Thoughts on life and Scripture...

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Sovereignty of the Lord and the Casting of Lots

"The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord."
Proverbs 16:33
Nothing in this world happens by chance. Nothing is random. Nothing is out of order. The Lord is in control of everything. From major details to minor details, nothing is outside of God's control, plan and purpose. We must recognize this and learn to accept with thanksgiving and praise all the happenings of this life that come from our Father in heaven who is wise, good, and sovereign. It is a shame and a testimony to our lack of faith when we so often complain, groan, and even get angry at the difficulties that God sends our way. Trials are for our good. God has a good purpose in all that happens in our lives. The Lord is good and always does what is good, but He doesn't always do what we think is good.  We need to then live by faith; trusting in our God.
So this proverb is another reminder that God is in control of everything, even things we consider random, such as the lot. What is the casting of lots? It was a way of determining the will of God in a certain situation. The exact method for doing so is unknown. Maybe stones were marked and thrown down into the fold of one's robe as this proverb suggests. It would be a similar idea to when we roll a dice or flip a coin. Casting lots was done often in the Old Testament to determine God's will. We see it done to determine which tribe will inherit what piece of land in Joshua 18:10. Jonah was selected by lot as the cause of the great storm. Lots were cast to determine whether Saul or Jonathan had violated Saul's foolish curse. 1 Samuel 14. The 11 apostles cast lots to choose a new apostle to replace Judas. Acts 1:26. This is the last time we read of the casting of lots in the Bible. I think this is important when we ask the question, "Can we use the casting of lots to make decisions today?"  Soon after the lot was thrown to choose Matthias, the Spirit come down at Pentecost. After Pentecost, we don't hear about anyone casting lots to make a decision. With the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost and the completion of the New Testament, the casting of lots is not needed as it was before Pentecost. When making decisions, we have the Spirit within us to help and guide us. We have the word of God to teach us the revealed will of God and to give us wise principles. We can ask the counsel of wise and godly brothers and sisters in Christ. Prayer is very important in seeking the guidance of God. Fasting is also another means we can use to seek the will of God. See how prayer and fasting was used by the church in Antioch to select missionaries. Acts 13:1-2  This is the usual and normal means that New Testament believers can go about make a decision.
So is there ever a time when we can cast lots as a way of determining God's will? I believe so, but it would be a rare thing. It would occur only after we have done all the ways ordained by Scripture listed above. If, after doing all that, we are still faced with options that are acceptable to God, we could cast lots. But it must be done with much prayer and seriousness. And when the lot is cast, we must accept the result as being from the Lord and do as directed. This is what Mathew Henry said about lots, "When solemn appeals are made to Providence by the casting of lots, for the deciding of that matter of moment which could not otherwise be at all, or not so well decided, God must be eyed in it by prayer, that it may be disposed aright and by acquiescing in it when it is disposed; being satisfied that the hand of God is in it and that hand directed by infinite wisdom." 
It is a great comfort to believers that the Lord is in control of everything. We should look to this God for direction as we make decisions and look to Him for the grace and strength to go through the trials of this life.

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