© 2008 by Min. Deidre Campbell-Jones
March Theme: Luck
Luck: Proverbs 16:33
Faith: Psalms 139
It’s March and thanks to “St. Paddy” we’ll be hearing a lot this month about the “luck of the Irish” and St. Patrick’s Day. The “luck of the Irish” is a very interesting concept to me, especially since another very common phrase is “Irish Catholic”. If those are the only two colloquialisms about being Irish, then in my understanding of the whole matter, the two cancel each other out.
You see, according to scripture there technically is no such thing as “luck” at all. There doesn’t seem to be any good luck or bad luck, only blessings and curses. And if luck is defined as happenstance; a surprise situation of good fortune, then we have to attribute some other truth to these occurrences because we know through God there are no coincidences at all.
Psalms 139 describes how the Lord knows us and fashioned us and leads us in all our ways. He knows our downsitting and our uprising. He encompasses our path and is acquainted with all our ways. We can take flight in the air or dwell on the seas and no matter where we are the Lord will lead us and keep us. Now none of that sounds like an accident, happenstance or luck of the draw to me.
Now don’t get me entirely wrong – the bible is not without its instances where luck was involved. For example, to “cast lots” was the way to determine the luck of the draw. Often it was just away to divvy up parts like saying “eenie, meenie, mynie-mo.” In Joshua 18:8-10 lots were cast before the Lord to determine which tribes of Israel would get what parcel of land. Even still, it doesn’t necessarily say that the Lord answered Joshua through the casting of those lots. It was just a quick and easy way to determine who got what and if you were lucky, I suppose, then you got the part you wanted.
In 1 Chronicles 24:31 the sons of Levi cast lots against their brethren, the sons of Aaron. Now I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound as if you’d come out too lucky either way the lot ended up if someone were casting against you. So, casting lots wasn’t always a positive notion – such as was the case, as was prophesied in Psalms 22:18 when they cast lots for Jesus’ garments.
And in at least one case that I know of, casting lots did not go as was planned and God had to make his own decision. In the New Testament, Peter and the other disciples had selected two other men as candidates to take Judas’ place amongst the 12 after his betrayal and death. In Acts 1:23-26 the disciples prayed and cast their lots towards Joseph Barsabas (surnamed Justus) and Matthias, whom they had selected and the lot fell toward Matthias and he was counted amongst the eleven. Personally, I would have cast my lot towards Justus, but maybe I'm just partial... The truth of the matter is the disciples selected the men, the disciples cast their lots towards Matthias and the disciples counted him amongst them. God however was not mentioned as having any part in the matter. I see it like this: Proverbs 16:33: “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.”
The world has plenty of ways in which “things happen” that have nothing to do with God. Besides luck – a random set of circumstances in which you might get a good one at any given moment in time – there’s also fate, which is a predetermined set of circumstances that might or might not be good at any given time. There’s also destiny, which by many schools of thought, you can control and determine your own destiny, even though it too is a predetermined end result of circumstances.
Did you know that none of the words: luck, fate or destiny appear anywhere in the bible? I have even taught on biblical purpose and destiny but the concepts are almost as elusive as the words themselves. There is the theological concept of predestination, but even that is not actually listed in the bible. So what is?
Let’s go back to Psalms 139. We used those scriptures to show that nothing in our lives is an accident – God is aware of and leads us in all our ways. There is no place we can go and nothing we can do in which He is not aware of us, leading us and thinking of us. Verse 10: “Even there will His hand lead me; His right hand will hold me.” Not only is God aware of our ways, He is active in our ways. And not only that, He promises to be exactingly active in all that we do or ask.
We don’t have to leave stuff up to chance – not even as Christians. Many times we’ll say, “Well, if it’s God’s will.” Or “God knows my needs, I know He will provide.” Sure He’ll provide – He is faithful to provide – if we ask. We have to ask!
It is true that Matthew 6:8: says that God knows what we have need of even before we ask – of course He does, He is all-knowing after all! But shortly after that Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:” We don’t have to leave our lives up to chance – just ask! We don’t have to chock our circumstances up to luck – just ask! It’s not a matter of destiny or fate; it’s a matter of prayer and faith!
Matthew 21:22: “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” This means some things, right? This means only the serious things, right? Or this means only the things pertaining to our needs and not our wants, right? Actually, it means all things – ALL things: 100%, fully and completely all things. In fact, the scripture just before it talks about cursing fig trees and moving mountains with faith. Those are some pretty big things – maybe that’s where we get it from. Nope, the scripture simply says “all” things.
John 14:13 & 14 repeats it twice, “ask in My name and it will be done.” John 15:7 – “ask and it shall be done.” James 1:5-6: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”
Luck, chance, fate and destiny are like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. You never know where it will go, how it will go or when it will stop – good, bad or not at.
You don’t have to wonder, hope, cross your fingers or even pray that God knows your heart, concerns and needs. Express those concerns, needs and desires of your heart to God in prayer – He wants you to!
So why should we ask even if he knows what we need before we ask? Because it builds a meaningful relationship with our Father in Heaven. Ask Him – and be specific when you ask! Don’t you think your Father in heaven knows how to give good gifts? Or don’t you think you deserve to ask for those good gifts?
We easily leave something up to luck and figure we have a 50-50% chance of it working out. At least if we ask the Lord, we’ve still got a 50-50% chance of things working out. But if we ask Him and do not doubt, ask in faith, nothing wavering – God promises a 100% chance of return. I feel pretty lucky indeed to have that kind of relationship with God the Almighty Creator – don’t you?