Decisions; September 16, 2021


Acts 1:24-26 Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

This frankly strikes me as strange even today, but there is a very long history of this sort of thing, even in the Bible. From Exodus 28:30 on, the Urim and Thummim are mentioned many times as a means of determining God’s will. No one is sure of the details, but apparently they were stones (or some other material) of different color that were otherwise identical, and when drawn from a pouch, sight unseen, were taken as a yes or a no from God. (We don’t even know which was which.) This is very much in that tradition, but it still feels strange, because we are used to people hashing things out and deciding on the basis of human reason. In this instance, human reason and criteria were involved in choosing the candidates, but the final selection was left up to God. I have heard various people say that Paul was actually God’s intended choice, but even given the time factor, he wasn’t a witness of Jesus’ resurrection until the dramatic encounter on the road to Damascus, and in any case he hadn’t walked the roads of Judea and Galilee with the group. I have nothing against Matthias, the man chosen here, but I wonder if the very idea of “needing to complete the number” was a strictly humanistic thing that God didn’t care about particularly. We have trouble not only in making accurate decisions, but even in knowing which decisions are important.

Like everyone else, I deal with decisions constantly. I had to decide what to wear this morning! I have come to the awareness that God indeed cares about every one of our decisions, since He even keeps track of the number of hairs on our head. (Luke 12:7) However, not all decisions are of equal importance, just as it doesn’t matter particularly if I have a few hairs more or less. The problem is, I often fail to recognize the relative importance of my decisions. Going on to a different dorm after the first girl I was interested in wasn’t there turned out to be an extremely important decision, way back in 1969, but I didn’t think much of it at the time. The longer I live and the more I learn, the more I realize I really don’t know anything! Casting lots might or might not be the way to go about it, but I need to seek God’s will all the time, in decisions big and small. The bigger the decision, in my perspective, the greater the stress. However, as I just illustrated, I often have no idea how big decisions really are. I’m back to what the Lord told me several years ago: I need to rest, relax, and rejoice. He is more interested in my decisions than I am, and if my heart is fixed on Him, He will guide me.

Father, thank You for this reassuring reminder. Thank You for the many, many ways You have guided me over the years. Help me indeed keep my heart fixed on You so that I will recognize and follow Your guidance in every instance, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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