Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Quick Question from Bible Study - Was I Off Base?

How do you biblically say "Sorry dude, but..."?
Last night as we were discussing Acts 1 a question came up regarding the selection of a replacement for Judas. In Acts 1:15-26 about 120 disciples gathered and prayed for their "lost" messiah and then considered what to do with the open position in their ranks. In the end they selected Mattias to fill in for Judas.

The question put to us in our study was: How did you see God at work in this proceeding? 

The discussion went around our group and the consensus was that God guided the disciples in this selection. I'm not one to miss an opportunity to lob a grenade in the room so when the discussion settled and just as we were ready to move on, I said 

"I didn't see God in there anywhere"

Here's my reasoning; Yes, they prayerfully considered their position and Peter did quote scripture, although I'm not sure how contextual the the quotes were, but I didn't see God's hand in there. This was a group that was in complete shock. In a period of a few days they saw one of their own sell out their rabbi, their friend, the Son of God to the authorities. They saw Him led away by Roman soldiers, convicted with no evidence, horrifically tortured, and publicly executed in the most horrific, humiliating way. Then His body disappeared and He appeared to them in some amazing ways: He walked with them and didn't make his identity known for hours, He gave them fishing advice and made them breakfast, He appeared in their midst in a closed room. For 40 days he taught them even more, then He was gone.

So as men they felt they had to fix something. That's what us men do, we try to fix something, anything, when we see something broken. So they (not God) decided to fill the open position that Judas left in their midst. They (not God) set down some preliminary rules:
21 Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us22 beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” (Acts 1:21-11)
These are pretty good rules, I couldn't think of any better. Then they (not God) narrowed the selection down to two folks, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias. Then they prayed some more and then they (not God) "cast lots" and they (not God) chose Matthias.

What got me was "Casting Lots" - casting lots is an act called Cleromancy and it occurs a lot in the bible quite often to try to determine God's will; Leviticus 16:8, Numbers 26:55, Joshua 7:14, 1 Samuel 14:42, and many more. Acts 1:26 is the final mention of casting (or drawing) lots in the bible. 

Yet in the end God found a man who did not accompany the disciples as they followed Jesus, he may have viewed the crucifixion, but he certainly was not there for the assention. In fact God's choice would have been busy hunting down the disciples at that point in time, but it all changed on the road to Damascus.

I raised a bit of a stir in the group when I raised the point that the apostles got tired of waiting for God to bring up a replacement and they decided to do it themselves. The original 12 were all hand picked by God through His son Jesus, including Judas, while Judas replacement was picked by following rules made by men and eventually elected by men. If this had happened in the Old Testament there would have been some wrath happening soon after they cast their lots. And this happened before they were baptized in the Holy Spirit - who knows what would have happened if they would have waited a few more days?

Am I off base? Let me know in the comments below


  1. You might be a LITTLE off base (as you noted, the casting of lots to discover God's will was common and accepted), but I have never understood Matthias to be God's choice for a replacement for Judas. I've always understood the text to be a description of an actual event that Luke found out about. No comment as to whether or not God was in it or that God chose the 12th man. Jesus said, "You didn't choose Me; I chose you." Not sure that's true with Matthias as far as Apostle status goes. I would think that God chose the 12th man in Paul. But, hey, who am I to say, right?

  2. I think you are off-base. Since God directed the lotteries of the O.T., the apostles would naturally see that as a way of seeking God's will. And I think the evidence shows that it WAS God's will as to how the lots fell. Selecting Paul later was for a different purpose.

    1. Trying to determine God's will is called divination, there's many ways of doing it and when you cast lots it's called Cleromancy. Yeah it's in the bible, does that make it right? No, it's still divination, Deuteronomy 18:10 lists divination with witchcraft and child sacrifice. 1 Samuel 15:23 is very clear about the sin of divination. 2 Kings 17:17 lists divination divination as part of Israels sins which lead to their downfall. They didn't need to do any of this, they just had to ask and wait. They asked, they just didn't wait (James 1:5)
      I list this under Man Plans, God Laughs