Key Scripture: Proverbs 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the LORD.
Text for Tonight:
Acts 1 NKJV
1 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen,
3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from
5 "for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."
6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"
7 And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in
9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel,
11 who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey.
13 And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James.
14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said,
16 "Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus;
17 "for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry."
18 (Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out.
19 And it became known to all those dwelling in
20 "For it is written in the book of Psalms: ‘Let his dwelling place be desolate, And let no one live in it’; and, ‘Let another take his office.’
21 "Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
22 "beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection."
23 And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
24 And they prayed and said, "You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen
25 "to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place."
26 And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
Casting lots was a time honored and much trusted practice of the Children of God which was supported throughout the scriptures.
It worked in many ways and was more than just a mere voting. One of the favored practices of casting lots was to write names on stones or other materials and place them in one jar or jug with a small hole in the top which only allowed one stone to be shaken out at a time. In another jar or jug there would be placed an equal number of stones with positions or with some left blank or perhaps many of one color and only one or a few of a different color.
It would be predetermined which stone would represent what position or situation and then the whole offered up to God in prayer asking that He superintend the process and the outcome. Then, the name jar would be shaken up to mix the names and one stone shaken out.
The same process would take place with the second jar. It was accepted that God did the choosing divine intervention. We see many instances of this process being relied upon in the word of God.
As well, there were other ways in which lots were cast or fleeces were put before God for God to decide. These methods were designed to settle issues by putting God in charge of the outcome.
For example: David divided the priests by lot.
1 Chronicles 24:5 Thus they were divided by lot, one group as another, for there were officials of the sanctuary and officials of the house of God, from the sons of Eleazar and from the sons of Ithamar.
Numbers 26:55 "But the land shall be divided by lot; they shall inherit according to the names of the tribes of their fathers.
King Saul’s son, Jonathan, was revealed by lot as the one who had violated the King’s command.
1 Samuel 14
41 Therefore Saul said to the LORD God of
42 And Saul said, "Cast lots between my son Jonathan and me." So Jonathan was taken.
One of the most dramatic casting of lots has to do with the story of Achan. Joshua 7:16ff
Achan was found out to be the person who had sinned in
In each of these cases the use of the lot was regarded as a solemn appeal to God for his direct interference in cases which people could not know or decide for themselves.
Our Key Scripture for tonight confirms this: Proverbs 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the LORD.
We read that David often used a method of casting of lots to determine if, when, and just how to go to battle against his enemies.
It seems that this method of decision making was much in use in daily life and in the affairs of state and military campaigns. Believe me it had plenty of room for corruption to creep in when greedy or ungodly people got involved in the process.
And, bear in mind … one cannot force God to answer.
However, in the Old Testament there were many other examples of casting of lots. Remember Gideon with his fleece in Judges 6.
Also there was the Urim and Thummim which were stones in the High Priest garment that perhaps changed colors to give direction.
Exodus 28:30 Insert into the pocket of the chestpiece the Urim and Thummim, to be carried over Aaron’s heart when he goes into the LORD’s presence. Thus, Aaron will always carry the objects used to determine the LORD’s will for his people whenever he goes in before the LORD.
Numbers 27:21 When direction from the LORD is needed, Joshua will stand before Eleazar the priest, who will determine the LORD’s will by means of sacred lots (Urim and Thummim). This is how Joshua and the rest of the community of
There were three main ways of hearing from God in the Old Testament times:
1. Divine Dreams
2. Urim and Thummim (basically a divine casting of lots)
3. The Prophets
But remember … God was not then nor is He now obligated to answer man at man’s will or in man’s time. Such was the case in:
1 Samuel 28:6 And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets.
When God is not answering decisions are no better than a roll of the dice. If education or intelligence or calculation or counsel was a sure fire method of best decision making … more people would be in agreement and no one would lose money in the stock market.
Without God’s direction, life is left up to man’s best efforts.
When Jesus died on the cross, was resurrected, spent 40 days proving Himself to be alive as the Son of God, ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives He promised to send the Holy Spirit back to become our guide, guard and guarantee. The Apostles in Acts 1 did not yet have the Holy Spirit to guide them.
Today however, we do not need the casting of lots. In fact like sacrifice for sin, the casting of lots could even be offensive to God. I don’t know for sure but I do know that we have a more sure way of determining God’s will for our life and our life’s decisions.
The avenue of approach to life’s most challenging decisions is the same as the everyday walk we should have with Christ.
God decisions are made based upon at least one of three elements.
1. The Word of God – Is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. (Psalms 119:105)
2. The Spirit of God – Our guide, guard and guarantee – He will teach you and give you the dreams of God for your life.
3. The Peace of God – Which gives us confidence or concern
Philippians 4:7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
So today and every day, take thee three steps when deciding God.
1. Learn the Word and Walk the Word
2. Develop a relationship with the Holy Spirit
3. Let the peace of God rule