“The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.” (Proverbs 16:33)
Lots could have been sticks or stones with various colors or markings on them. When thrown (or “cast”) those colors or markings would communicate a certain message to the one casting them. It was an ancient version of flipping a coin.
What do we make about this whole lot-casting thing? It seems to be an allowable form of determining the will of God in both the O.T. (Leviticus 16:7-22; Joshua 14:1-2; 18:6; I Samuel 14:38-43; I Chronicles 25:7-31; Jonah 1:7) and the N.T. (Acts 1:26).
And yet, it seems so foreign to how we might answer the question, “How can you determine the will of God for your life?” In fact, of the dozens of times I have heard that question answered in a sermon or in a book, no one has ever said, “Cast lots and see what happens.”
God never formally approved of lot-casting and you never see it practiced in the early church or even after the occasion in Acts 1 when Matthias was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot.
The quick meaning of Solomon’s reference to lots in Proverbs 16:33 is to point out that the ultimate sovereign over decision-making is not lots (or fleeces or “open doors), but the Creator.
Things never happen by chance. There is no such thing as luck. Everything that happens will have a divinely orchestrated purpose. What we might think is chance is really a “divine appointment” by God.
So, if lot-casting is not a preferred or recommend form of determining God’s will, how might we do that? Here is a quick answer to that question.
First, does the Bible address it? If the Bible gives us clear direction on an issue (II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:3), that is ALWAYS the will of God.
Second, what do wiser godlier men and women say about our problem? When we encounter the same feedback and counsel, we can safely assume we are near the best decision (Proverbs 11:14).
Third, make a list of pro’s and con’s. Compare the 2 lists. Ask, “What will be the consequences and/or benefits of choosing “decision A”? What about “decision B”?
Fourth, how can I best honor God in my decision? Sometimes we have 2 good options to decide from, but one may have the possibility of drawing more attention to the glory of God than the other. Choose that one.
Fifth, are you faithfully walking with the Lord? The Bible tells us that if we delight ourselves in Him – regularly – that he will give us clear guidance (Psalm 37:4; Proverbs 3:5-6).