The title of this article is taken from Acts 1:26, an incidence rarely spoken of. Someone speaking at Pentecost the other day drew my attention to it with the comment that everything changed after the following outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-13). This is the last mention of casting lots in the Bible. Got me thinking about casting lots.

Casting Lots Encouraged (Maybe)

Proverbs 16:33
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.
Sounds good, but its the end of a chapter which covers things like plans (v1,3), purity of motive (v2), commitment (v3), honesty (v11,13), wisdom (v16,21), patience and self-control (v32). One translation renders v33 as "We make our own decisions, but the Lord alone determines what happens", in the light of v3 "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans" sounds more reasonable than "if I get ten sixes on the next 10 throws of the dice ...".

Proverbs 18:18
Casting the lot settles disputes and keeps strong opponents apart.
This is in a chapter which mentions selfishness (v1), opinionation (v2), contempt (v3), partiality (v5), strife (v6), unreality (v11), unreliabity (v24). In the midst of that we are reminded "The Lord is a mighty tower where his people can run for safety" (v10), some translations say "The name of the Lord ..." emphasising God's character, we look to him to settle disputes.

Genesis 13:8-9
Let's stop quarrelling, you go one way and I'll go the other - which way do you want?
Ideal situation to invoke Proverbs 18:18? - Whoops not been written yet ...!
Abram showed both humility and faith. Anyway all the land was already his (Genesis 12:7)! He walked in the light of Proverbs 16:4 "The Lord works everything together to accomplish his purpose. Even the wicked are included in his plans - he sets them aside for the day of disaster".

Casting Lots for Impartiality

Numbers 26:64
The Lord said to Moses, " ... each group to receive inheritance based on size ... inheritance to be distributed by lot according to size".
The lot was used to assign location within the inheritance and not to encourage elevatation of some individuals at the expense of others (see National Lotteries).

1 Chronicles 24:5,31 ; 25:8; 26:13 see also Luke 1:8-9
Duties for priests and others allocated, impartially, by lot.

Nehemiah 11:34
Seasons of responsibility allocated, impartially, by lot.

Casting Lots for Guidance

Esther 3:6-7
Haman had already decided what he was going to do, the lot was used to determine when.

Gideon's Fleece

Judges 6:36-40
Is the incident of Gideon's fleece a bit like casting lots for guidance?
I think not, Gideon had already decided what he was going to do and was making preparations (Judges 6:34-35).
Gideon knew the word of the Lord (Judges 6:23-26, compare with 1 Samuel 3:7).
Gideon has previously stepped out in obedience to the word of the Lord (Gideon 6:27).

Gideon had previously asked for a sign of assurance that it was really the Lord speaking with him (Judges 6:17).
In the fleece incident Gideon is again asking for assurance, this time for assurance that he is not operating in presumption (Judges 6:34).

We have a high priest who understands our weakness (Hebrews 4:15).
There is an ordinary bloke at the right hand of God interceding for us (Romans 8:34, Ephesians 1:20, Colossians 3:1, Hebrews1:3; Hebrews 8:1-2).

Jesus meets us at our point of need - we do not have to emulate another's strength.
Abraham laughed at God (Genesis 17:17), Jacob wrestled with God (32:22-30), Joshua met the commander of the Lord's armies (Joshua 5:13-15).
God met with these as individuals, on their own ground, at their point of need.
They met the same good and faithful Lord, the same alpha and omega - and he understood their weakness.

Gideon knew the Lord.
Do you know Him?
Jesus declared "I am the good shepherd, I know my sheep by name, I go ahead of my sheep, I lay down my life for the sheep, my sheep know my voice" (John 10:1-18).