Casting lots

Provide for yourselves three men from each tribe so that I may send them, and that they may go through the land and write a description of it with regard to their [tribal] inheritance; then they shall return to me.  They shall divide it into seven parts; [the tribe of] Judah shall remain in its territory on the south, and the [b]house of Joseph shall remain in its territory on the north.  You shall describe the land in seven divisions, and bring the description here to me. I will cast lots for you here [c]before the Lord our God. Joshua 18:4-6

Earlier, Moses had given Joshua some guidelines on how the land should be shared among the various tribes (Numbers 26:53-56; 33:54; 34:13). Joshua was also committed to carrying out this divine directive to share the land by lot. In our text, we see the account of his obedience and full compliance. He did not add or diminish from all that God through Moses had commanded him. Casting lots was an ancient practice of seeking divine position on a matter. When a case could not be settled by mutual compromise among parties, a lot was cast to decide it and the parties submit to the outcome, bringing an end to any strife.

Why is it improper for believers in the New Testament dispensation to cast lots in seeking guidance from God?

Although, the Scriptures did not state explicitly how the lots were cast, the important thing is that God used this method to guide His people in those days; and they respected the outcome as His verdict (Joshua 19:10, 32- 39). Consequently, each tribe inherited the portion allotted to them. However, in the New Testament dispensation, believers cannot revert to such means of guidance because now, we have the full Canon of Scripture to read and take instruction. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). Besides, the Holy Spirit is given to every born again Christian to guide and reveal the mind of God to His children. And, there will always be harmony between the written Word, the Holy Spirit and whatever other means – dream or revelation – that the Lord decides to use to lead His people. Today, a believer who wishes to know the mind of God or receive guidance on important issues like choosing a life partner, choice of career, profession, or business, should pray, read the word of God and listen to the Holy Spirit. God is willing to lead His children to take the best decisions for their lives. Failure to consult the Lord can result in avoidable regrets and sorrows. We should develop a regular devotional habit, study God’s word and listen to His Holy Spirit in order to enjoy divine directive and discern His leading in our situation. – Pastor (Dr.) William Folorunso Kumuyi


What is casting lots?

What was the practice of casting lots?

Is casting Lots to be used today?

Acts 1:26



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