We Don't Need to Cast Lots

I’ll go ahead and say it – I like the system of casting lots to make decisions. That’s how it used to be done. The Old Testament is full of examples of the people of God throwing stones in order to make decisions, especially when there were 2 viable options in front of them. For them, this was an exercise in faith. It was based in the belief that the Sovereign God had control over the way the lots fell in the same way He has control of the weather or the changing of the seasons.

In fact, this method is how the disciples chose a new disciple to replace Judas. They had 2 good men in front of them – Barsabas and Matthais. When it came time to decide, the disciples expressed their trust in God in Acts 1:24-26:

“You, Lord, know the hearts of all; show which of these two You have chosen to take the place in this apostolic service that Judas left to go to his own place.” Then they cast lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias. So he was numbered with the 11 apostles.

But that’s the last time that method of decision-making was employed in the Bible. Why?

It seemed to be working okay. It was simple, clean, and efficient. But then it stopped. The only reason I can figure is because they were just one chapter away from Pentecost. And Pentecost was when the Holy Spirit flooded the beings of believers. No more lots needed.

In the age of the Holy Spirit, we have to listen. We have to process. And we have to discuss with each other. The Holy Spirit is a better way to make decisions, but to me, the new system is alot messier. And in many ways, it’s alot more difficult. Now we have to walk in step with the Spirit, and then we have to trust and believe. We don’t have a fleece or a lot to look at for definite confirmation; we instead have to put one foot in front of the other and walk in trust.

But that’s why it’s better. With the Holy Spirit, God forces us into a deeper relationship with Him and with each other. When the casting lots system was in place, we could treat God like a cosmic slot machine, putting in our quarter and waiting for Him to spit an answer out. But now we actually have to commune with Him. Talk to Him. And actually listen, process, and think. And then we have to bounce things off of others who are also walking intimately with God to make sure we are really hearing with clarity the voice and direction of God. Messy indeed, because you know God – we’re just looking for an answer about which city to move to, but He’s always more interested in forming our character or convicting us of sin. He’s more interested in who we are. Maybe this is just another way of seeing God’s desire to walk deeply with us.

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1 Comment

  • eric says:

    I think one thing remains though. In either case, refusing to step forward until uncertainty is removed is never an option. That’s a big deal to me because it goes against every fiber of my being.

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