The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.
Do you believe in chance? Forget it! Nothing happens by chance – all things happen by the choice and power of God. He rules all things in the universe, even games of chance! Learn wisdom. You will have an informed view of life and a solid basis for great faith. Nothing surprises the LORD – He planned everything, even the things that surprise you!
What a coincidence! I cannot believe that happened! You are so lucky! That was a real fluke! The random number generator makes sure it is by chance! That could never happen again! The odds are totally against it! Such expressions are common from those who do not know or believe the sovereign providence of the LORD. They assume that life includes random events, which greatly distorts their power of judgment, or wisdom.
Jehovah of the Bible is ruler of chance. He governs even the lot, which was used to select one person from a group. Today, a coin is flipped at football games to find which team will receive the ball first. Teachers may have students draw straws to pick one student for a task. Dice are rolled to gamble or generate movements in a game. These events appear to be chance or coincidental events from your perspective, but God is LORD of chance!
Some say, I like my chances. Others say, You have a good chance. All ought to say, If the LORD will, we shall do this or that (James 4:13-15). Some study probability and statistics, believing that well-designed computer programs can forecast stock market changes, weather movements, poker hands, birth rates, disease occurrence, actuarial tables, etc. But they forget the God of chance! Rather than merely measuring average or statistical chance, they ought to humbly seek the God of chance for each individual event.
When pagan mariners were terrified in a storm, they cast lots and found the trouble to be with Jonah (Jon 1:1-10). When Saul wanted to know who had broken his edict, he narrowed the nation down to Jonathan (I Sam 14:36-46). Joshua reduced the entire nation down to Achan as the culprit that had cost them a battle and the loss of thirty-six lives (Josh 7:10-19). Israel chose where they would live by lot (Neh 11:1), and the apostles chose Matthias by lot to replace Judas (Acts 1:26). Jehovah is LORD of chance!
When King Ahab disguised himself in battle to avoid being killed according to God’s prophet, an arrow shot at a venture not only hit a man, but it hit Ahab! It not only hit Ahab, it found a joint in his royal armor; and it not only found a joint in his armor, it gave him a fatal wound! No matter how well you might think you have protected yourself against God’s judgment, His word will surely come to pass (Pr 11:21; 16:5; Jer 37:9-10).
Ruth chose to glean fields to support Naomi and herself. It was her hap to pick the field of Boaz, a rich man needing a wife, who married her; they became ancestors of David and Jesus Christ (Ruth 2:3). The God of chance directed Ruth to the right field where she got much more than gleaned grain. Consider how many lonely nights God solved and future generations He affected by influencing Ruth’s choices at a few intersections!
When the Bible speaks of time and chance happening to men (Eccl 9:11; I Sam 26:10), it is only from man’s view, for Jehovah is LORD of time and chance (Jer 15:2). Wisdom, strength, speed, or skill will not always work, for the Lord arranges time and chance to make differences in spite of these ordinary means. You cannot neglect these means, but you do not trust in them either. You make your plans as well as you can by God’s rules of wisdom, and then you trust them to His blessing (Pr 16:9; 19:21; 20:24; Jas 4:13-15).
Though God rules chance events and circumstances, you still use His ordained means for choices. You do not marry based on a chance meeting; you marry a person meeting God’s standard (Pr 31:30). You do not flip a coin for business decisions; you use many counselors (Pr 15:22). You do not practice reproductive Russian roulette in the marriage bed; you wisely manage family size and timing (I Cor 7:6-9,25-28,32-35; Matt 19:12; Pr 22:3). You only flip a coin when you have two equal choices based on God’s criteria.
Do you fear an accidental death while driving, because statisticians have identified the probability for drivers in your state? How about choking on a chicken bone? Or being hit by lightning? Or having a heart attack? God is totally in charge of such events, so that an accidental death is not an accident to Him (Ex 21:13). Rather than dread the busy highway interchange, pray to the God of chance and drive reasonably through the traffic.
What appears to you as an accident is God working His sovereign rule of the world, punishing evildoers, or rewarding the righteous, or both (Is 10:5-15; 57:1-2; Luke 13:1-5). Therefore, an automobile accident when you were consciously seeking to avoid it is clearly by the decree of God. And all such events will work to the good of those who love God and are part of His eternal purpose (Rom 8:28). Believe this, and live without fear!
Not even a sparrow falls from heaven without the Lord Jehovah’s providential care and government, and His children are of much more value than many sparrows (Matt 10:29-31). How much do you trust the true God to take care of your life and needs today? Will you recognize those “chance” and “fluke” events of your life to be by His disposal? God feeds the animals and birds (Ps 147:9). He can easily take care of you (Matt 6:25-34).
If you happen to encounter a wounded person in your ordinary course of business, then you may rightly presume God put him in your path to see what you would do (Luke 10:25-37). If you see a natural or human disaster on the news, or windfall profits made by others, you may know with full assurance that God ordained and arranged them both. If they happen to you, both adversity and prosperity should direct you to Him (Eccl 7:14).
For a great drama with the God of chance on every page, read the Bible book of Esther. On its delightful pages are chance events used by the God of heaven to protect His church under the rule of the Persian Empire. From a beauty contest to a political promotion and many other displays of God’s providence, the LORD shows His absolute rule of chance events to the benefit of His people and the ruin of His enemies. In light of what you read there about Mordecai and Esther, thank God for His “chance” events in your own life!
From sparrows to the Lord’s detailed crucifixion, it is all according to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of the sovereign God (Ac 2:23; 4:28; 15:18). If you have heard the joyful sound of the gospel, you should understand that God sent a man to you with no less involvement on His part than sending Philip to the eunuch or Paul to Lydia (Acts 8:26-40; 16:6-14; Rom 10:14-15; Jer 3:15; Eph 4:11-12). You are bound to give thanks to God always for such a blessed privilege He chose you to have (II The 2:13-14).