Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Who's driving this boat anyway?

Ever feel like everything just kinda happens for no reason? I know that I've felt that way from time to time. Things take place in our life that we just cannot understand. The death of a loved one, especially a young child. Perhaps the loss of a job, or rebellious children. Maybe you look at all the war in the world and you just think to yourself, "The whole world has gone mad and out of control."

I think from time to time we all feel that way. It seems like things both good and bad happen by mere chance. However, despite our limited view of life and the way the world is going, we see that Scripture presents a very different picture than what we are normally able to ascertain on our own.

I read a verse the other day on my friend Erik's site: http://www.irishcalvinist.com/ as well as post a post about this same topic. The verse really stuck with me and here it is.

Proverbs 16:33

"The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD."

When I read that, I remember thinking to myself how awesome and weighty the meaning of that verse is. We cannot be sure exactly what "casting lots" was, but we know that it was basically the equivalent of rolling a dice, drawing straws or Rock, Paper, Scissors. A game of "chance" as it would seem to our human perspective. But what we are told is that what we view as chance is not chance at all. Rather the outcome of every cast is determined by the Lord.

Think about that the next time you are playing Monopoly. God does not merely know what will come of each cast, but God is sovereign over it and makes it what it is. If God concerns himself with things that are seemingly as trivial as the rolling of a die and indeed ordains the outcome of every such thing, there is nothing that God does not sovereignly control.

A great example of God's sovereignty over such things came my way as I was reading through 1 Samuel.

1 Samuel 10:17-24

"17Now Samuel called the people together to the LORD at Mizpah. 18And he said to the people of Israel, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.' 19But today you have rejected your God, who saves you from all your calamities and your distresses, and you have said to him, 'Set a king over us.' Now therefore present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes and by your thousands."

20Then Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21He brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its clans, and the clan of the Matrites was taken by lot; and Saul the son of Kish was taken by lot. But when they sought him, he could not be found. 22So they inquired again of the LORD, "Is there a man still to come?" and the LORD said, "Behold, he has hidden himself among the baggage." 23Then they ran and took him from there. And when he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward. 24And Samuel said to all the people, "Do you see him whom the LORD has chosen? There is none like him among all the people." And all the people shouted, "Long live the king!"

God had already told Samuel that He was going to make Saul the king of Israel, and Samuel had already made this known to Saul. However, nonetheless, the people of Israel were gathered together and lots were cast to see whom would be called to be king of Israel. As lots were cast by man, the lot fell to Saul's tribe, then his clan and then to Saul himself. All under the guidance of the Lord.

Never mind the fact the Saul was hiding from his calling. God made Him king, and God directed each casting of lots to lead to Saul. As verse 24 says "Do you see him who the LORD has chosen?"

Later in Scripture you see soldiers casting lots to see who would win Jesus' clothes (Luke 23:34). To the pagan mind everything happens by chance, but to the person who fears the LORD, the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, to the one who knows and love Jesus Christ, our mindset should be that God is in control of all things. Nothing is beyond the reach of God's sovereignty.

Even the apostle when choosing one to take the place of Judas narrowed it down to two whom would be a good replacement and then left it to God's Sovereignty to decide who would take Judas' place (Acts 1:26).

So when we look at the world, and see what looks like chaos, or when we see things happening in our own life, good or bad, that seem to happen by mere chance, we as Christians must trust that it is no mistake, not by chance, but God's sovereign hand working in the midst of this crazy world and our crazy lives. Indeed nothing is out of control, but in God's perfect control. One more reason to praise God, and take hope in His plan. One more reason to trust the Lord Jesus Christ.


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