and they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. [acts 1:26]
what are we to make of this verse?
there are many instances in the old testament of casting lots (sort of like rolling of dice) to make different types of decisions–(see 1 chronicles 24:5, jonah 1:7, leviticus 16:8 and others,) but it is less rare in the new–the only two instances we have are of the roman soldiers casting lots for Jesus’ tunic (prophesied in psalm 22, and fulfilled as recorded in all of the gospels matthew 27, mark 15, luke 23 and john 19) and acts 1:26, wherein matthias is selected by lot.
are we to make our decisions on the roll of a dice?
i don’t think so. how do we make the difficult decisions that we face as Christians?
- first, acknowledge that God is sovereign over all things. the disciples knew this–
the lot is cast into the lap,
but its every decision is from the Lord. [proverbs 16:33]
he is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. after making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, [hebrews 1:3]
all things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. [john 1:3]
and the kingdom and the dominion
and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven
shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High;
his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom,
and all dominions shall serve and obey him.’ [daniel 7:27]
to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. amen. [jude 1:25]
God has dominion over all things, from the mundane to the profound–the disciples weren’t putting their trust in the random chance of a roll of the dice, they were putting their trust in a sovereign God who knows the outcome of all things. we can never say–”well that was random” or “good luck” because there is no such thing as coincidence, luck or randomness. i have to work to take these words out of my vocabulary because i have absorbed them from the culture–we must stop seeing the events of the world as senseless–God has a plan in all of it.
- second, we prayerfully approach our decisions: remember, the disciples didn’t just roll the dice first–they prayed first!
and they prayed and said, “you, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen [acts 1:24]
the disciples were calling on the Lord to help them make this decision–how often do you go to God first with your decisions? i know i often reach out to someone with wisdom–my dad, a trusted brother, someone with expertise–but i need to be on my knees before the sovereign God of the universe when i make decisions, no matter how small or large!
- third, (and the reason we no longer roll dice for our decisions):
we have the Holy Spirit.
take some time to read acts 2 to see what happens, because we have received the Holy Spirit, because we have Christ living in us, we no longer need to consult the urim and the thummin (a mysterious way that the priests in the old testament consulted God for decisions) or cast lots.
we have Holy Spirit power!
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. [romans 5:5]
but you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. [1 john 2:20]
for this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. [2 timothy 1:6-7]
and because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” [galatians 4:6]
after the disciples receive the Spirit in acts chapter 2, it is never recorded that they make a decision in this way again–they rely on scripture, prayer and the prompting of the Holy Spirit to determine where they will go and what they will say–it is important to note that the Holy Spirit and scriptures never contradict.
we have access to our Father through the Holy Spirit and by the blood of Jesus Christ, let us cry out to him in desperation–”Abba, Father” when we are faced with the decisions of our lives–he see us and cares for us and knows eternity past and future!