Reading through the Bible together

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

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The Lord Decides

 

After Canaan was taken there were still seven tribes which had not yet been given their inheritance.  Joshua suggested that the children of Israel choose three men from each of the seven tribes and have them through the land and bring back a report.  They are to describe what they saw and suggest how the large area should be divided, which they did.  However, no tribal land was to be given to the Levites for they were to live among the people and minister to their spiritual needs. Then Joshua cast lots before the Lord at Shiloh and divided the land accordingly.  He did not decide which tribe should live where, nor did he get together with Eleazar the high priest and the two of them divide up the land, but depended on the Lord. 

This is similar to what the disciples did when they needed to find a disciple to replace Judas (see Acts 1:15-26).  In those days Peter stood up in the midst of the 120 believers assembled for prayer and said, “Judas was one of us, but betrayed the Lord, and then hanged himself.  We need to find someone who was with us from the beginning and witnessed the Lord’s resurrection to replace Judas.”  The group agreed on two names: Joseph, also called Justus, and Matthias.  Then they prayed:  “Lord, you know the hearts of all men, show us which one of these two men you have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship.”  And they cast lots and the lot fell on Matthias who became one with the eleven apostles.

 

Casting lots is not something that should be done for every important decision we need to make, not even if it has to do with choosing someone for church leadership.  But we, too, need to earnestly pray that the Lord’s will be done and that the process should not be made by one man or even two men.  Nevertheless, we need to place our faith in the Lord’s leadership who will guide and direct His church as He has done in the past in our church’s past history.


Ralph Neall
Retired Professor and Missionary