In my sermon last week – An Open Door Before You – we saw where God will set doors before those of sincere faith and will open those doors to those that knock. I ended last week’s sermon on a note of encouragement to encourage all of you not to pass by God’s doors for some other doors that open to you. As I said last week, those other doors will ultimately lead to mediocrity and failure.
Now, that thought raises the question we will seek to answer today: How can we tell when God is opening doors for us? To answer this question, let us open our bible to Proverbs 9. Proverbs 9 touches on the thought of two different houses (schools) and points out the differences of the two which will help us in our understanding.
Right away, in Proverbs 9:1, you will see that Solomon spoke about how wisdom has built her house. Let us remember what I said last week that the personification of wisdom is fulfilled in Jesus.
Now, in my key verses for today, Proverbs 9:4-6, we will see an invite from wisdom to her house, with it stating, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him, “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Forsake foolishness and live, and go in the way of understanding.”
Two Different Houses
When Solomon speaks about the two houses in this chapter, let us pay close attention to the detailed descriptions of both houses.
In Proverbs 9:1, we will see that Solomon, speaking about the construction of the school of wisdom, stated, “Wisdom has built her house, She has hewn (cut) out her seven pillars.” (The number seven represents completeness – perfection; it is the day that God ended His work of creating.)
Skipping down to Proverbs 9:13-18, we will see that Solomon spoke about another house which belonged to a foolish woman that represents the way of folly (foolishness). I want to be very clear about the fact that Solomon was not calling women fools; he was merely personifying foolishness in the same manner in which he had personified wisdom throughout the book of Proverbs.
Let us notice in Proverbs 9:14 that Solomon doesn’t point out much that is distinguishable about the construction of the school of folly. The only thing really stated about that house is that there is a door. Solomon, however, does point out that the one that is over the house is seen sitting by the door. So, there is already a difference pointed out about the doors of both houses— their appearance.
The lesson plans
After touching on the construction and appearance of the houses, Solomon touches on what goes on behind the closed doors of both schools. In Proverbs 9:2, Solomon spoke about how at the school of wisdom, “[Wisdom] has slaughtered her meat, she has mixed her wine, and she has also furnished (prepared) her table.” Wisdom, in other words, has prepared a meal to feed her students.
What is it that is being prepared at the school of folly? Well, if we take a look at Proverbs 9:13-18, we will see that there is no mention of a similar preparation for those that attend the school of folly. However, in Proverbs 9:17, we do see where folly is ready to teach their students that “stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
Let’s be clear that there are two different lesson plans at both schools. Wisdom desires to feed its students so that they are strengthened and satisfied at its table. Solomon’s statement about wisdom and its table makes it hard for one not to think of the table of Psalm 23. David said in Psalm 23:5 that the Lord (wisdom) prepared a table before him, in the presence of his enemies; his head was anointed with oil – by wisdom – and his cup ran over – because of wisdom. As you have heard me say before, when you sit at the table with God, He will bless you greatly.
The lesson plan at the school of folly, however, is a plan that encourages one to lust and covet what one does not possess nor what it possesses at its table; it encourages one to move wickedly to satisfy their pleasures! So far, we have seen that the school of folly doesn’t have an appearance that is distinguishable and the lesson plan at the school is wicked (sinful). So, which school would you want to attend?
The invitation to attend
We will next see that Solomon spoke to the type of student that each school will invite to attend them so let’s take a look at that because this is also important to know.
At the school of wisdom, Solomon tells us in Proverbs 9:3 that maidens are sent out to welcome in students. We will see there in Proverbs 9:4-5 that those who are invited are the simple and those that lack understanding.
At the school of folly, there is no mention of any maidens; only a mention of the one over the house that sits at the door. We will see in Proverbs 9:15-16 that she calls out to those who pass by and also invites those who are simple and those who lack understanding.
So, both schools are inviting and welcoming the same student – the simple and those that lack understanding – to come and attend their schools. I want you to understand that everybody starts out being simple (believing anything and easily led astray) and lacking understanding (ignorant). Depending on which of the schools you choose to attend, some will remain simple and continue to lack understanding; this makes it very important for you to choose the right school to attend.
How to Tell When God is Opening Doors
As I said last week, there are going to be several doors on our journey to go through; they are like exits on the highway that we are traveling on as we go through life. How do we know what exits to take when we are traveling on the highway? We read the signs on the highway, don’t we?
So, some of us wonder: How can we tell when God is opening doors for us? Solomon has given us the signs that we ought to be reading as we approach those doors! Whether you realize it or not, Solomon has given us the ins and outs of both houses so that we can tell the differences if we pay attention to the signs on the doors of the houses!
Do you believe that you can now tell when God is opening doors for you? If you don’t think that you can, let’s go over the details again to try to make the image of both houses more clear.
God gives us guides
Let’s take another look at Proverbs 9:3 which stated, “She (Wisdom) has sent out her maidens.” The maidens become a key for us because, if you remember, there were no maidens at the school of folly. So, who are the maidens being sent out from school of wisdom and what do they look like?
Maids, we should know, are those that are employed to do work around a house and for a house, right? To drop the figurative speech, the maidens are the employees of wisdom, which Christ is the fulfillment of. Who are the servants of God? Yesterday it was the prophets, Christ, and the apostles. Today, His servants are those who minister the gospel— ministers of the gospel aren’t just the pastors considering that all believers have received the task from Christ of ministering the gospel to all people (Matt. 28:19-20).
For confirmation: we should all recall Jesus’ Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matt. 22:1-14). There was a certain king (God) that sent His servants into the highways to invite people to the wedding after the initial invite had been turned down by those in town. The maids of the school of wisdom in Proverbs 9 are those servants that are sent out into the highways to both invite and to show the invited the way to the school.
So, if you are confused about when God is opening up doors for you, a sign that He is opening doors for you is that He will lead you to His doors so that there is not mistaking His doors! God, you should know, will lead you to His doors by the Holy Spirit who serves us personally. At the very same time, God will also surround you with wise counsel to help guide you to His doors as well.
To those that are unsure whether or not a door that is before you is being opened by the Lord, I would encourage you to pray about that door. Not only should you pray to the Lord about that door but you should also seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Not only should you seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit but you should also be open to listen to those that you know for a certainty are wise in understanding the way of God.
God’s doors point to glory
The next sign that Solomon revealed to us was revealed in the lesson plans of both schools. At the school of folly, you will recall that there was no preparation, no lesson plan, just the one over the house calling out to those that pass by. If Jesus is the fulfillment of wisdom, and therefore over the school of wisdom, then Satan is the fulfillment of folly; he fulfilled folly when he foolishly waged war, and still wages war against God due to his pride.
In his temptation of Christ (Matt. 4:1-11), we have seen how the devil calls out and will tempt those that pass by his school by himself. When those that choose to attend his school enter in, they fail to realize that he hasn’t prepared a meal to satisfy their soul. The devil will certainly offer the world on a platter but what he offers is an empty plate that will not strengthen nor satisfy the soul.
In Proverbs 9:18, we are told that when Satan opens up his doors, the dead are inside, but those that enter do not know because they are blinded by the “beauty”. We are also told in Proverbs 9:18 that the doors of Satan are an entrance to the depths of hell. So, when one enters Satan’s house, everything will seem fine at first but the longer one dwells in that house, it will begin to lose its luster if one pays attention.
Now, when we take a look back at the school of wisdom in Proverbs 9:5-6, we will once again see the table that has been prepared to satisfy the simple and those that lack understanding. The scripture speaks of how students are invited to eat the bread that had been prepared and to also drink the wine that had been mixed together. The simple and those that lack understanding are invited to forsake foolishness (folly) and live.
Again, this is a passage of scripture that would be hard for us to miss the parallel that is recorded in John 6:35. Jesus proclaimed Himself as the bread of life. He said to the multitude that was following Him at that time, “He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”
I want you to understand today that you can tell when God is opening doors for you because the doors He opens always point to glory (to true life) in comparison to Satan’s doors which open to emptiness and darkness! God’s doors open to truth and that truth is beautiful; it is beautiful in holiness and the riches of heaven.
God’s doors are distinguished
If you’re still not certain if a door is a door of God, Solomon revealed to us an even more obvious difference between the doors of God and Satan in Proverbs 9:1. From the start, Solomon spoke to us about the appearance of the house of wisdom; he said that wisdom had seven pillars. Solomon, spoke of the school having a distinguished – elegant and majestic – appearance which would mean its doors share in with that appearance.
In comparison, there is nothing distinguished about the appearance of the house of folly. The school of folly takes on the appearance of the palace in the city. However, as we have seen, while it may look good, if one truly inspected its construction, they would see the gold and silver is fake in comparison to the real deal at the school of wisdom!
Now, let’s not consider these descriptions to be physical in nature because neither school nor their doors are physical for our eyes to see. If we could see the doors with our physical eyes, many of us would be appalled by the places we are entering into; many of us would be frightened by these places!
Trust the Signs on God’s Doors
The reason why so many people continue to pass by the doors of God, and are confused as to whether or not God is opening doors for them is because many of us are blind spiritually.
So many people today lack the ability of spiritual discernment – seeing right from wrong on the spiritual plane. However, one that is attuned to the Spirit can easily discern the doors they are entering into. With this in mind, if you see an open door before you, and you aren’t being led to that door by the Spirit and your wise counsel is advising you against going through that door, don’t do it!
Last week, I pointed out that there are going to be times on our journey where we have to knock on the door of God. I say to you this week, if you have knocked and knocked on a door that has not opened for you, pray on the matter and seek wise counsel; it may be that door is not meant for you to open and enter. If you feel you have to take measures to force and break open doors – taking measures outside of trusting in the Lord – you will end up hurting yourself.
Yes, all of these doors and their pathways can be rather confusing, however, I do want you to know today that for sincere believers, there should be no confusion. The word of God makes it clear to us when God is opening doors and if we heed to the Word, the voice of the Spirit, and wise counsel, we won’t be led astray.