However, it is worth noting that none of these texts, which speak about open doors, tells us how these doors came to be open, we are not given specific details. He probably moved differently in each of the places referred to in the Scriptures cited above. The majority of these texts very likely concerned evangelism, but I believe the Lord opens doors in other contexts as well. I submit to you that one of the ways that the Lord opens doors is through people. In the remainder of this
The first example comes from the Old Testament, from the very first book of the Bible, the book of Genesis. In Genesis 37 Joseph was given two dreams, one about sheaves of grain bowing down to his sheave of grain and one about the sun, moon, and stars bowing down to him. His family members understood the message of the dreams, apparently without any outside help, and they did not like the message! They understood that the dreams indicated that Joseph would be prominent and would rule over them. After these
While he was in prison he met two men, one was a cupbearer and the other was a baker (Gen. 40). The two men had dreams and Joseph interpreted their dreams for them. What Joseph said came true, the cupbearer was restored to his position and the baker was killed. Joseph asked the cupbearer to remember him when he was restored to his position (Gen. 40:14), but he did not at that time (Gen. 40:23). However, two years later he remembered Joseph and mentioned him to Pharaoh after Pharaoh had a dream (Gen. 41). The Lord used the cupbearer to help open the door for Joseph (literally, the prison door). The cupbearer had access to Pharaoh and Joseph did not, he did for Joseph what he could not do for himself, he provided him access to Pharaoh by speaking to Pharaoh about him. Because of the cupbearer’s
The second example comes from the New Testament. This case involved opening another literal door, one in a barracks! In Acts 23 the apostle Paul was in trouble; he was being held in custody. While he was there over 40 Jews bound themselves with an oath to kill him; they said that they would not eat or drink until they had accomplished their plan (Acts 23:12-13). They tried to get Paul transferred from the barracks to the Sanhedrin under the guise of getting more information regarding his case. However, someone who did not endorse their
I am certain that many other Scriptural examples could be found. The two that I have mentioned share a couple of things in common. First, we do not know the names of either of the people who “opened the doors” in the biblical accounts cited above; we do not know the name of the cupbearer who helped Joseph, nor do we know the name of Paul’s nephew. Second, both of these unknown individuals did for the main characters in the biblical passages what they could not do for themselves. These “door openers” had mobility and access that the prisoners did not have. There have been many people throughout history that the Lord had used whose names we do not know. And, as was true in the cases above they came to the front when the servants of God were in trouble. These “unsung” heroes helped set free two men who did much to help many other people.
God opens doors to further His purposes and He sometimes works through people in order to do it. He can use both believers and unbelievers in this work. The Lord can still do it in our day. I am sure that if we each took the time to look back over our lives we would be able to identify individuals that the Lord sent our way at key times. Let us appreciate those who have remembered us, spoken up for us, and helped us to fulfill the purposes for which the Lord called us. No one goes very far in ministry without the help of others.
John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Zion Bible Institute and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. He has written articles and book reviews for a number of publications including: the Pneuma Review, the Africanus Journal of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Christian Trends Magazine, in India, and Berita Mujizat and Jurnal Jaffray, both in Indonesia. He is also the author of four books.