Let's Flip a Coin - Or Do You Have a Better Idea?

After a football coin toss, decisions are made about whether to kick, receive, or choose field direction. In a board game, we roll the dice to determine who goes first. 

In Old Testament times, it was not a coin toss or the rolling of dice, but a casting of the lots that helped make decisions – such as which piece of land each tribe of Israel would have. In New Testament times, the soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ garment. 

In the book of Acts, a big decision had to be made – the decision of who should replace Judas. Two men, Justus and Matthias, were apparently qualified for the position – both had been with Jesus and the other disciples throughout His ministry. 

Then they prayed, “You, Lord, know everyone’s heart; show which of these two you have chosen to take the place in this apostolic ministry that Judas left to go where he belongs.” Then they cast lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias and he was added to the eleven apostles. (Acts 1:24-26)

We don’t know exactly how the casting of lots was done in this instance – whether it was using sticks of different lengths, flipping flat rocks like a coin toss, drawing from a bag stones that had names written on them, or something else altogether. 

Does it jar your sensibilities to think that such a big decision as the choosing of apostle #12 was left to the luck of the draw or getting the short stick or the flip of a rock?

You have to remember that at this time, the Holy Spirit had not yet arrived to indwell believers. Therefore, the people were prayerful and trusted God’s hand to be on how the casting of the lots played out.

After the Holy Spirit had come upon believers, we no longer hear anything about Christ-followers casting lots to make important decisions. And I hope you know it’s because after the Holy Spirit came and dwelt in them, they sought His wisdom and His counsel in making their decisions. We today have that same Holy Spirit in us, as well as God’s written Word, as our counsel in making our decisions.

As we today think it strange to leave important decisions to the casting of lots, those apostles would look at us and think we were out of our minds when we make decisions on our own without consulting God’s Word and trusting the guidance of His Holy Spirit. On whose wisdom are you relying?

By Judy Shrout

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