who He is, just as He tells you through the word of God. You are reiterating and memorising His attributes, engraving them upon your heart.
    • Eg. “Jesus, you are the Alpha and Omega. You were with God in the beginning and you created the earth with Him. You saw us even before we were born and loved us. You have declared the works of your hand to be marvellous and I love the beauty of your creation. You are coming again soon, and you transcend our understanding of time and space. You are eternal and your kingdom will know no end.
  6. Journal your thoughts
    • Write down the revelation you receive, or write down your adoration prayer. I find that sometimes, as I write, I understand more. I write more, understand more, write more, and understand more. I can look back and see how God has shaped my testimony, and I can remember the revelation He has given me about His being.

These are just some things I do in my quiet time. The important thing is to REMEMBER that the goal of all this is to KNOW Jesus more. It is not to just gain more knowledge about Him, but to truly KNOW Him. Misty Edwards sings these lyrics – “I don’t wanna talk about You, like You’re not in the room. I want to look right at you, I want to sing right to you.” May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him [Ephesians 1:17-18].


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