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Question and Answer

I’ve always found it rather odd that when it came to replacing Judas Iscariot, the other apostles actually cast lots for that empty chair in their membership. Why didn’t the disciples simply pray to seek God’s choice in such an important matter?

After Judas betrayed Christ for a lousy thirty pieces of silver, the disciples decided to seek guidance by casting lots. Their thinking was that it was their responsibility to fill the gap left by his treacherous decision. They came up with two men who they thought would be excellent candidates: Matthias and Joseph-Barsabbas. From their point of view these were excellent choices, and they cast lots to determine which would please God more. This seems to most of us like gambling and certainly not in keeping with making godly decisions when it comes to choosing God’s man for such an important position.

But when you think about it, it doesn’t seem that far removed from the way some churches choose a pastor in contemporary times. What we overlook, however, is that in Scripture casting lots was the standard way to make important decisions. Far from being the luck of the draw, casting lots was a biblical solution. As a matter of fact, God Himself often prescribed it. Once Israel reached their home in the Promised Land, God told the people that they were to cast lots to divide the land (Numbers 26). Moses, too, called for casting lots to make a decision regarding the choice of the scapegoat and the goat to be sacrificed, which was part of God’s command. God is ultimately sovereign and He is glorified in our seeking His will, even by casting lots.

BY Mike Kellogg

Mike Kellogg worked with Moody Radio for more than 40 years, beginning in 1972. For many years he was the reader on Continued Story and began hosting Music Thru the Night in 1982. He also read the Today in the Word devotional for Moody Radio for many years. In July 2014, Mike retired from full-time radio. He is a graduate of Cedarville University, and has served as adjunct faculty in English and Speech Communications at Moody Bible Institute. He is married to Nancy, and they have 6 children and 16 grandchildren.

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