by: FCC Staff
Casting lots was a method used by the Jews of the Old Testament and by the Christian disciples prior to Pentecost to determine the will of God. Lots could be sticks with markings, stones with symbols, etc., which were thrown into a small area, and then the result was interpreted. "The lot is cast into the lap, but it's every decision is from the LORD," (Prov. 16:33). There are many instances of casting lots in the Bible.
"In the Bible, the practice was used in a variety of circumstances, including the selection of the scapegoat (Lv 16:8–10); the allocation of the tribal inheritance in the Promised Land (Nm 26:55, 56; Jos 14:2; Jgs 1:3; etc.); the determination of the families who had to relocate to give a proper distribution of the populace or of those warriors who had to go to war where only a percentage was required (Jgs 20:9; Neh 11:1); the order of the priests and their duties (1 Chr 24:5–19; Neh 10:34); the determination of an offender (Jos 7:14–18; cf. Prv 18:18)."1
Scripture cites many instances of people casting lots, and it seems to be used when important decisions needed to be made, but there was not enough guidance that had already been provided through wisdom and/or Scripture. Also, God never condemned the casting of Lots in the Bible. (Leviticus 16:8 1 Chronicles 25:8 Acts 1:26)
In Psalm 22:18 we read, "They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots." and in Matthew 27:35, we see this psalm was prophetic in Christ's life, "And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves by casting lots."
In the New Testament, after Judas killed himself, the disciples cast lots to see who would be his replacement. The lot fell to Matthias, but this was before Pentecost. Since the New Testament does not have any instance of Christians casting lots to discern the will of God after Pentecost, we conclude that after the arrival of the Holy Spirit that we do not need to rely on that method but instead must rely on the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the further revelation found in the New Testament.
So today's proverb may speak of an outdated method of decision making, but the wisdom that we are powerless before impartial decisions still apply. We may get randomly selected for jury duty, called to participate in a survey or poll, or be selected for extra security by the TSA before we board a plane.
In any of these cases, our wisdom, our faith, our own will, play no part in the decision being made, but they ALL play a part in how we respond. One way of looking at this proverb is that we all need to acknowledge that while we may do our best to live wise and godly lives, some things will remain out of our control and influence. Accepting that some things simply are, is a big part of walking with God. When we feel entitled to control our lives, we are most often resisting the will of God.
So today, let's accept that some things are just beyond our control, But nothing is beyond God's will. Whatever comes today, God's wisdom can help us respond to it, even if we cannot control it.
Prayer for Today
Father, thank you for giving me the wisdom to respond wisely to my circumstances. Jesus, teach me to accept your will, no matter if I feel like it lines up with what I want or desires to be true. By your Holy Spirit let me be humble, that I may praise your name and serve your kingdom, come what may. Amen.