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Summary: This message looks at situations where we take something to be God’s hand when often there are other causes at work.

Life Principle: Every “open door” doesn’t have God’s hand on the handle.

- If you listen to testimonies, you’ll hear plenty of stories of “coincidences” that were divinely orchestrated. Someone just happens to be at the store at the right moment to share a witness. Someone just happens to overhear a conversation about a job opportunity that turns out to be perfect for them. Someone stops to pick up a piece of trash and watches as a car speeds through an intersection right where they would have been walking.

- If you hear enough of these, it would lead you to believe that every coincidence is an open door that God puts there.

- The problem with that is that it’s simply not true. Sometimes things come together because Satan is trying to tempt us. Sometimes things happen that do not have a deeper spiritual significance. Sometimes things happen because we are walking outside of God’s will.

- Examples of “open doors” that we’re not sure of:

1. A couple is dating and one of them isn’t certain that this is the person that God wants them to spend their life with. But they met in church, so isn’t that an open door from God?

2. A married couple is in financial trouble. One day, the husband is mentioning it to a friend of his and the friend says, “Oh, I know this guy who can get you a great deal on a loan to consolidate your debt.” That evening, the couple talk about and wonder, “Is this God opening a door for us?”

3. A student is trying to figure out where they want to go to college. They look at several schools, but there’s one of them that, when they call, the counselor mentions her faith and they get in a big conversation about Jesus. After hanging up, the student wonders, “Was that a sign from God that that’s an open door?”

4. A student is having trouble making friends, when one afternoon he happens to notice a button on the backpack of the student up and over one seat. When class ends, he mentions it to the guy and it leads into a big conversation. As he leaves, he wonders, “Maybe that was the open door I’ve been praying for.”

5. A fifty-year-old is trying to figure out what to do with his aging mother, whose health is reaching a crisis point. She’s torn between a nursing home and trying to care for her at home. That same week, her arthritis flares up worse that ever and her husband’s back goes out again. She asks God, “Is this a sign that I’m not supposed to bring Mom here?”

Specifics On How To Avoid That In Our Lives:

1. Keep asking the difficult questions until you get an adequate answer.

- v. 7.

- It would be a little easier to feel sorry for Joshua here if these guys had come up with a plan that he simply couldn’t conceive of. “Man, I never saw that coming.” But he actually starts out exactly where he should. He asks them: “How am I supposed to know you guys aren’t from around here?” He asks the hard question - he just doesn’t stick with it until he gets an answer.

- We’ll talk in a minute about how exactly he gets sidetracked, but the point is that he doesn’t press for an answer to the hard question.

- We do similar things. At first, we have doubts about something, but in the course of the conversation, we allow our attention to get diverted. We end up without having ever actually gotten the answer to our question.

- Or, we know the hard questions when we start out, but we want to say Yes so badly that we slowly convince ourselves that that question isn’t important.

- Perhaps it’s someone who’s dating and the relationship is starting to get serious. They’ve always said that the number one thing about whoever they marry is that they be a person of strong faith. But then they get into the relationship and start getting comfortable with this person and start thinking about how time is passing by and they’re not getting any younger and before too long the fact that this person is just a pew-sitter a couple times a month gets put off to the side.

2. Realize that compliments don’t make you more competent.

- v. 8.

- The answer that they give Joshua is an attempt to butter him up a little bit. “You are in authority - we are merely your humble servants.”

- Now, sometimes the compliments are sincere. Other times they are shared with a hidden agenda.

- It’s easy to get off task when someone starts throwing compliments your way. Most of us are praised seldom enough that when someone does it we eat it up.

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