Gambling to Discern God's Will?
Dec 14, 2009 by Craig Blomberg | 0 Comments
“Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was
added to the eleven apostles.” Acts 1:12-26; TNIV)
The deadline is approaching. Two paths lie ahead, and I have to choose between them. Both seem like good opportunities, but neither is clearly the better option. How do I decide? Flip a coin? Pray and then flip a coin? We intuitively suspect there must be a better, more God-pleasing method. But what of the apostles casting lots—rolling the sacred dice if you like—to choose between Matthias and Joseph Justus to replace Judas within the Twelve?
There was, of course, Old Testament precedent. The Urim and the Thummim, used by the priests, may have been black and white cubes drawn randomly from their pockets, but we’re not sure. Gideon offered two different fleeces before the Lord to help determine his will. Christians today often look for “random coincidences”—a song they hear on the radio about New York while trying to decide between moving there or to Boston. Some even open the Scriptures at random to look for help, as if the Bible were a magical amulet.
The most important point about Acts 1, however, is that it comes right before Acts 2! Soon Pentecost will offer a far more reliable guide for decision making—the Holy Spirit. He, and not lot casting or its equivalent, will be the source of guidance for God’s people from that moment on.