“The lot is cast into the lap,
but its every decision is from the Lord.”
Proverbs 16:33 (NIV)
Scripture reassures the believer that nothing is by chance. Our verse today indicates that God controls everything, even the game of gambling and throwing the dice. From our human perspective the idea of predicting how dice will turn up when they stop tumbling over is impossible. God clearly states that He controls even the things we believe are “chance” happenings.
In Proverbs 19:21 we read, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (NIV) So this verse goes a lot farther than our verse for today and enters the realm of premeditated, planned activity being under God’s control.
When our Lord was crucified there is no doubt that the followers of Jesus thought the world had come to a screeching halt. Everything they had planned for the future was shattered and in ruins. They hid in fear of the authorities and believed that nothing made sense anymore.
However, we know that later on the early church believed that everything cruel and dreadful that happened to Jesus was under the direction of God in heaven. They came to the firm conviction that God was in control of even the wickedness of the people who sought the destruction of their Master.
In the infant church at a time of catastrophe God’s people prayed. In Acts 4:27-28 where part of the prayer is recorded, we see that the people in prayer referred to the crucifixion of Jesus as “…what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.” (NIV). When Jesus was crucified the followers of Jesus did not see the hand of God in the dreadful situation.
Most of the time when God’s people suffer they cannot see what good can possibly come from the pain and suffering they are experiencing. Only later, possibly years later, do the people of God see how the Lord’s hand was in all of the situation that put fear in their minds and pain in their hearts.
For those who follow Jesus there is a need to review past times of sorrow and seek to see how the Lord brought good from our sorrow. Such a spiritual exercise can help us face the present apparently senseless situation with confidence.
The early church was quick to learn from the crucifixion of Jesus that great, eternal good comes from our present sorrows because the Lord is always in these situations. They were able to pray that time (Acts 4:24-31) and ask God to give them power to endure. It is interesting that they did not pray for the persecution to cease. They already knew it was God’s will they suffer for their faith (John 16:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 3:3)
Will you entrust your problem today to the God Who controls all things and will you believe that this also shall work for your eternal good? Never forget that nothing happens “by chance”. Our sovereign God overrules everything for His glory and for our good (Ephesians 1:22).