The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.
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1 Kings 7:1-51
The companion verse to Proverbs 16:33 — the one that makes all the difference — is Proverbs 3:6. “In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight.”
Some versions translate lot as being dice. Either way, throughout scripture we see examples of times when God-followers used them as a way to leave a decision to Him. When the disciples needed to replace Judas, for instance, they cast lots to decide between Matthias and Barsabbas. When it fell to Matthias, they accepted that decision as coming directly from the Lord.
But in each biblical instance, the power behind the casting of lots was the request for guidance. When you acknowledge God in a thing you’re about to do, He makes your path straight.
We don’t generally decide matters in this way. But we’re still faced with dozens if not hundreds of decisions in any given day. And this principle stands true for those situation as well. Not sure how to answer someone? As God to give you the words. You want to step out in some venture, but you’re not sure if it’s really God’s will? Acknowledge Him first, move ahead, and trust that He’ll put a red light in front of you if He’s not in that venture.
As a new Christian, 38 years ago, my mentor made me memorize a new scripture every day. Proverbs 3:5-6 was in that first batch, if not the first one he gave me. And I’ve loved the verse ever since. But for the most part, I always put the emphasis on verse 5, and kind of glossed over verse 6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” I’d say, lingering over every meaningful syllable. And then in one quick breath, “AcknowledgeHiminallyourwaysandHewillmakeyourpathstraight.”
But there came a day when I was reading through Proverbs 16 in my quiet time, and the Holy Spirit chose to illuminate verse 6 for me. I read the words over and over, and I suddenly had that picture of the red and green light. I felt that the Holy Spirit was telling me, “Include Me in your decisions, and then move forward. I’ll stop you if this is not for you.”
That’s an incredibly freeing realization. Because instead of being paralyzed by questions of What if God doesn’t want me to do this? What if I’m making a mistake? What if this isn’t in His will? we can scamper forth like the children we are, trusting in the restraining arm of God when it’s in our best interest, or when we’re veering away from His will; trusting that He knows how to give us peace about our decision, or how to put up obvious roadblocks.
But we must first ask.