Read 2 Chronicles 32:1-8; Acts 14:24-28; Revelation 3:7-8
I once heard a proverb that stated the axiom that ‘please and thank you opens every door’. Generally true, but there was that one exception. May I explain? It happened many years ago on a day when my husband was walking home. An elderly lady who lived in the neighborhood at the time called out to him. She had locked herself out of her home and was seeking his assistance. It was her wish that he take her axe and break down her door, thereby allowing her entry. My husband, though he was eager to help the woman out, didn't go along with her desire. Instead, he contacted the police who came to her rescue by opening her door with a spare key they had been given.
As those who belong to Jesus, we face similar dilemmas to my husband's most every day. They come when we have the choice of relying on God's strength and intervention or "breaking down doors" using our own cleverness and power. In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, we are reminded that we have spiritual weapons, and in Ephesians 6:10-20, the truth is given to us again. We are in a battle, not against people who are made in God's image, but against a real enemy who hates God and schemes against the Lord's people, 2 Corinthians 2:11. If we use the world's weapons of anger, malice or any other fleshly way, we begin to wield the axe, rather than the sword of the Spirit.
Let's look a bit at King Hezekiah's reaction when he faced a formidable enemy, to see how it looks to be enabled by God's power, 2 Chronicles 32:1-8. Assyria with its wicked and ruthless army was threatening Jerusalem. This nation whose cruelty was legendary had already captured many villages on their way to Jerusalem, but Judah's leader had a God-given plan. King Hezekiah first took on Assyria's onslaught by making water accessible to his people. By that feat he made the water unavailable to Judah's enemies. He also fixed the broken places in the existing wall, built an outer wall and made vast amounts of weapons and shields. In addition, he spoke, encouraging and strengthening the military officers and the people. In spite of the precautions Hezekiah took on behalf of his people, he made it clear that their victory did not lie in their might and power, but in the Lord. He assured his people that Assyria had only the arm of flesh. In contrast to that, Israel had the ‘Word of the Lord’, 2 Chronicles 32:7-8. Hezekiah was resting in God's promises.
In Zechariah 4:6, we read a similar word. There was no invading army to contend with here, but there was a daunting task. In this verse, the Lord was assuring Zechariah that the temple would be built again. This would not be accomplished because of the strength of the builders, but because of the power of the Lord. Yes, the workers would labor, but the Lord would be the One Who would enable the job to be done.
What about us? What doors stand before us? Perhaps the ones we would like to enter are closed to us at this time. Is it tempting to take an axe and start whacking away at them? If we do that, we forget what Acts 14:27 and Revelation 3:7-8 teach us. God is the One Who not only opens doors but closes them too. If you are like me, perhaps a loved one's salvation may be a closed door for you at this time. Maybe he has told you he wants to hear no more about Jesus or sadly, maybe she has cut you completely out of her life.
Two things can encourage us in cases like this:
First, our loved ones may be another person's open door. Perhaps, even now, someone is in that precious one's life planting or watering seeds that will eventually blossom into his salvation. God can open a door into anyone's life, and He is able to use the most unlikely person.
Second, the Lord may well have a different open door for us. It is tempting to concentrate so hard on a precious one whom we love that we miss God's directing hand in another person's life. With His help, let's not do that. Who knows? Any of us might be used to answer the prayer of a person we have never even met.
The same concept applies with ministry. God is well able to give us any opportunity for ministry that He chooses, but let's not break down any door that He has securely shut at this time. With His help, let's not forget that His power is limitless, and He can open any opportunity without our strength or manipulation. NO axe necessary. Lord, Help us to neither lag behind Your enabling or run ahead of it. Instead, help us listen to the prompting of Your Holy Spirit.