I’ve had easy passages the last couple weeks. This one more than makes up for it. It raises all kinds of questions!
For instance, there is the way Peter uses Scripture, seeing in the 69th and 109th Psalm explicit references to Judas. What, if any, are the implications for us in the way Peter interprets and applies Scripture?
It’s not a question I have space to answer here. Perhaps it’s best to note that they were reading Scripture, looking to it for guidance, and seeing in it specific instructions for their everyday lives—and that this is something we should be doing too
Then there is the method of choosing a new Apostle. They pray—and cast lots! They apparently rolled the dice, drew straws—played a game of chance! How would this work in our lives? Do I say a prayer like, “God, should I buy a Corvette?” and then roll a dice marked with yes and no to decide?
There are even some (I am not among them) who believe the Apostles are making a mistake here (or worse, engaging in sin by gambling). They believe God clearly wanted Paul to be the 12th Apostle, and that neither Barsabbas nor Matthias were His choice and that’s why we don’t here anymore about them or their ministry.
I’d suggest that the Apostles used solid reasoning and Scriptural principles to guide them as far as that would take them. And then at that point their method of decision making was their way of placing the decision squarely in God’s hands, and trusting Him to honor that desire.
So, in my example about the Corvette, for me (and only me in the context of my faith journey and station in life) I don’t need to roll a dice to see if God wants me to buy a Corvette. Through reason and application of Scriptural principles, I already know the answer. I can’t afford it.
But let’s say I was going on vacation and came up with two spots that seemed to be equal in every way. Let’s also say I really wanted God’s guidance on the matter. Perhaps praying and rolling the dice would be an appropriate way to proceed—rolling the dice only once, and trusting that the outcome would be an expression of God’s will.
The above is only my opinion, and it’s not one I hold with great certainty. I sure wouldn’t build a sermon around it or argue with someone about it.
And in the end, that is one of the things that really impresses me about Scripture. Yes, I believe it is all divinely inspired by God. But somehow it still manages to be such a…human book. The stories are still so…raw…that is, they aren’t heavily reworked to serve some hidden agenda. They present problems and conundrums and people sometimes solving them by doing things we’d never think to do and still leave us puzzled as we look back and wonder why. Yet somehow through it all…God works, just like He does in your life and in mine.