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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
May 19, 2012

     So they nominated two: Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias.
     They prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s deepest thoughts and desires. Show us clearly which one you have chosen from among these two to take the place of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.” When they cast lots, the lot fell on Matthias. He was added to the eleven apostles.

Acts 1:23-26 (CEB*)

The apostles wanted to replace Judas Iscariot with someone else to fill the complement of 12. The methodology they used was to pick two likely candidates, and then choose between them by casting lots.

J. Vernon McGee of the Thru the Bible radio program says in his commentary on this passage, “I can’t see that this was the leading of the Holy Spirit, nor that it was God's leading in the casting of lots.” McGee points out that this was before the giving of the Holy Spirit, that Matthias is never mentioned again, and that Paul writes that Christ chose him as an apostle (Galatiaons 1:1).

I'm inclined to agree with McGee on this. They themselves picked two persons, and prayed that they be shown which to the two they, not God, picked was the one. Instead of listening for an answer from the Holy Spirit, they cast lots assuming that chance would show God's intention, a dubious assumption.

So what can we learn from this? No matter how well intentioned we are, it is easy to delude ourselves into thinking that a choice made through human means is God's choice. We need to be truly humble in discernment, and be patient in waiting to hear what the Holy Spirit has to say to us. We will often be surprised by the direction in which God leads us.

Bill Samuel

* Common English Bible ©2011 Common English Bible.

©2012 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 26-May-2012 19:42:26 EDT