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A toss of the dice???

“Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.” Acts 1:26

It’s a funny way to choose the twelfth apostle—the most important leaders in the history of the world’s greatest religion. Jesus chose the twelve based upon His perfect discernment of people and His complete clarity into God’s will. So the remaining eleven disciples decided to throw dice to see who the next disciple/apostle would be??

Casting lots, in this case it was probably one stone representing one candidate and another stone representing the other candidate, was used to render an impartial, unbiased decision on a very important matter. Once the lot was cast, no one could argue that the decision was the result of human intervention. They only cast lots, in appears, when there was no other means of determining who it should be—or in some cases in the Old Testament, who was guilty!

But what I see being emphasized is the idea, all things being equal, that there should no partiality in making weighty decisions. So if both candidates were approved, the idea of throwing the dice is that “we’ll accept either choice.” Kids do the same things every day in games—-they draw straws or flip a coin. It’s “fair” and cannot be manipulated. In the Bible, the point seems to be that no one should get the advantage because of family, connections or politics.

There’s also an element of trusting that God is going to see the sincerity of our efforts to make the right choice and that He realizes that we simply don’t know what else to do but ask for a “sign”. God understands that there are times we just need a vision or epiphany—like right now in our fight against this virus.

Finally, it looks like even with the disciples, there was a keen awareness to the danger of leaving important decisions to one person. Peter -the one Jesus chose as head of the group—never “laid down the law”, but rather he presented his case to the other leaders and let them decide. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The early church recognized this and tended to make their decisions after much prayer, an complete presentation and examination of the facts (or merits of the one being considered, as with a deacon or elder), and if needed, after God provided some means of pointing out the right choice.

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