Speaking to the Soul – June 6


Then they all prayed, “O Lord, you know every heart. Show us which of these men you have chosen as an apostle to replace Judas in this ministry, for he has deserted us and gone where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and Matthias was selected to become an apostle with the other eleven. Acts 1:24-26

After the ascension of Jesus, the eleven disciples needed to find a successor to Judas Iscariot. They identified two candidates whom they considered to be suitable, Barsabbas and Matthias. We don’t know anything about them, but clearly they had spent time with Jesus and were part of his wider circle of followers. What might strike you as strange is that, having committed the decision to God in prayer, they then cast lots. This certainly isn’t a method that I have ever employed but it was their way of leaving the decision up to God. They played their part in choosing two people who they believed to appropriately qualified, but then they let God decide.

We don’t hear of anyone else casting lots in this way in the New Testament and so many people have assumed that the practice belonged firmly to the period before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Once the Spirit had been given, the Church could look to him to guide them in their decision-making. That isn’t to say that decision-making has now become easy, but it does mean that we can confidently lean upon the Holy Spirit and seek his guidance in every detail of our lives, without resorting to apparently random measures like casting lots.

The pages that follow in Acts give us an amazing account of how the Holy Spirit guided his people. Step by step, he led this small, weak and confused group of ordinary people into becoming a large missionary movement that turned the world upside down.

In what way are you seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit today?

Loving God, thank you that you have given me your Holy Spirit to enable me to make good decisions. Amen