After Jesus goes up into heaven, the disciples realized that they were now down two from their group. Judas, having been overcome with guilt for betraying Jesus, ended his own life. The disciples were aware that Judas’ place of leadership was to be replaced with another (Acts 1:20-21). It seemed right for the disciples to choose from someone who had been with them from the beginning. They narrowed it down between two men and after a blessing of the dice, let fate decide who would be next.
The Bible actually gives no indication on whether this was good or bad; Acts just gives an account of what happened. Casting lots was a normal practice of deciding things in the Old Testament, but as I reread this account this week, something interesting stood out to me. The disciples may have recognized a need and understood that filling Judas’ vacancy was part of God’s plan. BUT, I don’t think that God was given much of an opportunity to direct them. Out of all the options, they gave God two men.
I am in no way picking on their decision, but later on in Acts, God appoints Paul as an apostle. Was this God’s plan for replacing Judas? Did the others get ahead of Him? Do think that if the disciples had an option for a lot to fall on some other unknown, would that have happened?
My point is that it is far to easy to limit God by our understanding for how He works.
When I was a sophomore in college, I went to God to inquire about my following year. My options, as I understood them, were to:
- continue rooming with my friend but move to another dorm
- stay in my current dorm with a new roommate
- apply to become an RA
As I went to pray through the options, almost immediately I felt a new option come: transfer to a different school. As I continued with my time with God, I felt confident that this new option was His plan for me. This new option was not previously on my radar, and I would have missed it if I stuck to my list. Would God still have blessed my life? Absolutely, because He loves me. But, He also knew of a better plan than I did, and He wanted to direct me to it.
Sometimes what seems to be the right thing to do is not what God thinks is best for you. Allow God room to speak to you. If you don’t get a leading from Him, what seems right is a great option. We get in problems when we think we know what is right, and so never allowing God to direct us.
God has given us a wonderful mind. Embrace it. But, God has also given us the Holy Spirit to know the mind of Christ. Embrace that more!
Kevin Shorter is the founder of this prayer-coach site and have served for several years in ministry and churches teaching on a variety of Biblical topics. Go to the contact page to request him to speak at your conferences and seminars.