What is “casting lots” and should we practice it today to discern God’s will? In Acts 1, Judas’ replacement was determined by certain criteria. Only two men qualified. So they cast lots to determine who should take Judas’ place.
Remember that Acts is a transitional book. In chapter 1, the Holy Spirit has not yet been given. Casting lots is an Old Testament practice, just like a “fleece.” Aaron, Joshua, Nehemiah and other great leaders cast lots. In the New Testament, the Roman soldiers cast lots for the garments of Christ. We would compare it to something like rolling dice or drawing the short stick.
After the Holy Spirit filled those in the upper room, we never read of them casting lots again. It is never mentioned as a practice or encouraged in the Epistles. Our direction comes from the clear teaching of the Scripture and the Holy Spirit.
When faced with difficult decisions, the New Testament believers prayed. They sought the Lord’s direction. They waited on Him! In reading the instructions of the 21 Epistles, we are instructed to “walk in the Spirit.” As we yield to the Holy Spirit in everything we do, He will direct our paths. However, it is much easier to “cast lots” than to “surrender all!” The former requires no relationship, yieldedness, or faith, well, maybe blind faith. The latter requires surrender, sensitivity, patience, and trust. So, when you face difficult decisions, will you take the “easy” route and roll the dice, or will you struggle through the process of searching the Scripture, seeking godly counsel, and listening to the Holy Spirit?