Friday, May 26, 2023

Saving a Town from Loaded Dice

Suggested Reading: Proverbs 16:22-33

Several years ago, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was in a movie called Walking Tall, based on the true story of a man whose town had been taken over by a drug ring and who got himself elected Sheriff to clean up the town. In the movie, The Rock's problems began when a friend invited him to a casino. While he was there, he noticed that one of the men running the games was using a pair of loaded dice. When he attempted to call the dealer on the carpet, the dealer denied it but the Rock took the loaded dice from him and told every one to place their bets because the dice were going to come up seven. Without even looking, he tossed the dice down and the place erupted as everyone who had listened to him and placed bets won. The Rock knew that the roll of the dice was not random and he bet on it.

For people living in Old Testament times, the idea that the roll of the dice might be random was a completely foreign concept. Proverbs 16:33 reads, "We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall" (NLT). Numerous other places throughout the Proverbs echo similar themes. The Urim and Thumim, God's way of answering yes/no questions through the priests, relied on the same concept. For the ancient Israelites, nothing was truly random. The Lord was in control of everything. Even during the Early Church era, the disciples cast lots to determine God's will for Judas Iscariot's replacement among the twelve apostles

Now, I'm not necessarily saying we should return to casting lots to make decisions. After all, shortly after choosing that replacement apostle, the Holy Spirit fell on the believers and we now have access to God's Spirit to help us with decisions. But I do think we could stand to learn a lot from these biblical characters when it comes to how we view "randomness." We must remember that nothing is truly random when God is in control of even how the dice tumble and which side of a coin lands facing up. That person setting across from you at the restaurant is there for a reason. Your neighbor was placed there by God. That light you caught on the way to work delayed you with purpose. God is a master weaver and has spun the threads of our lives with intricate detail and design.

We must learn to watch for God's hand in the day to day "randomness" of our lives. We must keep our eyes open for those hurting people God brings across our path, for the Gospel-hungry souls we "bump into" throughout the day, for those brothers and sisters God wants to match us up with for the work of the Kingdom. The dice of our lives are loaded and we must bet on them with the way we live.

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